Bloomberg Intelligence predicts belly capacity from passenger air fleets won’t return to pre-pandemic levels before 2022.
Bloomberg says under normal circumstances, about 60 percent of global air cargo is flown in the belly hold of passenger flights. But with jets parked in deserts waiting out the pandemic, cargo volumes are down this year, whilst air freight costs have soared, with rates on the Hong Kong-North America route up 70 percent from early January.
According to Qantas, the May and June peak of outbound medical freight from China prompted airlines to carry cargo into passenger cabins.
In Asia, Singapore Airlines’s budget long-haul arm Scoot removed passenger seats from one of its A320s to free up more cargo space, whilst Korean Air, which is also converting planes, transported technology components to sate consumer demand.
Indonesia’s Lion Air meanwhile is hauling basic necessities like non-perishable food stuffs by plane across the archipelago.
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