TIACA chief upbeat on future of airfreight industry

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TIACA secretary general Doug Brittin

E-commerce presents the biggest opportunity for the air cargo industry to exploit and boost volumes, according to International Air Cargo Association (TIACA) secretary general Doug Brittin (pictured above).

Speaking to Air Cargo Week at the Air Cargo Americas conference and exhibition in Miami from 4-6 November, Brittin says continued growth of the e-commerce sector particularly with B2C trade such as through Amazon and eBay is “very healthy for the industry”.

He explains e-commerce is helping bridge the fall in staple airfreight goods, while there is also positive news in other markets too. “Some of the traditional movements may not be as robust as they were, but that business (e-commerce) is growing and booming.

“We also see solid growth in pharmaceuticals and cool chain too, so there is reason for good optimism,” Brittin says.

The South American region is proving a challenge for TIACA members, Brittin notes, where the economic conditions in Brazil are having an impact on airfreight operators.

“The volumes are down there significantly just because of the inbalance and the valuation of the currency, and is a challenge for carriers because the products are not flowing,” Brittin says, but he adds other markets such as North America especially volumes from East to West are buoyant.

Brittin also welcomes the Trans-Pacific Partnership trade agreement: “Anytime there is a healthy trade agreement, as with trade agreements in the past, and anything that will help facilitate trade back and forth is always a benefit to our segment of the industry, as goods will move more freely.”

As for US Open Skies agreements, where American Airlines, Delta Air Lines and United Airlines want Qatar Airways, Emirates Airline and Etihad Airways flights reigned in, Brittin feels agreements must be to “everyone’s benefit”.

“It is important we have the ability for carriers to move freely, but there are challenges and different parts of the industry feels it in different ways. We are hoping it will work out to the benefit and health for the industry and not benefit some more than others,” Brittin explains.

See next week for an interview with TIACA chairman, Sanjiv Edward.