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The role of dedicated freighter aircraft in the provision of global airfreight services


  • Budd, Lucy
  • Ison, Stephen


In 2014, over 51 million tonnes of cargo, valued at over US$6.8 trillion, was flown around the world. Approximately 56% of this total (by global revenue tonne kilometres (RTKs)) was flown on dedicated freighter aircraft which were either manufactured specifically for this purpose or converted from passenger use. The remaining 44% (by total global RTK) travelled as belly-freight in the holds of passenger flights or on combi (combination) or QC (quick change) aircraft that can accommodate both passengers and freight. Although both sources of capacity offer the same basic service – the aerial carriage of time sensitive and/or high value-to-weight goods – they exhibit different cost structures, operating characteristics and spatial patterns of demand and supply. Using empirical data on the contemporary scale and scope of global freighter operations, this paper examines the role of dedicated freighter aircraft in the provision of global airfreight services and identifies a range of exogenous and internal factors which may affect the demand and supply side characteristics of all-cargo air services in the future.

Suggested Citation

  • Budd, Lucy & Ison, Stephen, 2017. "The role of dedicated freighter aircraft in the provision of global airfreight services," Journal of Air Transport Management, Elsevier, vol. 61(C), pages 34-40.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:jaitra:v:61:y:2017:i:c:p:34-40
    DOI: 10.1016/j.jairtraman.2016.06.003

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Kupfer, Franziska & Kessels, Roselinde & Goos, Peter & Van de Voorde, Eddy & Verhetsel, Ann, 2016. "The origin–destination airport choice for all-cargo aircraft operations in Europe," Transportation Research Part E: Logistics and Transportation Review, Elsevier, vol. 87(C), pages 53-74.
    2. Merkert, Rico & Ploix, Boris, 2014. "The impact of terminal re-organisation on belly-hold freight operation chains at airports," Journal of Air Transport Management, Elsevier, vol. 36(C), pages 78-84.
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    Cited by:

    1. Kupfer, Franziska & Meersman, Hilde & Onghena, Evy & Van de Voorde, Eddy, 2017. "The underlying drivers and future development of air cargo," Journal of Air Transport Management, Elsevier, vol. 61(C), pages 6-14.
    2. repec:eee:jaitra:v:70:y:2018:i:c:p:1-17 is not listed on IDEAS
    3. repec:eee:proeco:v:202:y:2018:i:c:p:12-20 is not listed on IDEAS


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