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US transatlantic passenger ban expected to be major blow to air cargo

THE air travel ban from Europe - but not Britain or applicable to Irish citizens - to the US is likely to have a profound impact on the transatlantic air cargo trade, reports New York's FreightWaves

16 March 2020 - 19:00

THE air travel ban from Europe - but not Britain or applicable to Irish citizens - to the US is likely to have a profound impact on the transatlantic air cargo trade, reports New York's FreightWaves.

But the ban will apply to air cargo because most goods in the US-Europe market fly in belly holds of passenger aircraft.



On the transatlantic, only Air France-KLM and Lufthansa fly freighters. None of the US big three, which include Delta, United and American fly freighters. The bulk of the world's freighter fleet operate in the Asia-Pacific.



The ban, which took effect Friday, bars foreign nationals from entering the US if they travelled during the past 14 days within any of the 26 countries comprising the Schengen free-movement zone. US citizens and legal permanent residents will be allowed into the US through 11 government-approved airports.



Because of the ban, airlines will reduce their capacity should passenger demand, as it is expected to recede in the weeks and perhaps months to come. Those reductions will take out a large chunk of cargo supply.



The Europe-North American market, which includes Canada, accounted for 6.3 per cent of world air cargo tonnage in 2017, according to the Boeing's World Air Cargo Market Forecast.



Delta Air Lines (NYSE:DAL) announced a 15-20 per cent cut in transatlantic capacity as part of a 15 per cent network-wide reduction. The carrier added seven routes, affecting Paris and Amsterdam, to its no-fly list.



Some 200,000 flights were scheduled during 2019 between the US and the Schengen Area, equal to about 550 flights per day, according to the International Air Transport Association (IATA).



Freighter aircraft could fill some of the void, but likely not all of it. Boeing in its report said that 1,870 freighters populated the world's fleet in 2017.


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