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Vaccine Cargo: Will it Save Carriers?

Updated: Dec 3, 2020

With the airline industry facing projected losses of over $100bn, we are all hoping for a silver lining. Many airlines are counting on Covid-19 vaccine distribution to save them next year.

But how realistic is that prospect?

Covid vaccine
Airlines are counting on Covid-19 vaccine distribution to save them next year, according to IATA

Brian Pearce, IATA chief economist, believes vaccine cargo may not be the golden ticket we are hoping for.

“Airlines are expecting a vaccine boost in the second half, but it’s going to be a challenging first half”

Mr Pearce feels the industry is still under great pressure. “There’s a real risk that we could see airlines failing if we don’t see some improvements. It is inevitable we will see a more consolidated industry,” he stated.

While around 50 airlines have failed so far, he believes the slow timescale of travel recovery will mean more airlines will find themselves unable to survive.

With cargo now accounting for an increasing percentage of revenues, airlines are expected to do as much as possible to sustain freight capacity.

Alexandre de Juniac, Director General, confirmed cargo is performing better than the passenger business and has become an increasingly significant revenue stream.

“Cargo income is making it possible for airlines to sustain their skeleton international networks”

Whether or not vaccine distribution will save the day remains to be seen, but it is clear that cargo is emerging as a clear revenue winner in the crisis.

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