The data are in. The cargo divisions have spoken.
As expected, there was little drama over which carriers would top this year’s Freight 50 list of top global air cargo carriers. For the second straight year, Dubai-based Emirates reigned as the champions of scheduled international airfreight tonnage, with 2.29 million tonnes carried on the main decks of its freighters and in the belly holds of its vast passenger fleet (see chart). For domestic and combined tonnage, the one-two punch of integrators Federal Express and United Parcel Service took the top spots again. Fedex, which recently ordered 50 new freighters from Boeing, carried 7.13 million tonnes of total freight in 2014, including 5.15 million tonnes of domestic freight, while UPS delivered a total of 4.24 million tonnes last year and 2.81 million tonnes for the domestic market.
While there is no single source for accurate cargo traffic data in the world, the World Air Transport Statistics (WATS) report, published by the International Air Transport Association (IATA), is likely the closest the industry has. The main sources for the 59th annual publication of the WATS guide were reports compiled by IATA and the U.S. Department of Transportation, as well as statistics provided by more than 200 airlines, including low-cost carriers.
Despite all the above caveats, and given that the top 50 airlines carry well over 90 percent of total cargo traffic, the charts provide a reasonably accurate picture of the air cargo scene at the end of 2014. Using this report as a springboard, we at Air Cargo World took a deeper dive into the data to spot trends – such as how the more successful carriers were using innovative strategies to develop interline partnerships, share freighter space and maximize the utilization of their lift capacity.
More from the 2015 Freight 50: