The rise and rise of air cargo apps

08 / 01 / 2014

  • Customers can check the status of their shipments on a tablet

    Customers can check the status of their shipments on a tablet

SMARTPHONE and tablet apps are becoming must-have business tools for the air cargo industry.

Their use for tracking shipment progress has advanced considerably, Air Cargo News research has discovered.

With hand-held devices, customers can check the status of their shipments anytime, anywhere.

Typical of recent developments is the release of a new version of Qantas Freight’s popular smartphone app to the Google Play Store, giving customers using Android smartphones the ability to track shipments and view flight information.

This is particularly valuable for the Australian carrier’s customers across Asia, where Android smartphones dominate 75 per cent of the consumer market.

The release of the Android version follows the success of Qantas Freight’s iPhone app, which launched in September 2012. That app has been downloaded more than 40,000 times and already has a five-star user rating.

Harold Pang, Qantas Freight’s head of business development and Asia, notes: “More than 35 per cent of Qantas Freight’s revenue is generated in Asia, and the new Android app will make it easier for these customers to do business with Qantas Freight.

“The app will be particularly helpful for customers in China who will handle increased volumes during the peak before Chinese New Year,” he adds.

Smartphones are increasingly important air cargo tools, agrees Lufthansa Cargo. “We also see a large increase of customers that use mobile devices to communicate with us. That’s why we place high emphasis on the development of high quality mobile websites as well as apps. For instance we offer a freight tracking app and also publish our customer magazine ‘planet’ in an app version,” says a spokesperson.

Don Bender, interactive marketing manager at American Airlines Cargo, notes that the company’s website, aacargo.com, has seen a significant increase in mobile device usage.

“Mobile usage now accounts for about 5 to 10 per cent of our total traffic, and the majority of those visits are for tracking and flight information purposes,” he says.

“Among mobile traffic on our web-site, about two-thirds of visits are from iOS devices such as iPhones and iPads. The other third are from Android devices. Blackberry and Windows ‘phone devices only account for a very small percentage of total visits to our website,” he adds. But these numbers are growing.

Earlier this year, AA Cargo launched its new aacargo.com, which was specifically designed to be mobile-friendly. “Right now, we’re evaluating more mobile-specific options to further improve our customers’ experiences and to address these trends,” Bender adds.

Qantas Freight has seen a 30 per cent increase in usage of its mobile site over the last year. “This reinforces that customers now rely on their smartphones and tablets to interact with our business,” states Pang.