Full freighter takeoff. The first aircraft for France-based logistics company GEODIS is taking off on September 5, 2021 in the company’s colors. 

Its first flight will take it from Amsterdam across the Atlantic to Chicago, GEODIS announced via social media.

GEODIS has leased the A330-300 aircraft, which has undergone a passenger-to-freight conversion, for several years in order to provide more air freight capacity amid tight supply chains. 

“With the continued strain on airfreight capacity, we wish to ensure a more sustainable supply of air cargo space for our clients and are therefore investing in this, our own, first dedicated freighter,” commented Marie-Christine Lombard, chief executive of GEODIS, in a statement on August 31, 2021. 

The aircraft will operate between Amsterdam, London, Chicago and Hong Kong, but will also serve the key China - Europe route for the peak season at the end of 2021. 

Giving further details, GEODIS said the A330-300 with its branding will initially fly three times a week between Amsterdam/London and Chicago (AMS/ STN–ORD) and will also be deployed on weekly rotations between AMS and Hong Kong (HKG).

“This will provide our clients with a reliable schedule of flights, under our operational control, helping them overcome the significant logistical constraints that the market is currently enduring,” commented Eric Martin-Neuville, Executive Vice President Freight Forwarding of GEODIS.

The global COVID-19 pandemic has grounded aircraft, leading to a shortage of air freight capacity and prompting airlines to invest in freighter capacity. 

In addition, restrictions to curb the spread of the virus, especially in China, have led to handling issues in recent weeks. 

Notably, Shanghai Pudong International Airport (PVG) has imposed restrictions on freight volumes, so airlines have switched to Zhengzhou Xinzheng International Airport CGO, GEODIS said in a September 2, 2021 update. However, that has in turn created backlogs at CGO, so the hub is no longer accepting any inbound cargo there, forcing airlines to again cancel flights.

The International Air Transport Association said on August 31, 2021, that while strong growth in air cargo demand was expected to continue, the Delta variant of COVID could present risks for supply chains and therefore air freight.

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IATA expects the strong growth seen in air cargo to continue in the peak freight period at the end of the year, though warns of risks from new COVID outbreaks