Air cargo “has gone mental”: massive increases swamp airlines

It seems there is no holding it back, and air freight operators are in the middle of a boom like they have never seen before.

Air freight changes on an hourly and daily basis – but so many routes are choked full of cargo waiting to be moved, many airlines have adopted “pay to play” – whoever bids the highest amount gets their cargo moved.

Waiting times are now 5-7 days and as high as 10 in some areas. If you don’t have a contract, and expect freight on demand (around 70% of all air freight is on demand), at least for now, those days are over. It’ll move when it gets moved.


Big ticket items that require shifting on main decks of a 744F are now waiting up to 7 weeks from places like Mexico and Africa.  Carriers are turning down “must fly” cargo – which normally gets a premium charge and for which they would off-load lower paying shipments, to keep high-profit cargo on board.

Cargo is often being shipped to “nearest place” airports and then trucked to its destination, even if that’s several hundred miles away.

Significant growth rates for this period were South-east Asia-North America, South-east Asia-Europe, Europe-Japan & Korea and Europe-North America, with 53%, 52%, 49% and 23% increases respectively, not only for general cargo but for special commodities.

Huge growth in online buying during Black friday and Cyber Monday which seem to have been rolling for almost two weeks plus the run up to Christmas, coupled to big product launches like iPhone-X and a plethora of pre-Christmas electronics brands with new kit, big demand for clothing and a general economic upturn seem to have fuelled growth.

The irony is, it’s all very short-term, and isn’t a trigger for air cargo companies to rush out and buy new aircraft.

Who wishes they had an A380F now I wonder?