Air Freight Helps Keep Supply Chains Moving

by Ruth Seeley

With the growing constraints on logistics due to measures imposed to contain the COVID-19 coronavirus outbreak and its devastating effect on the passenger travel industry, some airlines are keeping their planes in the air by offering increased cargo services. Delta is putting passenger jets back in the air to run charter cargo flights from 13 American airports to 70 overseas destinations. This follows similar announcements from Korean Air and the Singapore budget carrier Scoot. British Airways and Cathay Pacific may soon follow suit.

That’s a good thing, since companies that focus on air freight like Air Partner are feeling the strain. Air Partner just announced it is imploring companies to book air cargo transport in advance to secure availability and keep their supply chains moving. The global private aviation leader released updates March 16 on cargo trends and availability, citing the development of the rapidly spreading coronavirus pandemic. Air Partner provides freight customers with full access to any type of cargo aircraft, as well as flight options throughout the U.S., Europe, Asia, the Middle East and beyond.

“With nearly 60 years of experience in global aviation, Air Partner has incredibly strong supplier relations and in times of crisis, we do everything imaginable to ensure our clients can keep their businesses moving,” said Air Partner’s CEO Mark Briffa. “We’re seeing a spike in air freight service requests as many commercial flights are being grounded and at a time when Chinese industrial production is restarting after a month-long shutdown. There is still immediate charter availability, but we foresee that could change in the coming weeks.”

Key updates issued today by Air Partner, as it pertains to aircraft charter solutions during the changing global market, include:

Availability: Access to freight aircraft between North America and Europe or between North America and China, or South East Asia, is still available, but that may change at a moment’s notice while travel restrictions continue to evolve over the next few weeks. If availability does decrease, prices will surge. Air Partner recommends companies secure aircraft charter solutions as soon as they are needed.

Price Surge: Freight rates from China have already begun to increase as demand increases. Figures from the latest TAC Index show air freight prices from Shanghai to North America increased by 32.3% from a week earlier to $4.02 per kilogram, while prices from the Chinese city to Europe jumped by 15.8% compared with the prior seven days to $2.71 per kilogram. Meanwhile, prices from Hong Kong to North America increased by 11.5% week on week to $3.59 per kilogram and there was a 3.2% increase to $2.58 per kilogram on services to Europe.

Demand & Capacity for Europe: With the current travel ban on passenger transport between the U.S. and Europe set that began March 13, passenger airlines have halted or reduced flight frequencies. This will cause an immediate negative impact on availability and significant increase in pricing for cargo capacity to Europe for at least 30 days.

Demand & Capacity for Asia: China continues to experience significant capacity reductions and available cargo capacity from China was down 39% versus last year. Flight cancellations on routes to China have removed close to 5,000 tons per day of capacity, with belly capacity down by 85% and main deck capacity down by 12%. Due to the demand in the market, Boeing 747F, Boeing 777F and MD-11 are likely to be the first aircraft affected by availability fluctuations.

Airline Suspensions: More than 40 airlines have temporarily suspended operations to and from China to date and this is likely to continue to rise with no estimated date to recommence commercial airline operations.

China Production: With China beginning to slowly ramp up production again, it will take some time for scheduled freight operators to readjust their capacities to normal schedule. Charter service can cover this shortfall.

Airport Operations in China: Air Partner is seeing a reduction in slots across China. For example, the Shanghai Pudong Airport (PVG) is reducing services and moving operations to other alternate airports in China such as Changsha Huanghua International Airport (CSX), Zhengzhou Xinzheng International Airport (CGO), Ningbo Lishe International Airport (NGB) and Sunan Shuofang International Airport (WUX).

During the coronavirus outbreak, Air Partner has seen a large increase in urgent freight requests from companies seeking to transport a number of different commodities between North America, Asia and Europe. Most recently, the company transported a surplus of hand sanitizer and hygiene supplies from the U.S. to China as corporations and businesses must comply with sanitation regulation standards.

Source: Air Partner


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