27 August 2020
As the COVID-19 pandemic continues, airlines accelerated BCP plans to resume operations. On the passenger side, they must adapt to the post-COVID restrictions (e.g. safety measures, contactless operations). On the air cargo side, airlines must create new strategies and strengthen their presence in air cargo.
In May, the majority of the airlines had decreased their capacity by 90% and suspended numerous flights and routes. Almost all airlines - Qatar Airways Cargo, Emirates SkyCargo, Turkish Cargo, Air France-KLM Cargo, just to mention a few - started using their passenger flights to carry cargo on seats, introducing a new trend - “preighter” flights.
While “preighters” became common practice to carry essential goods like food and medicine, some airlines (e.g. EL AL Israel Airlines and British Airways) removed seats completely from their passenger flights in order to increase cargo carrying capacity. This pattern was followed by the whole industry quickly, resulting in changes all over the world.
Just recently, Scoot, SIA’s low cost airline removed nearly 200 seats from its Airbus A320s and took off on 22 August 2020 from Fuzhou to Singapore. Indian low-cost carrier SpiceJet refitted its A430 aircraft to meet the growing air cargo demand and flew from Schiphol to Mumbai on August 21 carrying 13 tonnes of cargo.
Innovation is the key to business success with the growth of cargo capacities. Cargo flights remain filled with essential supplies and the number of repurposed passenger flights will keep growing for the rest of the year. While these trends are likely to go-on for 2021, the need for air cargo digitalization can provide great new ways to earn revenue by increased cargo use.
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