Tag Archives: IATA

How global warming could impact air cargo flights

We’re all too aware of the many disastrous implications of global climate change – from the impact on coastal communities of rising sea levels through to the dangers of increasingly unpredictable seasons on agricultural cycles. But what about our own industry? A recent report in Climatic Change suggests that the implications could be serious for air transportation, and are well worth considering as the effects of climate change become more evident.


Serious impact

The report points to the way in which steadily rising temperatures will have an effect on the density of the air in the atmosphere. This has a direct impact on the amount of lift that our planes can generate – with serious consequences in terms of the amount of cargo that the aircraft would be able to carry. In extreme situations it could lead to aircraft being grounded during the hottest periods – with the experts suggesting that up to a third of flights might be prevented from taking off.  If true, the impact of increasing air temperatures would be particularly serious for air cargo operators – especially those who use larger aircraft such as the 777-300. The answer for the air cargo industry could lie in weight restrictions below their maximum take off weight – but the costs could be substantial.


A worrying pattern of evidence

“As air temperatures rise at constant pressure, air density declines, resulting in less lift generation by an aircraft wing at a given airspeed and potentially imposing a weight restriction on departing aircraft,” says the report by Coffel, Thompson and Horton. “Our results suggest that weight restriction may impose a non-trivial cost on airlines and impact aviation operations around the world.”


Ignazio Coraci comments: “This is troubling news for the industry, because it builds on previous research from 2015 – a compelling pattern is emerging that suggests that climate change could have very serious implications for our industry – not just in terms of cost but also in the quality of the service that we can offer our customers. As an industry we must do everything we can to make sure that the impact of climate change on our industry and the customers we serve is kept to a minimum.”

What the industry can learn from BRUcloud, the open community technology platform used at Brussels airport

Could a new app be a taste of the way our industry uses technology in the future?


Brussels airport has already had a great deal of success with its BRUcloud open community platform in recent years – and it seems that freight forwarders at the airport are now embracing the cutting edge data-sharing technology to develop new solutions to old problems.


Industry backing

The Customs Export Application was strongly supported by Air Cargo Belgium (ACB) – who represent the country’s air cargo community – and with the advantages it delivers it’s clear to see why the technology has been given the industry body’s backing. The app matches collected manifest data (both from the freight forwarders themselves and existing data that is available within the BRUcloud system) and then automatically reports complete and accurate information to customs. The new technology saves time on all sides – particularly in terms of the amount of time processing air waybills. Customs have also agreed to clear shipments handled via the app first, providing yet another opportunity to speed up processes for all stakeholders.


A shared approach

A real key to the success of the app has been the collaborative approach taken by all parties – both in terms of the development of the Customs Export Application and its subsequent roll out.


“This collaboratively created app results in a lower administrative burden for all the parties,” says Bart Vleugels, who is advisory general at the Federal Public Service of Finance, Customs and Excise Duties. “Digitization within BRUcargo will further lower the chances of errors and will help to drastically decrease lead times.”


Freight forwarders have certainly bought in to the new technology, with 90 per cent of the air freight passing through BRUcargo now using the app.


Industry best practice

Ignazio Coraci comments: “The industry can learn a huge amount from the great work done at BRUcargo, not just in terms of the technology itself and its application, but also in the collaborative approach taken to its development by everyone involved. This kind of open cooperation between stakeholders is a model for similar projects.”

Simplifying the Business

IATA’s flagship Simplifying the Business (STB) programme has transformed the passenger airline industry – now it’s time for cargo.

The passenger airline industry has transformed over the last decade or so – think electronic ticketing, barcoded boarding passes, mobile boarding passes and self-service check-in. But it’s also fair to say that the air cargo industry has sometimes struggled to keep up with the pace of change.

An inefficient process

The air cargo business is a complex one – and there are multiple points along the journey that a piece of freight takes that can cause issues for our customers, from inefficient and complex paper-based systems to a lack of transparency.

The industry transformation programme announced by IATA is all about improving two key areas – the service that air cargo carriers provide, and the efficiency of that service. The stated aim of Simplifying the Business (StB) for Cargo is to make air cargo easier, smarter and faster.

Areas of focus

Celine Hourcade, head of cargo transformation at IATA, laid out some of the key issues that the new programme will focus on – the areas of visibility, creating modern processes and making the booking procedure faster.

To achieve these aims, Hourcade explained that the project would be looking at five projects that, if implemented properly, could transform the industry –

These were e-freight, which uses electronic documentation; digital cargo, which would create a shared digital record; interactive cargo, which would share data and improve visibility; smart facilities to drive excellence and an air cargo incidents database.

The right approach

Ignazio Coraci of SW Italia comments: “The Simplifying The Business programme already has a great track record in the passenger industry, and it’s to be hoped that the successful approach taken to transform that area of the business can be just as successful with air cargo. The key is for everyone in the industry to approach the future with an open mind – the opportunities are huge if we go about this the right way.”