Top 10 Cargo Facts stories of 2018

We at Cargo Facts thank you for your loyal readership during this busy year and wish you continued success in the coming new year. With only a handful of business days remaining in 2018, we thought we’d take one last look back at this year and revisit some stories that readers found particularly interesting.

In reviewing the list, it’s clear that Cargo Facts readers are keenly interested in the future of Amazon Air and how it will affect major integrators – particularly if Amazon Air does indeed continue adding to its freighter fleet. Developments among EMEA carriers, including Qatar Airways, Etihad, and Emirates SkyCargo, were plentiful in 2018. We will be interested to hear more about those developments at our upcoming Cargo Facts EMEA conference, scheduled for 4-6 February in Frankfurt. You can be sure we will also continue to cover the latest on all of these topics on our website in 2019.

And now, the top 10 Cargo Facts stories of the year:

#10: Nippon Cargo Airlines grounds fleet.

It came as quite a surprise in June, when Nippon Cargo Airlines was forced to ground all eleven of its 747Fs after inspectors from Japan’s Civil Aviation Bureau discovered major inconsistencies in the company’s maintenance records. Since June, NCA has resumed most of its routes, but there have been some changes – most significantly, NCA decided to offload its 747-400Fs and move to a platform consisting entirely of 747-8Fs.

#9: West Atlantic’s 737-800BCF customer revealed.

On a more positive note for the industry, the customer for the first four West Atlantic 737-800BCFs on firm order with GECAS was revealed to be FedEx, despite earlier rumors that Amazon could be behind the order.  

#8: 5 idled 747-400Fs most likely to return to service.

Several 747-400Fs were idled in 2018 – including the above-mentioned NCA -400Fs – but many of those have since been snapped up by operators including Kalitta Air and Atlas Air Worldwide Holdings. We at Cargo Facts took a look at those aircraft we considered most likely to re-enter operations, some of which have done so since the story ran.

#7: Amazon behind recent DP-DHL weakness?

Speculation over how Amazon’s investments into its own-controlled network will impact express carriers has been rampant in 2018, and in Germany at least, Deutsche Post-DHL Group felt the pressure.

#6: Top 20 cargo airports in 2017.

Hong Kong International Airport (HKG) once again came out on top in total cargo handle in 2017. With this year’s news that Alibaba’s logistics affiliate, Cainiao, will open one of its six global hubs at HKG, that seems unlikely to change in the near future.

#5: How will FedEx beat back Amazon’s challenge? Here’s a hint.

Are concerns about Amazon’s threat to integrators overblown? So said David Cunningham, FedEx Express President and CEO, who highlighted the vast infrastructure FedEx and UPS have built up over decades as a guard against challenge by the rising e-commerce giant.

#4: Qatar Airways Cargo outgrowing its need for A330-200Fs.

Qatar Airways’ Chief Officer Cargo Guillaume Halleux confirmed to Cargo Facts that the carrier will be returning its three leased A330-200Fs early in 2019. Whether the carrier will retain its five owned A330-200Fs remains to be seen.

#3: DHL Express to add five ex-Etihad A330-200Fs.

Etihad Airways also said goodbye to its A330-200Fs, but those aircraft found a new home with EAT Leipzig, which is now operating them on behalf of DHL Express. Might DHL add additional A330s in 2019?

#2: What Would Happen if Emirates Took Over Etihad?

After Etihad dramatically slimmed down its cargo operations early this year, rumors began swirling over whether the Abu Dhabi-based carrier might be ripe for a takeover by the more expansive Emirates. Since then, Etihad has expanded its cargo operations slightly, but we will keep our eye on the carrier in 2019.

And our top story of the year…

#1: UPS expands express services.

UPS made dramatic expansions to its express service areas in November, signaling the integrator is getting ahead of concerns about rising domestic competition by moving into new markets in Southeast Asia, the Indian subcontinent, and other areas previously lacking coverage. Considering the company recently announced an investment to consolidate and attain full ownership of its express services in India, we can expect more expansion ahead for UPS.

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