The way air cargo capacity usage is measured to reflect modern day reality will strengthen the airlines' voices with all stakeholders, not least airports, slot coordinators, legislators and aircraft manufacturers, said CLIVE, reports the American Journal of Transportation.
'Underpinning this new way of thinking by CLIVE Data Services' award-winning 'Selfie app' is the realisation that air cargo load factors based on weight utilisation now paint a misleading picture of how full flights really are,' said the company, a division of London's Cargo Airports & Airline Services.
'This is caused by the methodology used. Traditionally, the amount of cargo flown in kilogrammes is divided by the level of cargo capacity in kilogrammes. But, the reality for the vast majority of widebody and freighter flights is that it's the cargo capacity in cubic metres, which is the limiting factor, not the cargo capacity in kilogrammes,' said CLIVE managing director Niall van de Wouw.
'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,' he said.
'The fact that flights nearly always 'cube out' before they 'weigh out' is a result of the aircraft's higher capacity density (available kilogrammes per cubic metre) than the average density of the goods moved by air. Looking ahead it is very likely that this discrepancy in capacity density and cargo density will further increase.
'On the capacity side, we have new planes entering the market which can lift more kilogrammes of cargo per cubic metre than ever before. And, on the cargo side, the surge in e-commerce traffic will further decrease the average density of the cargo flown,' Mr van de Wouw said.
CLIVE analyses shows the real utilisation of air cargo capacity on a global level is 35 per cent higher than the traditional indicator suggests, he says.
'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,' Mr van de Wouw stated.