Throughout the pandemic, air cargo proved its value to aviation and the world at large.

Despite capacity constraints, air cargo showed great agility to distribute personal protective equipment (PPE), essential goods, and vaccines quickly and efficiently.

“Air cargo provided resilient services even at the height of the crisis,” says Brendan Sullivan, IATA’s Head of Cargo. “It just goes to show how effective we can be when we are working together toward a common goal. We can achieve a lot when we are really focused on an objective.”

For example, to deliver PPE to all corners of the world even though international travel had largely shut down, airlines managed to re-configure passenger aircraft to carry cargo, obtain the requisite approvals for ad-hoc operations, and even innovate loading strategies to cut down turnaround times. All this was done in a matter of weeks.

Industry strategy

Certainly, the mindset around air cargo has changed. The sector’s rise in the boardroom agenda is evidenced by long-term decisions to invest in freighter capacity, revamped networks, and reimagined fleets.

To help deliver tangible progress, IATA is bringing together industry efforts in three areas. Safety, digitalization, and sustainability will define air cargo’s future.

Lithium batteries remain a safety concern. One estimate suggests the lithium-ion market will grow to $116.6 billion by 2030 on the back of compound growth above 12% per annum.

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