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Airfreight – it’s bigger than you think

[ January 20, 2020   //   ]

The global utilisation of air cargo capacity is 35% higher than the traditional industry indicator suggests, according to Clive Data Services, which has devised a new ‘dynamic load factor’ method of analysis.

Managing director, Niall van de Wouw says that Clive’s new Selfie app’ reveals that air cargo load factors based on weight utilisation now paint a misleading picture of how full flights really are. He explains: “Traditionally, the amount of cargo flown in kilos is divided by cargo capacity in kilos. But, the reality for the vast majority of widebody and freighter flights is that it’s the cargo capacity in cubic meters which is the limiting factor, not the capacity in kilos. Consequently, existing load factors, based only on weight, underestimate how full planes really are, and thus give a distorted picture of how the industry really is performing.”

Refreshing the way air cargo capacity usage is measured to reflect reality will strengthen the industry’s voice with airports, slot coordinators, legislators and aircraft manufacturers, he argues.

He adds that in future, it is very likely that the discrepancy in capacity density and cargo density will further increase. New planes entering the market can lift more kilos of cargo per cubic meter than ever before but the surge in e-commerce traffic will further decrease the average density of the cargo flown.
Clive’s analyses shows the real utilisation of air cargo capacity on a global level is 35% higher than the traditional indicator suggests.

Van de Wouw continues: “We therefore believe it is time for a new yardstick: the dynamic load factor. To support this change in thinking, we will now be publishing this dynamic load factor analyses each month. It considers both the volume and the weight perspective of the cargo flown and capacity available. The analyses are based on flight data shared by a representative group of airlines operating to all corners of the globe. We strongly believe that this new yardstick will create a better understanding and more appreciation for the industry at regulatory and governmental levels.”

Clive will also give a monthly overview of the load factor trends for the previous month to ensure the industry has access to both the most accurate and most recent data.

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