Air cargo’s new found importance to airlines is here to stay, according to IATA director general Willie Walsh.

Speaking to the press after the opening session of the IATA World Cargo Symposium in Dublin, Walsh re-iterated comments made earlier in the day that the air cargo sector had grown in importance to the airline industry over the last couple 18 months as many carriers found themselves reliant on cargo revenues to keep them from going under.

Walsh pointed out that cargo as a portion of overall airline revenues had averaged at around 12% pre-crisis but this year was set to reach 37%. Next year it is expected to remain above 25%.

Asked if this new found appreciation would ebb as passengers began to return to the skies, Walsh was adamant that cargo’s importance was a “permanent shift”.

“In the past, decisions that have favoured passenger have often gone against the interest of the cargo business,” he said, pointing to airlines ordering the A380, which offers minimal cargo capacity, as one example of this.

“Going forward I think cargo will have more of an input into both the aircraft decisions and the network decisions.”

Click here to continue