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How the Air Cargo Industry is Taking on COVID-19

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How the Air Cargo Industry is Taking on COVID-19

The fallout of the COVID-19 pandemic shook the aviation sector to its core. The economic crisis and travel bans and restrictions have severely hampered international transportation and the global air freight industry. Data from the International Air Transport Association (IATA) shows that global volumes and international cargo are significantly lower than in 2019.

Despite the apparent decline in numbers, the jet cargo industry is showing signs of steady recovery. It is safe to say that, from an economic point of view, airlines with cargo-diversified revenue streams are surviving and have managed to avoid the worst of the pandemic.

Adapt to Survive

The aviation industry is doing its best to adapt and ensure business survival in a changing world. Although world trade and passenger transport hit an all-time low during the main period of the pandemic, both commercial aviation and air charter sectors were able to modify their systems and services to meet the demands of the times and, of course, their clients.

We have seen passenger and private jet companies use their experience and expertise to cater to changing business requirements and emergency scenarios. From personnel repatriation to emergency evacuations — and sometimes even stepping into disrupted freight supply lines to ensure the delivery of essential goods.

Demand Response

Airline companies have shifted their focus throughout the pandemic and dedicated their efforts towards the successful transport of COVID-19 supplies and accommodating the exponential demand for essential COVID-19 commodities.

Cargo jets with climate-controlled facilities have seized business opportunities in freights that require highly regulated and temperature-controlled specifications, including the distribution of billions of COVID vaccines worldwide. In addition, airline companies are retrofitting their passenger planes for cargo to capture more specialized segments, especially those that require time urgency and delicate handlings, such as pharmaceuticals, PPEs, medical equipment, and perishables.

More and more companies are also turning to air charters for reliable transport of complex and time-critical deliveries. Compared to other methods of transport, air charters stand out as the most efficient end-to-end solution as they have access to more airfields and can be deployed in a matter of hours.

Emerging Opportunities

The pandemic has been broadly destructive for the aviation industry. Still, it has contributed to accelerating the global transition to e-commerce, which is set to benefit the cargo transportation industry for the foreseeable future.

While e-commerce was already on an uptrend even before the pandemic, it has risen faster than anticipated due to recent changes in consumer purchasing behaviors. According to data from IBM’s U.S. Retail Index, COVID-19 hastened the shift away from physical stores to digital shopping by, more or less, five years.

With people becoming more inclined to shop online, e-commerce volumes continue to rise amid the pandemic. Shipment-focused aviation services are currently taking advantage of this market shift.

Going Forward

The air cargo sector is demonstrating impressive flexibility and adaptability in handling the challenges and repercussions of COVID-19 in the industry. Still, from a vantage point, the future of global air freight service seems bright, and all set for growth.

The pandemic has opened new doors and opportunities for cargo. As the demand for specialized freight services and e-commerce rises, global trade will eventually regain its foothold. And the cargo industry will fly high again.


About the Author

Melissa Hull is the Content Marketing Strategist for Aviation Charters, a West Trenton, New Jersey-based private aviation company that provides on-demand aircraft charter, aircraft management, and aircraft acquisition services. Aside from her passion for writing, she loves to travel and read espionage books.