GENEVA, SWITZERLAND: The International Air Transport Association (IATA) released data for global air freight markets showing that demand, measured in freight tonne kilometres (FTKs), rose 6.9% in January 2017 compared to the year-earlier period.
While this was down from the 10% annual growth recorded in December 2016 it still was well above the average annual growth rate of 3% over the past five years.
Growth in freight capacity, measured in available freight tonne kilometres (AFTKs), slowed to 3.5% in January 2017.
The continued positive momentum in freight growth into 2017 coincides with a steady rise in new export orders, which reached their highest level in February (latest data available) since March 2011.
Strengthening export orders
There has also been an increase in the shipment of silicon materials typically used in high-value consumer electronics shipped by air. The timing of the Lunar New Year (in January 2017) also may have contributed to higher demand in January.
“It’s been a good start to the year for air cargo. Demand growth accelerated in January, bolstered by strengthening export orders. And that outpaced the capacity growth which should be positive for yields. And, longer-term, the entry into force of the Trade Facilitation Agreement (TFA) will cut red tape at the borders for faster, cheaper and easier trade. The onus is now on the industry to seize the opportunity to accelerate the modernization of processes to make air cargo an even more compelling option for shippers,” said Alexandre de Juniac, IATA’s director general and CEO.
All regions, with the exception of Latin America, reported an increase in demand in January 2017:
- African carriers saw freight demand increase by 24.3% in January 2017 compared to the same month last year, helped by very strong growth on the trade lanes to and from Asia. Demand between the two continents jumped by 57% in January on the back of rapid long-haul expansion and increased direct services. The increase in demand has helped the region’s seasonally adjusted load factor to rise after falling by five percentage points in 2016 compared to the previous year.
- Asia-Pacific airlines saw demand in freight volumes grow 6.0% in January 2017 and capacity increase by 6.6%, compared to the same period in 2016. Seasonally-adjusted volumes were up considerably since early-2016 and are now back to the levels reached in 2010 during the post-global financial crisis bounce-back. The increase in demand is captured in the positive outlook from business surveys in the region. China’s Purchasing Managers Index (PMI) rose to a 21-month high, Japan’s PMI to a 36-month high, while Taiwan, Korea, and Vietnam also reported increases in new export orders.
- North American airlines’ freight volumes expanded 6.1% in January 2017 year-on-year, as capacity increased 0.6%. International freight volumes grew by 8.7% – their fastest pace since the US seaports disruption boosted demand in February 2015. The strength of the US dollar continued to pump up the inbound market but kept the export market under pressure.
- European airlines posted an 8.7% increase in freight volumes in January 2016. Capacity increased 3.3%. The strong European performance corresponds with an increase in reported new export orders, particularly in Germany over the last few months. It was also helped in part by the ongoing weakness in the Eurozone.
- Middle Eastern carriers’ freight volumes increased 8.4% year-on-year in January 2017 and capacity increased 3.3%. Seasonally adjusted freight volumes continued to trend upwards during the first month of the year supported by an increase between the Middle East and Europe. Despite this, growth has eased from the double-digit rates which were the norm over the past ten years. This corresponds with a slowdown in network expansion by the region’s major carriers.
- Latin American airlines experienced a demand contraction of 4.1% in January 2017 compared to the same period in 2016 and a decrease in capacity of 1.4%. Recovery in the seasonally-adjusted volumes also stalled with demand 13% lower than at the peak in 2014. The region continues to be blighted by weak economic and political conditions.
World Cargo Symposium
The positive start to the year will set an optimistic backdrop for the World Cargo Symposium which will gather the air cargo industry in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates from 14-16 March.
Rolls-Royce Set To Power Vertical Aerospace’s All-Electric Aircraft
Vertical Aerospace by Rolls-Royce (Flickr)
Rolls-Royce’s ground-breaking technology is set to power Vertical Aerospace’s flagship Urban Air Mobility (UAM) aircraft. A Rolls-Royce electrical power system will be integrated into the piloted all-electric vertical take-off and landing (eVTOL) vehicle, which will carry up to four passengers for 120 miles at cruise speeds of over 200mph and is on course to certify in 2024.
