“Preighter” operations pass the peak

Jens KreuteronUnsplash

“Preighter” operations ‒ a peculiarity widely spread and seen during the COVID-19 crisis ‒ is now entering a downwards trend as passenger aviation is slowly starting to recover, according to Avion Express CEO Darius Kajokas.

The window of opportunity for preighter operations was rather short lived and would not be prolonged in the long term, Kajokas said speaking at AIR Convention Digital Week. “Based on the enquiries we are getting for cargo projects, I think we already have left the peak behind our backs.”

Around 50% cargo worldwide used to be transported by passenger aircraft, based on IATA’s estimations. The number was even higher up and reached up to 80% on some routes. However, travel restrictions, put in place in an attempt to contain the COVID-19 spread, resulted in a drastic capacity shrinkage. In turn, this stipulated an increased demand and higher prices for air cargo operations.

Airlines that had the majority of their fleets grounded, began adjusting their passenger aircraft and putting them to use in freight transportation. The term “preighter”, made of words passenger aircraft and freighter, describes the phenomenon: a passenger aircraft used for cargo-only operations. Lufthansa CEO Carsten Spohr used it while describing the airlines’ A330 aircraft usage back in May 2020, appealingly coining the term.

Watch full panel discussion here:

AIR Convention Digital Week hosts 30+ global aviation executives discussing how aviation is reshaped by the COVID-19 virus effects and the paths to recovery. Watch the event on aerotime.aero, every day at 2 CET on June 15th – June 19th, 2020.

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