According to the latest survey performed by the International Air Transport Association (IATA), 80% of airline CFOs and cargo managers indicated an improvement in year-on-year profitability in the third quarter of 2017 compared with the same period in 2016 – the best results in 10 years. Market experts from multinational transportation and logistics company AsstrA-Associated Traffic AG forecast positive growth for the air freight industry in 2018 as well.
By the end of October 2017, the AsstrA air freight division had shipped more than 2,600 orders, which is by 40.6% more than during the same period in 2016. Recent statistics show that air transportation companies exhibited strong financial performance globally into the second half of this year. A full 80% of respondents reported that profitability increased in year-on-year terms in the third quarter 2017 – up from just 36% in first quarter, which appears to have been the worst point of the squeeze on industry finances.
Karol Baranczuk, Head of AsstrA Partial Loads, which includes air freight, partial loads and express-delivery, observes that air transportation is slowly gaining favor over sea shipping due to better speed, safety, and online condition and location tracking capabilities.
“The popularity of air freight will continue rising next year as well. Global changes in end-customers’ shopping behavior as well as more manufacturing flexibility, technological advances in heavy industry and growing consumption are all key factors boosting demand for air freight. Today, the speed and safety of delivery is prioritized by many transportation services buyers. Road, railway or sea transportation can not beat the speed and safety level of transportation by airplanes over longer distances. At AsstrA, we are flexibly adopting the latest logistics solutions for air freight tailored to different industries and types of cargo. Our commitment to provide full transparency, real-time updates, and a 24/7/365 support desk continues to drive significant interest in our air freight services,” shares Mr. Baranczuk.
According to the latest survey, 87% of airline cargo managers believe that their profit outlook will be unchanged or improve over the year ahead, thanks to ongoing robust demand. None of this quarter’s survey respondents expect to see a reduction in either passenger or freight volumes over the next 12 months.
United States and Hong Kong among top destinations
This year, the most popular AsstrA air transport services included domestic Russian routes as well as those between Russia and France, Hong Kong, and the United States. These destinations have been popular for worldwide shippers as well. According to World Air Transport Statistics (WATS), prepared by IATA, this year the majority of air freight has been organized between Asia and North America (20%), Europe and Asia (19.9%) and North America and Europe.
To support the quality of its air transportation service offerings and open new business opportunities, AsstrA has joined leading air transport organizations. AsstrA Germany has been a member of IATA's Cargo Accounts Settlement System (CASS) since 2016. In August 2017, AsstrA Poland joined CASS as well. AsstrA Russia plans to become a member by the end of this year. Additionally, AsstrA is ISO certified for air freight and belongs to the Aerospace Logistics Group network.
“CASS membership allows us to work with airlines without delays or pauses and to offer clients access to competitive market prices,” Mr. Baranczuk.
Size limitations the downside of air freight
Today AsstrA can offer comprehensive transportation and logistics solutions for client needs. If air freight is too pricy for a sender, transport managers offer sea freight instead, a high-speed train from the Far East, express delivery inside the European Union, or partial load delivery from the EU to the CIS.
“Of course there are also a few disadvantages of air freight in comparison with maritime transportation. First is higher prices and second you can ship only cargo sized up to 160 cm in height in traditional passenger airplanes. These reasons are why clients might choose transportation by air mostly if their cargo is highly sensitive to outside factors like temperature or weather, when the cargo expiration term is short, when cargo contains live animals, or when the cargo itself is high-value,” explains Mr. Baranczuk.
This year, the goods most frequently shipped by air include expensive clothes requiring special handling, electronic equipment and household appliances, expensive fashion accessories, cosmetics, alcohol, tobacco, fresh fish and seafood.