A new world order for the air cargo industry

AS MENTIONED in the front-page lead story of this issue, the Middle East carriers have become the leaders of the air cargo world.
It has taken a few years to get there, but suddenly most of the signs are pointing in the direction of the sands of the Arabian Gulf.
A new world order has emerged.
The likes of Emirates, Etihad, Qatar and Saudi have taken over from the pioneer carriers of yesterday: Cathay Pacific, Singapore Airlines, Lufthansa, American, China Airlines, British Airways, KLM, Korean Air and JAL, etc.
The Arab carriers are the new pathfinders, opening up destinations, connecting previously unlinked points on the map. Meanwhile, the old guard have been retrenching, watching the pennies, holding back investment, dodging bankruptcy.
Now, it is the momentum of the Middle East carriers, which is creating new traffic flows in the intercontinental market. In doing so, they are helping to re-write the air cargo script.
Investments in modern infrastructure and in technology appear to be the main reasons for this geo-economic swing. Armed with an ever burgeoning array of new, fuel-efficient aircraft taking off and landing at smart, hi-tech hub airports, plus the cash resources to sustain themselves through the hard times, these are the determinants of modern succesful air cargo businesses.
Compare the bright warehouses and handling facilities at the new Dubai World Central airport, or at Qatar Airways’ new Hamad hub, with those crusty, dusty units at the majority of US airports, for example.
And which group of carriers is investing steadily in freighter fleets? Which set of carriers is consistently creating new marketing ideas and winning awards?
The Middle East is the New World for air cargo and it is hard to see how the rest of the planet will ever catch up.

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