In a time of crisis cargo and e-commerce have proved more important than ever before

20 January, 2021

Air freight services are often given less attention than passenger operations. Yet, air cargo serves as a lifeline for many nations and also provides the foundation for the global supply chain. Yet, the nature of the cargo business demands operational flexibility and liberal operating rules to meet the needs of consumer businesses.

Airports and airlines with a cargo contribution have seen volumes and revenues increasing as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, with some having as much as 50% of revenues coming from cargo. This vital sector has been put at the forefront of thinking for the entire aviation industry which has resulted in new investment and management.

In the Dec-2020 edition of CAPA Live - a monthly virtual summit, offering insights, information, data and live interviews with airline CEOs and industry executives across a next-gen virtual event platform - Konstantin Vekshin, chief commercial officer at Volga-Dnepr Group; Guillaume Halleux, chief officer cargo at Qatar Airways; and Vladimir Zubkov, the former secretary general of TIACA, discussed if we will see further airport development in favour of freight on the long-term or will this be considered a short-term phenomenon.

During the 30 minute session they considered if passenger infrastructure spend could be substituted by cargo infrastructure, what methods of automation and digitalisation can be introduced to alleviate the dependency on people by carriers and airports in the freight segment and what airports can do to assist cargo operators in the way they organise the use of space.

They also judged if air cargo now has a legitimate place in the design of 'airport cities' and what size of freighter aircraft would be the best fit moving forward, considering that in North America in particular it has been alleged that bigger freight aircraft have not always been catered to as well as they might be.

Discover their thoughts in the full CAPA Live presentation.