As Covid-19 sweeps the globe, it’s forced many countries to go into lockdown. This has had a significant impact on the economy, as non-essential businesses have been ordered to close to contain the pandemic.
All sectors have been impacted, but none quite so much as the airline industry. As passenger flights have been cancelled, it has had a knock-on effect on the air freight sector. Here, we’ll look at how the air freight industry has been hit hard by the cancellation of passenger flights.
Why have cancelled passenger flights impacted air freight?
Many people don’t realise that the majority of passenger flights, also contain some level of freight in the bellyhold of the plane. In the US, the postal service has freight on approximately 15,000 out of 25,000 passenger flights each day. It is estimated that airlines make around 5% to 10% of their revenue through air freight services.
The type of cargo being transported with passenger flights depends upon the distance the plane is travelling. For example, short haul flights will have smaller cargo which typically needs to arrive in a short time frame. Long haul flights on the other hand, often contains a variety of cargo which don’t require speed as a priority.
So, the lack of passenger flights throughout the world has hit the air freight industry hard. There is fewer capacity available, which means a lot less cargo is now being transported.
Why is air freight important right now?
The trouble is that air freight has become more important than ever before during the coronavirus crisis. So, as well as increased reliance upon freight only flights, there is now an increasing number of passenger planes being used to transport things such as medicines and equipment.
China, where the virus originated, is crediting part of its recovery to its ability to utilise cargo shipments to deliver key supplies. There is no question air cargo flights have become a key service during the coronavirus crisis.
What is the sector doing to combat the current challenges?
There are a number of measures being taken by the sector to address the current challenges it’s facing. Temporary traffic rights are being introduced in Europe for example, to enable more cargo flights to operate. Ensuring there is sufficient capacity at airports to receive the cargo is also being worked on.
One of the real challenges faced by the industry right now is the cost of air freight services. Due to increased demand, the costs have skyrocketed, adding to the struggle for businesses during this economic challenging time.
The air freight sector has been hit by the coronavirus. However, it is also crucial in the fight against the virus. The above are some of the measures being taken to combat the current challenges faced in the industry.