Thanks to its speed and effectiveness, air cargo shipping has become a crucial part of the global supply chain, enabling companies to ship goods worldwide at an unmatched pace.
Air freight or air shipping is simply the shipment of goods through an air carrier. Regarding the fast movement of goods locally or globally or express cargo shipment, air freight is ideal. Air cargo carriers fly through the same gateway as passenger airlines, but the only difference is that they carry goods/cargo, not human beings.
When you think of air freight, what comes to mind? Below are some interesting facts about air freight:
The busiest international cargo airport: According to ACI's 2022 preliminary figures released in April 2023, Hong Kong International Airport continues to hold the record as the most active international air cargo airport, having processed approximately 5 million tons of goods, which is more than half a million tons more than the second busiest airport in the world, which is Memphis International Airport and the third, Shanghai Pudong International Airport.
The first cargo airplane: The Wright Model B Aeroplane, was the first manufactured cargo plane. The first cargo flight happened in 1910, in the US, between Dayton, Columbus, and Ohio, carrying 200 pounds of silk package to open a store. The distance was 65 miles and covered in approximately 1 hour.
The largest air cargo plane: With a maximum payload of over 250 tons and a cargo capacity of 1,100 cubic meters, Ukraine based Antonov AN-225 Mriya was the world's largest aircraft up until it was destroyed by Russian forces during the war between Russian and Ukraine in 2022. The plane was used for enormous air cargo charter projects worldwide and owned by Ukraine. Designed during the 1980s, it has six turbofan engines and a range that enables it to fly for 18 hours without refueling.
Impact of air freight on global trade: Following slow growth in the 2010’s, the global air freight volume has increased rapidly in recent years, reaching 65.6 million metric tons in 2021. This value was forecast to reach 67.7 million metric tons in 2023. Despite the effect of the COVID-19 pandemic on global trade, air freight companies managed to cross the 62 million tons. This forms more than one-third of international trade.
The heaviest freight delivery by air: In 2009, the Antonov AN=225 Mriya delivered a gas power generator weighing 418,834 lbs to Armenia, making it the heaviest-ever cargo shipment by air. This record-shattering shipment required the An-225's six turbines to carry the payload from Frankfurt in Germany to Yerevan in Armenia and received a certificate from the Guinness Book of Records upon completion of the delivery.
A humanitarian life saver: Air shipping is the preferred option for medical supplies. Apart from enabling supplies to get to the medical facilities on time, the goods are shipped in a temperature-controlled manner. During the pandemic, air cargo was the only means of transport for the most needed commodities worldwide, such as vaccines, protective equipment, and technological gadgets. As demand for transportation grew, air cargo became a lifeline for governments and society, changing the industry's perceptions.
First FAA-approved drone delivery: On September 27, 2019, UPS Flight Forward conducted its first package delivery with its part 135 certification when it flew medical supplies at WakeMed's hospital campus in Raleigh, NC.
Market growth: The global air cargo market is expected to grow by 19.52 million tons between 2022 - 2027. According to research, the market is driven by the increase in e-commerce sales and rising demand from just-in-time manufacturers.
Impact of the e-commerce industry: The e-commerce industry has been a significant driver of air cargo growth in recent years. Cross-border e-commerce sales are estimated to reach 7.9 trillion dollars in 2023.
These facts show how vital the air cargo industry is to the supply chain and global economies. With the e-commerce industry, healthcare products, and technology taking the lead and driving the market shares, air cargo is set to be a force to be reckoned with in the supply chain industry.
SARA for over a decade has remained a trusted and reliable shipping partner for air cargo and air express shipments for a myriad of clientele globally. With our wealth of experience and partnerships with airlines, consolidators, shippers and performance driven forwarders, we offer a seamless experience for your expedited and standard air cargo.
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