FedEx still tops in air cargo but Qatar and Turkish are rising: IATA
FEDEX remained the world's busiest cargo airline despite volumes remaining flat year on year while Qatar moved into second place and UPS was up to third, according to IATA's World Air Transport Statistics (WATS) report
FEDEX remained the world's busiest cargo airline despite volumes remaining flat year on year while Qatar moved into second place and UPS was up to third, according to IATA's World Air Transport Statistics (WATS) report.
Last year was a tough 12 months for the air cargo industry - although nothing compared with 2020 - as IATA said that overall volumes declined by 3.3 per cent year on year.
However, the top 25 cargo airlines appeared to outperform the overall market, with demand dropping by one per cent.
Topping the list was express giant FedEx as its cargo traffic was flat year on year to 17.5 billion cargo tonne kilometres.
In a quarterly results filing, the company said that it had been affected by 'continuing trade disputes, including reductions in international air freight, and tepid, at best, business-to-business domestic parcel and freight shipping'.
The express giant also took the decision in 2019 to not renew its US domestic contract with Amazon in order to focus on serving the broader e-commerce market.
The move came after the e-commerce retail giant launched its own air freight network four years earlier through deals with Atlas Air and ATSG, with Sun Country Airlines also now providing capacity.
Qatar Airways became the largest pure air cargo carrier (excluding the integrators) and moved into second place overall as it saw its traffic increase by 2.6 per cent year on year to 13 billion CTK.
The Doha-hubbed airline was one of only five to record an increase in cargo traffic last year. The improvement comes as Qatar has been expanding its freighter fleet in recent years.
Another grower was third-placed express operator UPS, which saw its air cargo traffic last year increase by 3.1 per cent to 12.8 billion CTK.
The carrier that recorded the largest increase in cargo traffic was Turkish Airlines, as it registered an increase of 19.3 per cent year on year to seven billion CTK, leaping from 12th to ninth on the list.
Turkish Cargo has been expanding rapidly over the last few years through the addition of extra freighter and passenger aircraft in line with the opening of the new Istanbul Airport..