By Ms. En-Chieh CHANG
WHAT SHOULD I DO IF I AM DENIED BOARDING DUE TO AN OVERBOOKED FLIGHT?
世界⺠航雜誌 Airways Magazine Np.290_Mar-23
WHY OLDER PASSENGER AIRCRAFT ARE FINDING NEW HOMES AS FREIGHTERS
By Mr. Jasper WIJKHUIJS, based on Alan Dron, 21/02/2023, Aviation Week Network
The Trend: Passenger Jet Conversion
Due to the rapid increase in E-commerce, a positive correlation has been identified in the demand for air cargo transport. Prior the the Covid-19 pandemic – a real turning point in the world of aviation – a rise in e-commerce had already been identified, however the levels seen today and subsequent demand in extremely fast yet cheap goods transportation were simply intensified and brought years earlier than predicted levels.
Simultaneously, a decrease in passenger transport has been identified.
Naturally, airlines might have excess passenger capacity and aircraft on the ground as opposed to in the sky making money. Diversifying their fleet and welcoming cargo transport subsequently makes the airlines revenue streams more robust to future global events.
The quick shift in aircraft utilisation has led to lessors and carriers take a different approach to their fleet management strategy, with a new phenomenon being to convert aircraft that have had +/- 15 years of commercial life being converted to have a second life of 20 years in cargo transport. That way aircraft have their total lifespan extended for different use whilst carriers don’t have the issue of redundant aircraft costing them rather than making money.
With the focus on e-commerce being speed and flexibility, a new market has emerged for using small aircraft and converting those to freighters. This allows for cargo carriers to be more flexible in their offerings, and having a competitive advantage through being able to land and take-off from a larger variety of different airports. Where traditionally the cargo market was mostly used by large aircraft such as the B757 and B787, this new trend has allowed for Airbus to compete with the likes of the A320 family and even smaller OEM’s such as Embraer and ATR. ATR for example have received an order of 30 dedicated ATR 72-600 freighters, something which 40 years ago during the development of the original ATR aircraft and being ridiculed for having a too narrow fuselage cross-section would have been
This is only a trend which is going to continue. The world is becoming more globalised and the desire for consumers to have products shipped across the world in a matter of days will only push this trend. As the aviation industry is changing, in which consumers are becoming more aware of the sustainable impact aviation has on the world and will opt for other travel modalities, corporate trips are becoming less common due to the integration of technologies in everyday life reducing the dependency on face-face contact for meetings, this might actually be the saving grace that becomes the backbone of the aviation world in years to come.