Contributing to the COVID-19 economy

posted on 4th March 2021
Contributing to the COVID-19 economy

Air cargo industry has played a vital part in the fight against the pandemic; it will play a vital part in the COVID vaccination challenge, and in the subsequent economic resurgence, observes Glyn Hughes, CEO of TIACA


As 2021 unfolds, we see a different world from 12 months ago. This different world will impact how the air cargo industry operates and performs during the year.

Many influences have changed the fabric of society, from how we work, how we interact, how we consume goods to how we deal with our own and each other’s health and safety.

The COVID-19 pandemic pretty much grounded international passenger operations whilst generating the COVID-19 economy – which created consumer demand for PPE products which were previously restricted for use within hospitals and health facilities; and it generated an even greater acceleration towards ecommerce.

And these new realities have shaped 2021 expectations and the operational environment; we now focus on the global distribution of several vaccines, with more on their way to approval, with varying specific supply chain handling requirements. We can also expect to see the continued growth of ecommerce as well as economic regeneration following the severe impacts experienced during 2020.

Positive demand scenarios
So, air cargo will continue to benefit from positive demand scenarios whilst balancing the continued reduction of passenger networks which traditionally account for about 50% of overall cargo capacity.

We anticipate the continuing situation of passenger aircraft operating cargo-only operations until global passenger demand returns and results in the resumption of global passenger networks – although the rising cost of fuel and the softening of rates on certain trade lanes will introduce new challenges in making these new networks sustainable.

Freighter fleets will continue to operate at high levels of utilisation and combination carriers will continue to focus on maximising cargo revenues to supplement reduced passenger-based incomes.

The air cargo industry played a vital part in the fight against the COVID pandemic; it will play a vital part in the COVID vaccination challenge, and it will play a vital part in the subsequent economic resurgence.