The Covid-induced increase in air freight demand has raised the aviation industry’s outlook, according to research from global law firm Reed Smith.
Over the last 20 months, the pandemic and the consequent travel restrictions reduced demand for passenger flights but increased it for air cargo, especially as a result of supply chain issues and peaks in shopping demand.
“After losing two years of air passenger growth to the pandemic, the industry has seen the freighter market as a rare bright spot, fuelled by the boom in online shopping, supply chain disruptions, and a drop in passenger flights,” said Reed Smith’s aviation group co-chair Richard Hakes.
“There are, at least, indicators that some of the pandemic-driven boon to air freight will continue, and environmental trends are also working in favour of new, more fuel-efficient freighters.”
According to the research, technologies and environmental considerations such as the rise of sustainable aviation fuels are bringing about new investments.
Around $8bn of capital has flowed into the development to eVTOL aircraft, with analysts expecting the cargo market to reach $58bn by 2035. The passenger-to-freighter conversion market is also growing, with 750 conversions projected over the next 20 years.
“Such a lot has changed over the last two years and while we may not be able to predict the future, if we can identify where and how we should be putting attention and resources, and, using our collective capabilities and experience, hypothesise on what might be round the next corner, then we will be in a better place to support our clients in the industry,” Hakes added.