The last few months have been an extraordinary rollercoaster ride for people and businesses throughout the world, and obviously particularly for those involved with or connected with aviation. The air freight sector has faced and responded to multiple challenges that have often been evolving extremely rapidly. Most plans and expectations for this year have been turned upside down and then inside out. And then rewritten once again – along with most budgets! And even the most thorough business continuity plans have struggled to fully prepare companies for the full scale of the changes and the responses required to keep cargo flowing, keep staff safe, and keep businesses running – and help maintain the health of people and nations around the world, literally as well as financially.
In addition to our regular scheduled articles in this issue, focusing on Perishables (page 4), E-commerce (page 10), and Latin America (page 16), Cargo Airports & Airline Services (CAAS) has interviewed and invited comment from a selection of senior air cargo executives and companies to discuss their perspectives on the Covid-19 pandemic crisis, their responses and contingency plans, and any best practice initiatives that have helped them deal with and overcome some of the challenges they have faced. These are divided into three main sections, focusing on airlines, cargo handlers, and airports, plus an introductory section featuring representatives from key air freight associations. We are grateful for all of the thoughts and contributions from those featured in the report during this fast-changing and challenging time.
As these commentators describe, the air freight sector – and particularly its operations teams – have been thrust into the front line of dealing with the logistics of tackling this major and deadly pandemic. And deal with it they have – creatively, but also carefully, thoughtfully, methodically and in some cases bravely. And while the passenger airline colleagues of many air freight businesses deal with colossal losses and in some cases existential threats, air cargo specialists have done what they always do – except often more so.
It is a common wish among those commenting in this publication that as a result of air freight’s efforts and contributions and successes during this crisis, the sector will be more recognised, more respected. I echo those hopes, although based on previous history, that may be an optimistic view. Once the world opens up more fully again, as it presumably soon will, some of the lessons and resolutions may be lost. But in any case, the air freight sector can surely be proud of its contributions in this crisis.