In case you have been at the shore all
summer with no phone or computer, air cargo is not only doing very well
right now, in fact not since the wild days of the China build up a couple
of decades ago have rates been as sky high.
Do the math. When the pandemic struck if
you could get 4 bucks a kilo you might have been a local hero,
Right now, ex-China rates are as high as
$25 per kilo.
So, while everybody takes a deep breath,
have no fear that when and if a cure comes for COVID-19, the market will
drive the delivery of therapeutics and vaccine, just as it does everything
No doubt that in many parts of the world,
the change in China policy can be classified politically as just short
of a complete break as the aftershock of COVID-19 elevates one key word
between China and most of the rest of the world.
The word is trust.
It seems many parts of the world in 2020
will no longer be too trusting of China, and in fact this year something
that seemed impossible last year, has begun as nations are pushing back
Huawei Still Forging Ahead
But still in some quarters trust remains
based on long standing and bipartisanship in both the Executive and Legislative
branches of governments, with some Chinese companies including, for example,
Huawei still able to advance themselves.
In the U.S. we feel the split right now
on an academic level as schools open for Fall and University transfer
of data and foreign donations from China are met with increasing counter
intelligence efforts and imposed sanctions.
Sanctions Go Deep
Trade sanctions between the U.S. and China
are also the rub, as currently they are deeper and a bit wider than similar
trade policies that have actually been in place for some years.
While many question the trust, the answer
is as old as what President Reagan said in his dealings with Russia that
culminated in the end of the Cold War:
“Trust but verify,” said our
Trying To Save The World Two Ways
In the first instance we all know that air
cargo alone cannot save the airlines as they are today.
But in the second case, air cargo is experiencing
gold rush times, lifting as many planes as possible right now.
Finntastic Finnair Cargo
Finnair Cargo, the airline that still flies
to HEL (Finland) and back, has gone all in to the cargo business opportunity
Among other moves to enhance its cargo offering,
the always innovative and ambitious carrier converted a pax A330 aircraft
into all-cargo service.
“Without passengers how are we supposed
to stay in business?” Mika Kilpinen, Development lead for Operations,
Quality and Compliance mused.
“The conversion took about two weeks
of planning, but the physical transformation took five working days,”
“To use the cabin space for cargo,
we removed Economy Class seats creating 22 cargo areas that are secured
by nets. Each of those areas can carry 250 kg per square meter, between
600-1,400 kg and in volume 4-9 cubic meters.
“We utilized the same rail that holds
the passenger seats to secure the nets for the cargo load.”
The carrier has pressed two other A330s
from its fleet for enhanced cargo carriage and is also moving main deck
cargo aboard its long range A350s for cargo in seat.
You Ain’t Seen Nothing Yet
Look out Leroy, because just around the
corner will come a sky full of therapeutics and vaccines that 8 billion
people on the planet will all demand at once.
In the case of that prayed-for-vaccine,
two shots apiece is the reported prescription.
As deals to activate CRAF, the U.S. Civil
Reserve Air Fleet are now set, we will see U.S. flags pressed into service
(read as FedEx, UPS getting the lead there), the airport taxiway fleet
sitting silent with no place to go, will spring to life and be pressed
COVID-19 is destructive, heartbreaking,
a hell on earth that has left humankind with nowhere to run, nowhere to
hide, touching everyone in the world in some way.
Now human determination, spirit, hope and
science will come to the fore.
We can’t wait for tomorrow, because
what we do in air cargo looks better every day.