FEATURE ETIHAD CARGO | Could we see less reliance on airline belly-hold capacity in the cargo market post-pandemic? What would this mean for competition in the sector? UAE GOVERNMENT AID FLIGHTS IN APRIL 2020: Leonard Rodrigues, senior manager network planning and cargo at Etihad Cargo • Number of countries flown to with UAE Government Aid: 31 Number of UAE Government Aid flights: 65 Total tonnage of essential supplies flown out of the UAE on behalf of UAE Government: 400+ tonnes Total tonnage of essential supplies flown into the UAE on behalf of UAE Government: 2,000 tonnes Number of front-line medical professionals who have benefited from the UAE Government Aid: 350,000 (source: MOFA) The pandemic has indeed put cargo operations under the spotlight. It is difficult, however, to pinpoint with certainty what the aviation sector will look like post-pandemic. Nobody wishes for the passenger business to remain grounded and we see airlines, including the Etihad Aviation Group, planning for the restart of passenger operations over the coming months. I am sure I am not the only one hoping we can all go back very soon to planning holidays that include international travel. With that said, I do believe belly-hold capacity will remain key to the air cargo model. It is a superior product for many commodities such as perishables and pharmaceuticals, with smaller capacities coming in more frequent and regular volumes. Also, its cost efficiency participates in lowering the overall cost of air cargo transportation, to the point that its absence would disrupt the economics of multiple supply chains. Even from a cargo-only perspective, we need the belly-hold capacity to come back. • • • • 18 | LOGISTICS MIDDLE EAST JULY-AUGUST 2020 www.logisticsmiddleeast.com
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