Vertical Aerospace is a key collaboration for Rolls-Royce Electrical as it marks our first commercial deal in the UAM market and builds on previous agreements to work with partners on demonstrator programmes. Rolls-Royce will design the system architecture of the whole electrical propulsion system, the electric power system that includes our latest 100kW-class lift and push electrical propulsion units, the power distribution and the monitoring system that will support operations.
Rob Watson, Director – Rolls-Royce Electrical, said: “We are delighted to collaborate with Vertical Aerospace for the electrical technology that will power their pioneering eVTOL aircraft. This exciting opportunity demonstrates our ambitions to be a leading supplier of sustainable complete power systems for the new Urban Air Mobility market which has the potential to transform the way that people and freight move from city to city.”
Michael Cervenka, CEO – Vertical Aerospace said: “We are excited to collaborate with Rolls-Royce, bringing onboard a hugely experienced team with deep expertise and cutting-edge electrical technologies to power our pioneering eVTOL aircraft. This collaboration builds on our existing partnerships and Vertical is well-positioned to develop the world’s leading eVTOL aircraft, certified to the highest CAA and EASA safety standards being set globally.”
Around 150 Rolls-Royce engineers based in countries including Hungary, Germany, US and the UK will work with the Vertical Aerospace team on developing the aircraft which is aiming to be one of the world’s first certified eVTOLs. Vertical Aerospace, based in Bristol, has already flown multiple full-scale eVTOL prototypes and the build of VA-X4 will begin shortly with assembly taking place in the UK and the first flight happening this year.
Vertical Aerospace by Rolls-Royce (Flickr)
Electrification of flight is an important part of Rolls-Royce’s sustainability strategy and supports our aim to contribute to a net zero carbon future by 2050. Rolls-Royce Electrical is a specialist team whose focus is to develop sustainable, efficient and quieter technology for aviation, marine, land and industrial applications.
Rolls-Royce also recently announced a partnership with Tecnam and major worldwide aviation players for the development of the P-Volt: an all-electric, twin electric motor, short and medium range passenger aircraft, designed for maximum versatility and safety, powered by renewable energy. In our traditional aviation segments technology continues to be developed for more-electric aircraft solutions- with integrated electrical starter generators, auxiliary power units and more intelligent management of the electrical systems on board.
Lufthansa and SWISS partner Airlink to offer convenient travel connections in Southern Africa
Lufthansa and SWISS Aircraft (Source: Lufthansa Group website)
Lufthansa and SWISS are partnering with Airlink, to offer customers access to over 25 domestic destinations in South Africa, including Bloemfontein, George, Upington, Skukuza, Nelspruit, Hoedspruit and Port Elizabeth – as well as over 20 regional destinations in Southern Africa, such as Gaborone, Kasane, Vilanculos, Maun, Victoria Falls, Maputo, Windhoek, Harare, Lusaka, Ndola, Bulawayo and many more.
The interline agreement which came into effect in January 2021, allows customers the convenience of purchasing a single ticket to or from a multitude of destinations in Southern Africa, via Airlink’s gateways in Johannesburg and Cape Town, therefore offering a truly seamless travel experience across both airlines.
“The Lufthansa Group is pleased to offer our customers even more travel options and convenience through our partnership with Airlink. We value Airlink as an important and reliable partner in the restart of our South African operations, and look forward to exploring further opportunities to widen the scope of our joint collaboration. This
partnership represents another milestone in further enhancing our network, and expressing the Lufthansa Group’s commitment to South Africa,” says Dr. André Schulz, General Manager Sales Southern and East Africa, Lufthansa Group.
Airlink CEO, Mr. Rodger Foster added: “We are proud and excited about our commercial interline agreement with Lufthansa and SWISS. We have a deep respect for these airlines, their values and global reach. We are confident that the partnership will provide our respective customers with a wider choice of travel options through the convenient interconnectivity of our respective flights at Johannesburg’s OR Tambo International Airport and Cape Town International Airport.
