Airline Cargo Management August/September 2022

Airline Cargo Management August September 2022

The world of air cargo chartering features many complex demands and complications, but at its heart is pretty simple – get the freight to its destination speedily, smoothly and safely.

“There is much to consider in terms of aircraft types to and from different destinations, overflight permits, potential sanction-related issues and, ultimately, the client requirements – you need to meet their timelines,” says Neil Dursley, of Chapman Freeborn Air Chartering, in our cover feature.

The Covid crisis drove unprecedented demand for air cargo charter, and has changed the landscape forever – and demand still remains high. That means digital tools and technologies will be needed to adapt to the new situation. “Since the pandemic we’ve seen a massive surge in technology companies focusing on cargo and there are lots of applications in the pipeline,” reports Dursley.

It’s a complete reversal in fortunes for the air freight charter industry, which was in decline prior to 2019, according to Glenn Hogben, chief executive at The Air Charter Association. He now expects the industry to “remain buoyant well into the future”.

Another market that is experiencing rapid growth is that for converting mainline passenger aircraft into freighters.

There are many aircraft options available and many conversion programmes either underway or announced – albeit with conversion slots at a premium – and we review this array of possibilities in another major feature this issue.

As the rates of freighter conversions continue to increase as more conversion lines open, turnaround times accelerate, and as belly-hold capacity in passenger aircraft decreases, there is a risk of the conversion-market bubble swelling and bursting.

Vallair thinks it has found a way for aircraft owners to avoid conversion-market bubbles, at least for certain aircraft types. The company recently unveiled a reversible Class E freighter conversion programme for the Airbus A330- 300, and this potential “game-changer for air cargo” is the subject of analysis on page 12.

“This solution addresses current market needs and increases the value of the asset because it is completely reversible should the market change,” says Vallair’s founder, president and CEO Grégoire Lebigot.

“The aircraft can easily be converted back to passenger configuration, or transformed into a freighter with a large cargo door in future. It is a complementary alternative solution to the traditional freighter conversion, not a replacement.”

I hope you enjoy reading the issue.

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