Ukraine crisis hasn’t dented air cargo market

By Rebecca Jeffrey

Credit: Shutterstock

Air cargo demand, capacity and rates are so far unaffected by the threat of a Russian invasion into the Ukraine.

This is the viewpoint of Air Charter Service, which told Air Cargo News that while some airlines are avoiding routes which impacts transit times and costs, they are absorbing the costs so far, and capacity and rates remain unchanged.

“In terms of capacity it hasn’t really made any impact yet as there’s no actual war and there’s no real restrictions being put in place at the moment. Almost every airline is still able to fly,” said James Cristofoli, director, London Cargo at global aircraft charter provider Air Charter Service.

“I don’t think rates will be an issue at the moment,” he said. However if sanctions are put in place by countries in the future as a result of the situation this could see rates rise.

“It’s not beyond the realms of possibility that European countries and possibly NATO members might ban Russian carriers. That could have a sizeable impact on the cargo market.”

He said forwarders could be impacted but should have contingency plans in place to make sure there is not an overreliance on one carrier.

The Ukraine has declared airspace over the country is “currently open and accessible for flight planning”, but Air Cargo News previously reported that some airlines have stopped flying into the country.

“Some airlines are already taking pre-emptive action to avoid Ukraine airspace, despite the airspace being fully open,” noted Cristofoli.

He added: “I’m aware that some airlines had issues with insurance where they weren’t being covered but I haven’t seen any cargo airlines had that impact yet.”

An opportunity for the air cargo market, should tensions escalate, is that presented by humanitarian aid.

Air Charter Service has had “a few enquiries” about transporting humanitarian aid. “Should there be an opportunity to fly humanitarian aid in I suspect the air cargo charter market will be the first industry to deliver aid into the Ukraine,” said Cristofoli.

Ukraine declares airspace “open” as airlines retreat

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