Aircargopedia Newsblast: October 2021!
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18th October 2021  

Dear Air Cargo Professional:

Airline sector poised for change Post-COVID-19 by Pat from SUNTEC.

The Supply Network Debacle: Is It One Big Accident? Find out in this article by Peter Canellis, Professor of Management, Vaughn College.

In more World Air Cargo news, Brussels Airport continues to report strong growth in Air Cargo volume by Kevin Pflug.

dnata enhances cargo services with innovative drone technology.The rewards harvest goes on for Liege Airport!
  DJ Ghosh

D.J. Ghosh
President & Publisher
”The Complete Encyclopedia for the Air Cargo Professional & Investor”


Airline Sector Poised For Change Post-COVID-19

It’s difficult to state just how much the COVID-19 pandemic has devastated airlines. In 2020, industry revenues totaled $328 billion, around 40 percent of the previous year’s. In nominal terms, that’s the same as in 2000. The sector is expected to be smaller for years to come; the traffic won’t return to 2019 levels before at least 2024.

Financial woes aside, the pandemic’s longer-term effects on aviation are emerging. Some of these are obvious: hygiene and safety standards will be more stringent, and digitalization will continue to transform the travel experience. Mobile apps will be used to store travelers’ vaccine certificates and COVID-19 test results.

Other effects, though, are more profound. Unlike the 2008 global financial crisis, which was purely economic and weakened spending power, COVID-19 has changed consumer behavior—and the airline sector—irrevocably.

Business travel will take longer to recover, and even then, estimated it will only likely recover to around 70 percent of pre-pandemic levels by 2024. Flexible working arrangements are likely to remain in some form post-pandemic and people will take fewer corporate trips.

In previous crises, leisure trips or visits to friends and relatives tended to rebound first, as was the case in the United States following 9/11 and the global financial crisis. Not only did business trips take four years to return to precrisis levels after the attacks on the World Trade Center but they also had not yet recovered to pre-financial-crisis levels when COVID-19 broke out in 2020. Therefore, we expect that as the pandemic subsides, the rise in leisure trips will outpace the recovery of business travel. Some carriers are highly dependent on business travelers—both those traveling in business class and those who book economy-class seats right before they need to travel. While leisure passengers fill up most of the seats on flights and help cover a portion of fixed costs, their overall financial contributions in net marginal terms are negligible, if not negative. Most of the profits earned on a long-haul flight are generated by a small group of high-yielding passengers, often traveling for business. But this pool of profit-generating passengers has shrunk because of the pandemic.

Pat Praveen

For any questions, please contact Pat at
For more info please visit

Transport Logistics

The Supply Network Debacle: Is It One Big Accident !?

Here are a couple of numbers to keep in mind when considering the question that titles this article

One (1) and Seventy-three (73)

These numbers represent the number of cargo ships normally anchored outside the port of Los Angeles waiting to be serviced (1) and the record number anchored on September 19 th of this year (73) 1 . This would be bad enough for the world economy if it were happening only in Los Angeles, but this situation is replicated at many of the high-volume container ports all over the world.

Why is this happening? Why is the world economy running like a car with a leak in the crankcase?

In a previous installment, I discussed “Normal Accident Theory” and how its application guides us toward developing supply “networks” rather than supply “chains” to promote the resiliency required for recovery from external (or “exogenous”) shocks to the worldwide supply network. A short restatement of the theory with excerpts from that article follow

Accidents happen; and they happen to “systems”. How often and how badly accidents (or “failures” if you prefer) occur depends on two general characteristics of the system’s parts. They are:
• Interactive Complexity, and …
• Tight Coupling

Interactive Complexity is the extent to which different elements of the system interact in ways that are unexpected and difficult to perceive in advance.

Tight Coupling describes a system in which different elements are highly interdependent and closely linked. Under these circumstances, changes in one area quickly causes changes in other parts of the system. Tight Coupling has four attributes:

1. Processes are time-dependent
2. A rigid activity sequence is required
3. One dominant path exists
4. There is little slack time

In other words, systems with tight coupling have little of what we might call “wiggle room”.

In these “interesting times” of pandemic, economic uncertainty and geopolitical upheavals, reliability is a good thing! Accordingly, make sure you build reliability into your supply chains by converting them to supply networks. Chains break; networks don’t.

I have to chuckle as I read my last paragraph (immediately above) from the article published fifteen months ago. Actions have been taken to make the “chains” more like “networks” but, even so, effects of the pandemic and the halting recovery exacerbated by a wide variety of political errors continue.

Networks may not break the way chains do but, like pipelines, they can sure get clogged!

Peter Canellis

Peter Canellis
Professor of Management
Vaughn College of Aeronautics and Technology

Air Canada Cargo

Brussels Airport Continues to Report Strong Growth in Air Cargo Volume

17 October 2021

Earlier this month, Brussels Airport announced that total air cargo volume increased by 23% for September of 2021 compared to September of 2020. The growth of air cargo was observed in all three segments - with full-freighter volumes increasing by 25%, integrator volumes up by 6%, and belly cargo up by 52%. The significant growth in belly cargo volumes can be attributed to the increase in the number of passenger flights compared to this time last year.

