Freighters have a future

Lufthansa Cargo has insisted that freighters still have a future despite some in the industry suggesting that there is an increasing trend for the use of bellyhold.
Speaking at the Air Cargo Europe Conference, Lufthansa Cargo board member products & sales Alexis von Hoensbroech said that Lufthansa Cargo was perhaps the only airline in Europe which believed in a combination of freighters and bellyhold.
"We see a future in belly airfreight and this is something where a lot of observers suggest that the industry will be moving out of the full freighters into the belly freight," he said.
"If you look at the figures and the overall demand growth trend and overall supply of belly capacity, then you will see that the demand will outnumber the supply in terms of belly by far.
"On certain trade lanes, like Europe to Asia, you still have 70 per cent of the capacity still being provided by full freighters.
"We as Lufthansa Cargo, perhaps the only one in Europe, are convinced that a combination of a very dense belly network with a decent freighter fleet serving the additional demand is something that has a future."
Von Hoensbroech added there was also a positive outlook for the airfreight industry in general despite threats from ocean freight, 3D printing and nearsourcing.
He explained that while near sourcing was happening and seafreight had a cost advantage over airfreight, the overall process of globalisation outweighed the impact of these trends. Meanwhile, 3D printing has yet to prove itself and it could take years before it is fully utilised.
He said: "Air cargo definitely has a future. We have seen that the air cargo industry has been continuously growing over the past decades with only minor dips.
"This comes despite observers suggesting that air cargo will shrink but that hasn’t happened."
He added that there would also always be supply chain disruption, which will result in additional demand for airfreight services.
He gave the example of the recent congestion issues at US west coast ports, which resulted in "a boom" in air cargo volumes during the first quarter of the year.

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