The challenges faced by the air cargo industry in the face of Covid-19

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Comment to be attributed to Europa Air & Sea Director Angus Hind.

Throughout the course of the pandemic, the Airfreight industry has been heavily impacted by the reduction in capacity which has led to pricing increases on both import and export routes.

Reviewing the situation now, some six months into Brexit and while the world is dealing with continued concerns over second and third waves of Covid-19 (which as we have seen this week led to one major carrier stopping domestic flights from southern China) we’re finally seeing progress with some carriers now adding to their schedules. Recent reports however showcase that air cargo is, significantly lower, down by 12 per cent compared with the same period last year (17-31 May) , highlighting that until we see a real push to open borders and allow quarantine free travel, the uncertainty of restrictions will not allow scheduled passenger flights to operate which will keep the market in the position it is currently.

Although the market is quite flat at present, I do question what impact we will see short term due to the rising freight rates and disruption to schedules within the ocean market. Will more companies look to switch cargo onto air, which will see freight rates rise?.

Looking ahead and the air cargo sector is showcasing impressive flexibility and adaptability in handling the challenges and repercussions of COVID-19 in the industry. Although I wouldn’t say there is light at the end of the tunnel as of yet, I do believe that the future of global air freight service is set for growth, once we move past this period of economic recovery and the skies do truly open up.

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