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Air Cargo

Air cargo represents less than 1 per cent of global trade by tonnage, yet transports more than  $6 trillion worth oCargo-at-SAA_All-Carriers.pngf goods every year, more than 35 per cent of international trade by value. As a comparison, in 2017 the world maritime industry carried an estimated 11.6 billion tonnes compared to 61.9 million tonnes by the air cargo industry. It’s a 100 billion dollar industry that is tied closely to trends in GDP.

2020 and the Covid pandemic has changed aviation completely. For cargo, the mass grounding of passenger aircraft has created a very significant shortfall in ‘belly’ capacity. 2020 Global demand, measured in cargo tonne-kilometres (CTKs*), fell by 16.1% compared to 2019. Global capacity, measured in available cargo tonne-kilometres (ACTKs), shrank by 24.2% compared to the previous year. This has increased the reactivation of stored cargo aircraft and the demand for old aircraft to be converted from passenger to cargo configuration.
Today, all the major integrators including UPS, FedEx and DHL operate into Shannon, and a range of aircraft are utilised.  The smallest being the ATR42, operated by ASL airlines for FedEx, the largest a 767-300 operated by UPS. Recently, DHL increased its capacity with a 757-200 aircraft from what was previously a much smaller aircraft. Additionally, Shannon is a technical stop for regular cargo operators such as Turkish Airlines with a 747 freighter from Istanbul to the US. A wide range of other aircraft such as the Russian AN-124, Boeing 777 and even the worlds largest aircraft the Antonov AN225-Mriya, flying cargo such as racehorses, PPE and humanitarian aid frequently stop at Shannon.
Partly due to the global need for personal protection equipment, and helped by the rise of e-commerce, Shannon has seen an increase in cargo by almost 20% so far this year, bucking the trend and gaining market share growth. Soft fuel prices, fast recovering demand, slow recovering capacity and growing e-commerce; means that the cargo industry is enjoying a busy time and growth. “Shannon has always been well-positioned to service the air cargo market well”, said Ray O’Driscoll, Shannon Group Chief Operating Officer. “We’re delighted to see the expansion of DHL’s operations and look forward to working with all our customers as their operations grow here at Shannon”.

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