Cargo Airline of the Year: how it all began
11 / 03 / 2014
SINCE the 1950s, when commercial mail and general cargo shipments were first hand-loaded on board passenger aircraft, airfreight departments have been striving for recognition within the airline industry.
In those early years, cargo was merely a useful addition to passenger operations, usually generating considerably less than five per cent of an airline’s total annual sales turnover.
But as the airline industry grew, this belly-hold byproduct expanded rapidly, especially with the introduction of long-haul intercontinental jet services, and airlines discovered there was another sustainable revenue source within their grasp.
They started to invest in their cargo departments, some of them recognising the benefits of separating cargo from passenger profit-and-loss accounts. This gave cargo a new status, with professional management teams, dedicated freighter aircraft and bespoke IT systems.
Lufthansa Cargo, Emirates SkyCargo, Singapore Airlines and others typically led the way in redefining the global air cargo paradigm.
Recognising this trend and responding to the wishes of customers, Air Cargo News, the world’s first international air cargo newspaper, launched the Cargo Airline of the Year Awards scheme in 1983 in which readers – forwarder and shipper customers – vote for those carriers which consistently provide the best services.
In the intervening 30-plus years, some carriers have made a habit of winning it, with airlines emerging from the Middle East and stealing a march on previous winners from Europe, Asia and the United States.
Find out which carriers have succeeded in 2014. This year’s results will be announced at a London gala ball awards presentation night on April 26.