CARGOCONNECT-JANUARY 2021 - Flipbook - Page 70
to a ‘New Future’
Hub airports equipped to
create and achieve
Air cargo volumes have been more resilient
to coronavirus pandemic-related effects than
passenger traffic activity. From the last few
months, the business is showing signs of
recovery with a rise in exports and addition
of freighter services at major airports. Now,
as rolling out of COVID vaccines has started
in some countries, and is expected to begin
soon in the rest of the world, hub airports in
the US and Europe have built up all necessary
infrastructure and bracing themselves to
handle what will possibly be the largest and
most critical distribution programme in recent
Air cargo is frequently used
to transport high-value, timesensitive commodities and, more
recently, personal protective
equipment (PPE), ventilators and
other medical equipment. Air
cargo demand was driven by both, urgency to obtain these
supplies and the need to fill in for supply chains that had
been disrupted due to stay-at-home orders and travel restrictions.
There are many cases of commercial airports which have
found that building a cargo business is a better option than
a passenger one. That realisation almost came about by accident as passenger traffic slumped alarmingly amid the
pandemic – but freight volume carried on growing.
In the past, airports have been consistently late in anticipating and meeting air cargo facility demand. This delay
created a very predictable infrastructure crisis. In case after
case, a shortage of efficient, properly located, air cargo facilities is preceded by a carrier or carriers expressing a serious
unmet need for greater and more efficient space. Efficiency is
the key – a cargo facility should be the right size and configuration for the potential market.
Looking at current situation, although many feel its airports rather than airlines that could be most at risk of unpreparedness, one thing is to be emphasised, no one would dare
to indulge in this kind of misadventure if they are not fully
prepared or lack the necessary infrastructure and systems.
After all, its airports that have managed to accommodate the
rising movement of shipments whether e-commerce, phar70 | CargoConnect jANUARY 2021
maceuticals, and consumer goods or perishables, as demand
grows with an ever-growing global population, emerging
markets and the new geography of trade.
Governments across the world are already considering
ways in which it will work with their aviation sectors for
smooth transportation of the vaccine, which will require stateof-the-art time and temperature-sensitive storage and transportation infrastructure.
Airports have planned and created dedicated task forces
in conjunction with their airline partners to facilitate vaccine
transportation. The teams will undertake advance planning
and collaborate with all stakeholders such as regional airports, airline customers, supply chain partners, regulatory
and governmental bodies, and vaccine distributors. Such
advance planning could go a long way in making the transportation process seamless.
The task forces will extend all efforts to optimise temperature management, reduce dwell time with prior special
approvals from regulators, and lower processing time in
order to ensure an unbroken cold chain for the vaccine movement from the manufacturing facility to the end distributor.
Besides personnel capabilities, airports are also planning
to dedicate their infrastructure capabilities towards vaccine
storage and distribution.