Jointly issued by Airlink and Lufthansa Group
Qatar Airways Expands Africa Network with Increase in Flight Frequencies
Qatar Airways Aircraft (Source: YouTube)
Cape Town, Casablanca and Tunis will increase to five weekly flights, while Johannesburg will increase to 18 weekly flights, offering passengers more flexible and reliable travel options
Airline’s young mixed fleet of sustainable aircraft has enabled it to continue flying throughout the pandemic and rebuild its global network to more than 800 weekly flights to over 120 destinations via the Best Airport in the Middle East
Qatar Airways continues to be the leading global carrier connecting Africa, operating one of the largest and most reliable networks in the region. Having become the largest international carrier during the early stages of the pandemic, the airline has applied its unrivalled knowledge of global passenger flows and booking trends to rebuild its Africa network to 23 destinations and more than 100 weekly flights.
Qatar Airways Group Chief Executive His Excellency Mr. Akbar Al Baker, said: “We are proud to be the leading international carrier connecting Africa with Asia-Pacific, Europe, the Middle East and the U.S., offering more flexible travel options and a global network of flights that passengers, trade and business partners can rely on. Having launched three new destinations in Africa with Abuja, Accra and Luanda joining our network in 2020, we continue to demonstrate our commitment to the region by adding new routes and steadily increasing frequencies across the continent. With the resumption of Alexandria and Cairo, we will operate over 100 weekly flights to and from Africa with connections via the Best Airport in the Middle East, Hamad International Airport, to our global network of over 120 destinations. As global travel recovers in 2021, we look forward to further expanding our network and offering more connections to and from Africa.”
In line with the airline’s steady rebuild of its Africa network, Qatar Airways plans to increase frequencies to the following destinations:
- Alexandria (two weekly flights resumed 25 January)
- Cairo (up to 16 weekly flights resumed 18 January)
- Cape Town (increasing to five weekly flights from 1 February)
- Casablanca (increased to five weekly flights from 21 January)
- Durban (increasing to three weekly flights from 14 February)
- Johannesburg (increasing to 18 weekly flights from 26 January)
- Maputo (increasing to three weekly flights from 14 February)
- Tunis (increased to five weekly flights from 24 January)
The national carrier of the State of Qatar continues to rebuild its network, which currently stands at over 120 destinations with plans to increase to over 130 by the end of March 2021.
Qatar Airways has become the first global airline in the world to achieve the prestigious 5-Star COVID-19 Airline Safety Rating by international air transport rating organisation, Skytrax. This follows HIA’s recent success as the first airport in the Middle East and Asia to be awarded a Skytrax 5-Star COVID-19 Airport Safety Rating. These recognitions provides assurance to passengers across the world that airline health and safety standards are subject to the highest possible standards of professional, independent scrutiny and assessment. For full details of all the measures that have been implemented onboard and in HIA, please visit qatarairways.com/safety.
Passengers can book flights with peace of mind, knowing that Qatar Airways offers unlimited date changes and fee-free refunds for all tickets issued before 30 April 2021, for travel completed by 31 December 2021. The carrier’s industry-leading flexible booking policy also provides the permanent feature of exchanging tickets for a travel voucher with 10% additional value for all customers booking travel via qatarairways.com. For full terms and conditions visit qatarairways.com/Flexibility.
A multiple award-winning airline, Qatar Airways was named ‘World’s Best Airline’ by the 2019 World Airline Awards, managed by Skytrax. It was also named ‘Best Airline in the Middle East’, ‘World’s Best Business Class’, and ‘Best Business Class Seat’, in recognition of its ground-breaking Business Class experience, Qsuite. The Qsuite seat layout is a 1-2-1 configuration, providing passengers with the most spacious, fully private, comfortable and social distanced Business Class product in the sky. Qsuite is available on flights to more than 45 destinations including Kuala Lumpur, London, Melbourne and New York. It is the only airline to have been awarded the coveted ‘Skytrax Airline of the Year’ title, which is recognised as the pinnacle of excellence in the airline industry, five times.