In the full cargo segment, Brussels Airport saw growth with almost all existing customers. In particular, new routes from Asia contributed to this growth, and Asia remains the most important region for Brussels airport air cargo, followed by North America and Africa.

The transport of Covid-19 vaccines to and from Brussels Airport continues, with over 350 million vaccines handled at the airport to date. Currently, Brussels Airport also accommodates many vaccine flights to African countries thanks to the donations of vaccines from European Union Member States via the COVAX platform.

Brussels Airport also reported that in September of 2021 the number of full cargo flights increased by 14% compared to last year. Moreover, Brussels Airport reported that passenger aircraft are still needed due to the high demand for air freight capacity. These aircraft are also often used to transport vaccines from Brussels Airport.

Peter Canellis
Kevin Pflug

Airbridge banner

dnata enhances cargo services with innovative drone technology

Dallas, USA, 7 October 2021

dnata, a leading global air and travel services provider, continues to invest in cutting-edge technologies to maximise efficiency and deliver the highest value for its customers. The company has partnered with Gather AI, a US-based technology start-up, and launched autonomous drones in its warehouses at Dallas Fort Worth International Airport (DFW) in the USA, to digitise acceptance and warehouse inventory processes by monitoring shipments with 99.8% accuracy.

Gather AI’s innovative software enables the drones to map the environment, collect inventory data, count cases, measure temperature, and read barcodes using only their cameras, without the need for any additional active infrastructure. The drones are paired to a tablet device providing live inventory data. The collected data can be viewed directly on the tablet or the web, via a user-friendly application.

The drones can operate at temperatures as low as -10 Celsius degrees, enabling dnata to take advantage of the technology in its state-of-the-art cool chain facilities, too. dnata plans to gradually roll out the drones across its global cargo network in the next years.

Watch this video to find out how autonomous drones help us digitise processes and monitor shipments.


Guillaume Crozier, dnata’s Divisional Vice President for Operations and Product Development, said: "We are excited to introduce leading-edge drone technology in our operations to take cargo handling to the next level.

"Our partner’s autonomous drones and inventory management platform provides greater transparency across our entire operations. This new technology, combined with our strong cargo product expertise, enables us to significantly enhance efficiency and mitigate the risk of revenue leakage throughout the customer journey. "We continue to adopt the latest technologies to deliver world-class value for our partners at every stage of the cargo handling process."

Sankalp Arora, Gather AI’s Co-Founder and Chief Robotics Engineer, said: "Our drones gather label reads, inventory counts, temperature and volumetric data using AI, providing traceability across operations while providing exceptions against the facility inventory software. This transparency coupled with near-real-time visibility brings the power of analytics to physical spaces, minimizing revenue leakage while helping develop trust across operations.
"However, it is dnata’s dedication to bringing this transparency to their customers, combined with their insights in the air cargo industry that has been critical in applying our technology to the air cargo sector with a compelling ROI."

Over the past year, dnata has significantly invested in new technology and digitalisation. The company’s investments include hi-tech cool dollies in Australia and Singapore, UV cabin cleaning service in Switzerland, a baggage disinfection station in Singapore, a just-in-time freight handling platform in UAE, thermal screening in the USA, as well as the network-wide rollout of a turnaround tool and IATA’s innovative Dangerous Goods AutoCheck (DG Autocheck) solution.

A trusted partner of over 300 airline customers, dnata provides quality and safe ground handling, cargo, catering and travel services in 35 countries. In the financial year 2020-21 dnata’s customer-oriented teams handled 290,000 aircraft, moved 2.7 million tons of cargo, and uplifted some 17 million meals.

Turkish Cargo

The rewards harvest goes on for Liege Airport!

8 October 2021

International awards continue to underline the excellence of Liege Airport. On October 1 st , 2021, at its annual awards night in Singapore, Payload Asia crowned Liege Airport once more as a winner in the category "Best European Airport for 2021".

In its 8th edition, the Payload Asia Awards recognises the industry leaders and forward thinkers in the air cargo and logistics supply chain who are staying at the forefront of the innovations and setting new benchmarks in service excellence.

“We are very proud of being the winner and we would like to thank a fast growing group of people: the Liege Airport Supply Chain Heroes. All the staff and partners of Liege Airport who are working 24/7, moving PPE shipment to hospitals all over the world, moving vaccines to the most needed, handling e-commerce cargo to European consumers day and night. During this pandemic we’ve all been reminder of the crucial importance of our industry, and we are proud to carry that flag “, says Bert Selis, VP Commercial Cargo & Logistics.

“2021 is another exceptional historic year for our airport”, adds Bert Selis. “We are excited to share the news that last month we have passed 1 million tons of cargo, meaning a year-to-date growth of almost 40 percent. Last year we’ve added 25.000 m 2 of first line warehouse, and last month another 30.000 m 2 warehouse became operational, operated by Cainiao & WFS. This growth in capacity supports and confirms our role as an e-commerce hub, serving for example the Double 11 e-commerce shopping festival of Alibaba”.

South African Airways
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