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Cargo in the spotlight

It was refreshing to see air cargo take centre stage at the 2018 instalment of the Farnborough Airshow.

It was refreshing to see air cargo take centre stage at the 2018 instalment of the Farnborough Airshow. There was a 1,000m² cargo village that featured some of the industry ‘heavy weights’ on static display. Qatar Airways Cargo had a 747-8F on display as well as other aircraft from cargo village sponsors CargoLogic Air and Volga-Dnepr.

The conference programme in the cargo village provided for some stimulating discussion by the diverse line up of speakers from across the air freight spectrum. Topics ranged from how express and e-commerce freight is driving growth in the sector to placing a spotlight on special cargoes. It was widely agreed that e-commerce is driving growth and it was noted that the lines are increasingly blurred as to who the shippers will be in future as airlines encroach on the business. Boeing figures indicate expanding cross-border e-commerce sales will grow to $4.48 trillion by 2021, which means a growth of 19.2% per year.

Digitisation was another heated discussion with the panellists calling on the industry to “stop talking and get it done”. These are just some of the topics that we delve into in this edition to keep the discussion going.

The presence of the big air cargo players was reflected by the orders and commitments placed at the show – an especially good showing by Boeing. The US plane maker had an outstanding week for order capture in commercial aviation, with customers announcing 673 orders and commitments in total, reflecting a continued resurgence in demand for freighters as well as its passenger programmes.

Boeing and GECAS reached an agreement for 35 additional 737-800 Boeing Converted Freighters, the deal, which includes 20 firm orders and an option for 15 more. Volga-Dnepr Group and CargoLogicHolding announced a sweeping freighter package order covering 29 777 Freighters and five 747-8 Freighters.

The 777 Freighter orders indicated some resurrection in widebody capacity. Qatar Airways finalised an order five of the type (see Fully Loaded, page 12) the purchase reflecting rising confidence in the air cargo market, and topping that off, DHL Express committed to 14 777Fs, and purchase rights for seven additional freighters.

As the dust settles over Farnborough, the consensus is that we are seeing a lot more confidence in the industry.

The mid-term future looks very good for air cargo.

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