aircraft © Andrew Norris |
© Andrew Norris

Air cargo growth has flatlined. And there is uncertainty in the market over what will happen when the US and Chinese trade tariffs start to bite.

But memories of the extremely strong peak last year are still fresh, and concerns over capacity in the second half remain.

Airlines have been stockpiling capacity this year in the hope that they’ll be able to charge top dollar as the peak gets going. Forwarders, fearful of carrying the can of higher rates, have been booking as much as possible, or even chartering their own aircraft, a trend that has not diminished.

But that’s just the near future.

There is the longer-term capacity outlook: Boeing appears to be scaling down 747 production, but it remains the most important freight aircraft, so the market is likely to see conversions as passenger models are retired. The increasingly popular 777 could also start to see a conversion market, but it is currently still too expensive. And MD-11Fs are on their way out.

The Loadstar LongRead: The Capacity Crunch examines the air freight market and its capacity issues, both short- and longer-term, and asks if there are sufficient aircraft to cope with a continued cross-border e-commerce boom, or whether commodities will switch to other modes.

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