Tag Archives: Miami

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.”

Hong Kong sees a surge in growth for first half of 2017

It has been a truly impressive start to the year for Hong Kong International Airport (HKIA), with growth in traffic right across the board. In terms of air cargo business, HKIA has handled an impressive 2.3 million tonnes of cargo already this year in the first six months to June – that’s up a remarkable 11.3% on the same period last year.

Booming exports

So what has been behind HKIA’s great start to the year – and more importantly, do the experts think it will be sustained? Well, in the latest figures from June, 410,000 tonnes of cargo passed through the airport, up 11.4% on 2016 – and there are indications that a 17% year-on-year increase in June exports from the airport led to the high growth in cargo tonnage for that period. That bump in export figures has certainly contributed then to the airport’s positive performance in the first half of 2017, but HKIA has also benefited from an improved global outlook. And with the Asian markets leading the way in air cargo growth, HKIA is in prime position to take advantage of a global economic performance that is looking positive in terms of consumer and business confidence.

Investing for the future

HKIA isn’t standing still, with work starting last August on a third runway to help accommodate future growth. The airport is also making further investments to ensure it meets the needs of customers.

“On the cargo front, HKIA continues to develop its ability to serve fast-growing segments of the high-value cargo business, such as fresh produce and temperature-sensitive pharmaceuticals that require specialised handling,” says an airport spokesperson. “The airport authority and local industry stakeholders are working closely together to pursue the IATA Centre of Excellence for Independent Validators in Pharmaceutical Logistics (CEIV Pharma) accreditation on airport community basis and HKIA is expected to be recognised as an IATA CEIV Pharma Partner Airport by the third quarter in 2017.”

A sustainable future

Ignazio Coraci comments: “Clearly Hong Kong is an important site for both our ASC Cargo and SW Italia businesses, and so the news that air freight handling is continuing to grow there is great to hear. I’m also really encouraged by the investment in infrastructure that is being made at HKIA – it will go a long way towards making sure that the performance we’ve seen so far this year is sustained.”

Air Freight Grows Significantly in Miami

Ignazio Coraci comments on recently-released figures, which indicate that during the past year, air cargo traffic volumes grew significantly in the US port city of Miami.

Amazing opportunities

There is amazing potential to be found in the US air cargo sector. A study published by the US’ Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) projected that in terms of RTMS, total American air freight traffic for domestic and global routes will climb by 1.4% during 2017. Meanwhile, the FAA forecast that total US air freight RTMs will grow on average by 3.1% per annum between 2017 and 2037.

It appears as though a fair share of this potential lies in Miami – a city located on the sea-coast of Florida, one of the US’ most populous states. Miami is a centre of business, finance, commerce and pharmaceuticals, while its location makes the city one of the primary entry points into the lucrative US market. These factors are making Miami an increasingly attractive destination for air cargo firms.

Booming air cargo

According to Freight Week, an industry publication, the city’s rising status as an air cargo hub, is leading to a rise in air cargo rates for its Miami International Airport (MIA). The US’ Department of Commerce recently revealed that the value of air cargo which passed through the hub increased by 8% during the previous year, to reach US$5.3 billion, showing that Miami’s fortunes are rising.

ignazio coraci looks at growth at miami airportIt is important to note that for a decade, Florida has ranked as the US’ fourth largest state in terms of gross domestic product (GDP).  It held this position in 2005, when the state’s GDP was US$700.3 billion and it retained this ranking in 2015, with a state GDP of US$888.1 billion. This has benefitted Miami’s air cargo industry, which accounted for a colossal 92% of Florida’s total air trade value in 2016.

Stronger prospects

Commenting on this news Carlos Gimenez, the Mayor of Miami-Dade County, where the city is located, said: “MIA’s continued growth means a stronger economy and more job creation for our community… That’s something each of our [county’s] 2.7 million residents can be proud of.” Data also shows that the lion’s share of MIA’s air cargo growth can be attributed to pharmaceuticals.

Between 2011 and 2016, MIA’s air cargo rates for pharmaceuticals jumped by 140%, with a rise of 48% registered in the past year alone, to reach US$4.4 billion by the close of last year. Expanding, Miami-Dade Aviation Director Emilio González argued: “Our efforts to maximize pharma freight traffic at MIA continue to pay dividends for Miami-Dade County, the state and the nation… The World Health Organization projects that the global pharma industry will rise in value from US$300 billion to US$400 billion within the next three years, and we want to position MIA at the centre of that growth trend.”

Tapping US markets

Speaking out on this news, Ignazio noted: “We can see, from the release of these figures, that along with other East-Coast locations such as New York, Miami is set to be a prosperous market for air cargo firms going forward. At SW Italia we are looking to tap into the lucrative US market, by developing a Milan to Chicago service and we may expand to East-Coast locations as time passes, so we can harness the potential to be found in the US, and build a booming international all-cargo operation in future.”