Winter 2022

issue 40

The latest phase in the recovery from Covid, bringing the return of significant levels of passenger air services and cargo bellyhold capacity, is positive news in most respects. But it comes with additional complications, and airports and their cargo stakeholders have been juggling numerous challenges, including handling staff shortages, as highlighted in the Europe report on pages 20-29.
For cargo-specialist airports, a lowered requirement for freighters has led to a slowdown of growth, although the renewed focus of big metro airports on passenger services has reminded freighter operators of the benefits of cargo-focused gateways.

The return of passenger air services has particular implications for Schiphol and its cargo community, and Schiphol has also been responding to a further lowering of annual flight movement limits and restrictions to its cargo footprint to make way for expanded taxiways. Its solutions are based around more efficient processes and use of space, driven by digitalisation and collaboration, as highlighted on pages 30-36.

Carriers also continue to push forward with initiatives to build and better use their capacity, networks and infrastructure. For Emirates, this includes new investments in freighters, expanded partnerships, plus further digitalisation initiatives. New potential opportunities emerging include more direct relationships with shipper customers and the provision of wider end-to-end services, highlights SVP for cargo Nabil Sultan (pages 10-14).
Meanwhile, Russia’s brutal and barbaric assault on Ukraine since February continues to have major implications for air freight, not least on the air cargo charter market (see pages 16-19), where it has reduced aircraft availability and weakened economic growth, but also triggered humanitarian demand and led to renewed investment from energy companies generating big project movements. Charter demand has softened in consumer-focused verticals such as e-commerce, although it remains strong for verticals such as automotive, pharmaceutical and healthcare, government and humanitarian.
During the pandemic, many forwarders and their clients put in place long-term air cargo charter programmes to secure supply chains. That seems set to reverse, although with business travel still not returning to pre-Covid levels, demand for freighters to support supply chains continues on key lanes.
Elsewhere, the 2022 Air Cargo Handling & Logistics (ACHL) conference and exhibition was back to a real-world gathering for the first time in three years, with more than 400 delegates making it the busiest ACHL ever (see pages 44-47). Although digitalisation, infrastructure and standards were major and recurring themes, the topic most frequently highlighted was the need to attract, recruit, train and retain new, young and diverse talent within the sector (see pages 48-55). That looks set to be an ever-more important theme for the sector – and for this publication.

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