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Only five new freighters have been sold this year, according to this Businessweek article. While it’s clearly not written by an expert on air freight (Delta got out of freighters some time ago, and BA didn’t “ground older cargo planes”), there are a couple of interesting points – not least that air freight is being covered in a non-trade publication. One is that Boeing needs freighter orders to avoid production cuts, having sold just five this year. And Atlas Air’s Bill Flynn, predictably perhaps, but truthfully, argues that bellies simply can’t entirely replace freighters, however much capacity there is.

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  • Ed Kerwin

    July 07, 2014 at 5:51 pm

    It is interesting to see the industry discussed in mainstream business coverage. It should help introduce the business to people who wouldn’t know much about it and perhaps help to attract the new talent needed to replace those that retire or leave the industry. However, the main thrust of the article is that Boeing and Airbus have seen a lull in freighter orders due to the current market conditions; faster growth in passenger demand increasing flights, high fuel prices stimulating demand for more fuel efficient aircraft, the new passenger aircraft having greater belly capacity, shippers focusing on cost savings using other modes and high value cargo getting smaller in size and weight. The real question is whether this signifies a permanent shift in the market or if it is just a cyclical dip that has been extended because of the long and relatively weak economic recovery. Bill Flynn is right that there will always be freighters, the integrators by definition will operate freighters since they don’t carry passengers and Atlas does provide freighter lift to DHL. However, the future of the all cargo carriers like Cargolux and Martinair is hanging in the balance. It has gotten so difficult to forecast anything these days that the crystal ball can’t see far enough in the future to give a reliable prediction of the outcome.

  • ODC

    July 09, 2014 at 8:19 am

    Logistics is always a very difficult industry and with so many new problems it will be intersting to see what future unfolds for logistics.