The top capacity providers of 2020
2020 was an extraordinary year in many respects – for aviation too. Out of necessity, more than a few airlines discovered or deepened their penchant to transport airfreight. Qatar Airways Cargo, one of the few airlines that has been able to increase its market share “thanks to strength, resilience and commitment”, sees itself as the number one provider of airfreight capacity.
According to Iata’s latest ‘World Air Transport Statistics’, the transport performance of its members measured in passenger kilometres fell by two thirds in 2020, compared to the previous year. After an initial shock, providers absorbed the loss of belly-hold capacities from March on.
The decline in freight performance for all Iata members (measured in ftk) came to 9.1%. For the 25 largest players it was limited to 3.3%. There were some competitors that performed better than ever amongst the top ten (see table below). Unfortunately, Cathay Pacific Airways from Hong Kong and Emirates from Dubai weren’t amongst them.
Adjust or perish
“Our competitors grounded their aircraft and closed their routes; we adapted our commercial operations and never stopped flying, operating a network our passengers and customers could rely on.” The words of the chief executive officer of the Qatar Airways Group, Akbar Al Baker, quoted in the group’s 2020 / 2021 annual report published in September, were aimed at its immediate neighbours.
As a result, the airline grew by around 5% in terms both of freight performance and weight transported (2.728 million t), ranking third in the world in each case. In its own reading it came top – “as was the case in the previous year” – but only if two CEP service providers are excluded.
A loss nevertheless resulted
The combination of strong cargo business, where turnover more than doubled, with adaptability is seen in Doha as the basis for Qatar Airways’ recovery. This will take some time, however as the group still made a loss of USD 4.1 billion in the financial year.