“There is a likelihood that more and more carriers will exit that business,” Coyne Airways’ chief executive officer, Larry Coyne, told the tenth annual meeting of the Air Cargo Club (ACC).
In a speech in which Coyne says ownership of large freighters was becoming an unattractive proposition and that passenger carriers were becoming bigger and more aggressive players in the long-haul freight business, he predicts the emergence of global brands in various forms, as an alternative to industry consolidation. He also sees the rise of a small number of global brands causing casualties amongst independents and forcing a shift in the way the industry operates. “Airlines not part of one of these global brands will find it increasingly difficult to compete and many will be forced to join in or risk being driven out of business,” he told the meeting, which was held in St Paul de Vence (France). He pointed to cargo migration to both surface transport and passenger aircraft changing the economics of freighter operations. Deliveries of widebody aircraft, which Coyne describes as, “mini-freighters”, are predicted to grow, according to him, by more than 8,000 in the next 20 years – bringing more services to more destinations and cutting into the main deck freighter market. He says: “There are only about 500 widebody freighters operated today, mainly by express carriers, so you can see what adding passenger cargo capacity equal to around 100 freighters a year will do to this market.” According to Coyne, a recent survey by consulting company, Seabury, claimed that about 15.2 million tonnes of airfreight had been lost to surface between 2000 and 2013, equal to 11,000 Boeing 777 Freighter flights a year. Coyne says: “It is creaming off some of the growth that air used to enjoy and has reduced it from a potential 7.3 per cent growth to 2.6 per cent a year.”