Dec 20, 2018: Panalpina has completed its third charter to New York City in less than a month for one of its customers in the fashion industry. The flight also marked Panalpina’s 1 millionth tonne of air freight in 2018.
The charters took place between November 27 and December 18, but were organised by the Charter Network in early summer in anticipation of the peak season.The Spirit of Panalpina, their Boeing 747-8F, took part in the operation, planting its wheels at JFK Airport heavy with fashion garments from Italy and Switzerland.
“With 12 days left of the year, we will reach the highest volume in our company’s history for the second year in a row,” said Lucas Kuehner, Panalpina’s global head of air freight.
Panalpina’s Air Freight record ends a year that has not been quite as strong as 2017 in terms of overall market growth. “This was to be expected. 2017 was really an exceptional year with a market growth of 10 percent. We estimate air freight market growth for 2018 to come in at 3-4 percent, which, in absolute numbers, still signifies good growth,” commented Kuehner.
Throughout the year, carriers have managed capacity well, which led to a lower share of allocations and block-space agreements as well as higher rates to the tune of 15-20 percent on selected trade lanes.
For Panalpina, China to Europe, Europe to China, Europe to the US and China to the US were the strongest air freight trade lanes in 2018. US air freight exports developed strongly towards the end of the year.
“The disciplined capacity management gave the carriers room to play in the spot market in anticipation of higher rates and potentially more attractive ad hoc charters during peak season. As a result, capacity has been scarce on selected trade lanes. The few freighters that were delivered in 2018 mostly went to the integrators, adding to the capacity crunch,” explained Kuehner.
The Spirit of Panalpina was in high demand throughout the year, showing load factors well above industry average. Panalpina leases the nose-loading Boeing 747-8F plane on an aircraft, crew, maintenance and insurance (ACMI) basis from Atlas Air. It is the backbone and star of the Panalpina Charter Network.
As part of the Panalpina Charter Network, Panalpina also charters either whole aircraft or arranges part-charters. This happens on both a scheduled and ad hoc basis. In 2018, Panalpina has organised hundreds of charters and, additionally, deployed hundreds of on-board couriers to overcome all sorts of emergency issues.
In the US, the Spirit of Panalpina usually calls at Huntsville, Alabama, but Panalpina’s charter experts can redirect it to any suitable airport worldwide to meet customers’ requirements, New York being one such example.