Air Cargo Africa exclusive – Africa, the emerging airfreight continent

HOW does a cargo airline strike a balance in a young, relatively untapped market? The answer is with difficulty – at first.

The likes of Saudi Airlines Cargo Company, Delta Airlines, Jet Airways, Cargolux and Ethiopian shared their experiences on day two of Air Cargo Africa.

Saudia’s Peter Scholten (right), vice-president commercial, finds the African market to be imbalanced. “We take a full freighter into Lagos and take that freighter back out empty,” he said.

This is also a pattern shared in the south of the continent. “Going into South Africa, our freighters have to fight to get in. On the outbound journey however, only two to three airlines compete,” Jay Shelat, executive vice-president cargo, at Jet Airways said.

Striking a balance is a key objective for Cargolux. “Fifteen to 20 years ago there was a huge imbalance with many air cargo airlines flying into Africa and bringing nothing back,’ Georges Biwer, Cargolux head of Africa, stated. “Kenya has been an example of how to cope with this challenge.”

Saudia’s Scholten agrees. “Twenty years ago there was not much cargo flying into Nairobi. Today we have huge volumes.”

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