Freighter expectations soar high

The industry's emblem, freighters are the most integral part of any air cargo operations.
COMMENT, Transportation


The industry's emblem, freighters are the most integral part of any air cargo operations. Renown for brute strength and practicality, the diversity of cargo aircraft now available to operators has benefited no ends from the fast paced evolution of the aviation sector.

This month Air Cargo Middle East & India explores the attributes of the leading freighters dominating the industry's skies. An interesting contrast arises, with the top ten a mix of light, medium, heavy duty, old and new models alike.

There are largely two origins of the freighter world. The first derives from the cold vast shores of Russia, during the days of the Soviet Union. Mechanical monstrosities such as the Antonov began life as military air lifters, built to withstand the most brutal conditions nature can conjure.

In their later life, such models were incorporated into civilian duties, offering the cargo sector the heaviest of heavy means for transporting oversized goods. Still one of the only viable ways of airlifting the most unusual and challenging of cargo, Russian freighters are nevertheless somewhat of a dying breed given the turmoil currently engulfing the motherland's aviation industry.

The common background for the industry now lies firmly with the major aircraft manufacturers Airbus and Boeing. Given their dominance of the passenger sector it is unsurprising to discover that out of this month's top ten, six models were created by the two manufacturing giants. Alongside the freighter deviates of each passenger model, freighter conversion programmes, in particular from Airbus, are further catapulting cargo aircraft figures.

Converted passengers models such as the Airbus A300 and A330, offer a cozy solution to regional cargo demands. With distinct economic advantages given their size and short haul range, such aircrafts are fast becoming a regular sight among the fleets of Middle Eastern airlines.

A fitting contrast, the new build freighter market now seems fixated with engineering freighters on a scale once thought impossible. With the fairy tale status of the Airbus A380 now proven feasible, speculation will soon be averted to the market delivery of its freighter variant. Capable of taking to the sky with an astonishing three full cargo decks, the mammoth freighter has the potential to revolutionise the industry.

While the air cargo sector has a tradition of utilising aircrafts several generations behind the passenger market, it nevertheless still capatilises on the pioneering developments of the aviation industry. With a greater diversity of cargo aircrafts now available, operators have a wealth of options for transporting goods worldwide.

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