The air cargo carriers are taking several measures for coping with the strong demand for air cargo space. In a time when the ocean freight sector is becoming increasingly unreliable because of container shortage and delays, more and more manufacturers are counting on air freight services to move their items. However, the air freight sector is also going through a space crunch because of the cancellation of passenger planes. These passenger planes, many of which are now grounded, used to carry a significant cargo volume in their belly holds. For this reason, the air cargo companies are expanding their capacities. This will allow them to make the most of the increased demand before the holiday season. Keep reading to find out what steps the carriers are taking to keep moving goods all around the globe.
How air cargo companies are coping with the increased demand for space
Atlas Air extends its freighter agreements with DHL
Cargo airline- Atlas Air, has extended their freighter agreements with DHL. As per this agreement, they will operate 20 freighters to help air freight forwarders deal with the increased e-commerce demands. They will operate 4 types of planes for DHL express. This includes two Boeing 747-400 freighters, four Boeing 767-300, eight Boeing 777-200, and six Boeing 747-8. As stated by the Executive Vice President of DHL Express, “Continuing to utilize Atlas and its global operating capabilities enables us to best serve our customers and their continued high demand for fast international shipping, fuelled by the megatrend of e-commerce and the overall importance of global trade.”
CMA CGM adds new freighters to their fleet
French container shipping giant CMA CGM is expanding its air cargo operations by extending their fleet. They have recently added two B777 freighter planes to expand the flexibility of their operations. B777 is the best-selling freighter aircraft of Boeing that comes with a payload of 102 tonnes. The acquisition of the new freighters signifies a new component in CMA CGM’s operational strategy. It shows how this container shipping multinational is slowly breaking new ground in the air cargo industry. As per a statement from the company, “The Boeing 777 will provide CMA CGM Air Cargo the flexibility to operate the airplane across its growing airfreight network while helping to deliver on its sustainability objectives as the CMA CGM Group pursues its commitment to offer its customers a complete range of transportation and logistics solutions.”
21 Air expands its fleet to make the most of the peak demand
21 Air is in the process of nearly doubling the size of its fleet. To this end, they have sent an application to the Department of Transportation of the USA. “Timely approval would serve the public’s need for expanded air cargo lift, including most especially before the Holiday Season,” says a statement from the company. Last year they restructured their company and expanded their operations to serve the strong air cargo demands in the US. Simply stated, the addition of the new freighters will allow them to address the new market opportunities and meet the increased consumer demand.
Qatar Cargo adds new freighters
Qatar Airways Cargo handled a net cargo of 2,727,986 tonnes since the pandemic started. Even during the pandemic when they lost most of their belly hold, they operated over 1,100 charters. Qatar Cargo helped to distribute medical aid and essential commodities all over the world. Earlier this year they added three B777 cargo planes to its fleet. Additionally, they converted six of their Boeing 777-300 passenger planes into mini freighters to meet the demand for cargo space. To quote from the annual report of the airline, “With the pandemic causing a substantial decline in international passenger demand, the airline’s freight business has been a significant contributor to Qatar Airways Group’s revenue streams, maintaining the commercial viability of many of the airline’s global passenger routes.”
Mammoth Freighters are investing in the conversion of B777 into freighters
US based Mammoth Freighters are investing in the conversion of their Boeing 777-200 and 777-300 passenger aircraft to freighters. To this end, they have partnered with GDC Technics. The less than a year old company is all set to become a leading player in air freight services with its freighter conversions. According to the CEO of GDC Technics, “We believe Mammoth is positioned to be the leading passenger-to-freighter conversion company in the world and are excited about the potential. We see a huge market for freighter conversion lines. Coupled with our existing connectivity, MRO, and VIP services, this positions GDC for continuous growth in the market.”
Lufthansa Cargo adds two new freighters to their fleet
Lufthansa Cargo expands its fleet with the addition of two more Boeing 777 freighters. The two new freighters that will be based in their Frankfurt hub, will expand their freighter fleet to 16 aircraft. As stated by the Chief Executive of Lufthansa Cargo, “Lufthansa Cargo chief executive Dorothea von Boxberg said: “We will continue to flexibly manage our freighters to best serve our customers’ needs…Together with the belly capacities of Lufthansa, Austrian Airlines, Brussels Airlines, and Eurowings Discover now coming back into the market, they are forming our dense, global network.”
Air Canada adds new freighters and extends their cold chain capabilities
Air Cargo Canada is presently converting eight of its Boeing 767-300 aircraft into dedicated cargo planes. This move comes as a major step on the airline’s part to offer extra capacity during the holiday season. The addition of the freighters will allow them to provide consistent capacity on the major air freight routes that will facilitate the international freight movement. To quote from the statement from the airline, “Starting in early 2022, the first freighter will fly primarily out of Toronto and operate to Miami, Quito, Lima, Mexico City, and Guadalajara, with additional cities like Madrid and Frankfurt, Halifax and St. John’s connecting to the freighter network when the second aircraft is delivered in 2022.”
Moreover, they are also investing $16 million in a new temperature-controlled facility at the Toronto International Airport. This will create more than 30,000 sq ft of cold chain handling facility to meet the increasing demand for perishable cargo like fresh food and pharmaceuticals.
The peak holiday season is just around the corner. For this reason, the air freight companies are preparing to cope with the increasing demand. In the words of John Dietrich, the CEO of Atlas Air, “Demand also continues to exceed available supply, particularly on the international routes as international travel stays subdued and related belly capacity remains out of the market.” This is precisely why the airlines are now making more use of dedicated freighters in a bid to counter the belly capacity shortage.