The role of dedicated freighter aircraft in the provision of global airfreight services

2016-09-15T14:34:12Z (GMT) by Lucy C.S. Budd Stephen G. Ison
In 2014, over 51 million tonnes of cargo, valued at over US$6.8 trillion, was flown around the world. Approximately 56% of this total (by global revenue tonne kilometres (RTKs)) was flown on dedicated freighter aircraft which were either manufactured specifically for this purpose or converted from passenger use. The remaining 44% (by total global RTK) travelled as belly-freight in the holds of passenger flights or on combi (combination) or QC (quick change) aircraft that can accommodate both passengers and freight. Although both sources of capacity offer the same basic service e the aerial carriage of time sensitive and/or high value-to-weight goods e they exhibit different cost structures, operating characteristics and spatial patterns of demand and supply. Using empirical data on the contemporary scale and scope of global freighter operations, this paper examines the role of dedicated freighter aircraft in the provision of global airfreight services and identifies a range of exogenous and internal factors which may affect the demand and supply side characteristics of all-cargo air services in the future.