Airlines don’t make money just from flying passengers: air cargo is a big business. Cargo is not only flown in dedicated freighter aircraft but alongside passenger flights as well. At present, the cargo business is booming once again for the national airline, PIA.
The load factor for PIA has been consistently maintaining the higher eighties, going up to nineties. This is no mean feat and is one of the key reasons for the rising revenues. The mango season was a game-changer for the PIA cargo business, which increased by 50%.
Recognizing the demand for carrying fresh produce, PIA has expanded its commodity list and is now carrying fresh fruits, vegetables, fish, meat and other food items safely and timely.
The value of this service is being realized quickly by businesses and PIA is fast becoming the method of choice for transport of cargo. The increase in cargo through airlines is a global phenomenon. The value of goods carried by airlines exceeds around $7 trillion in 2019, representing more than 35% of global trade by value, according to the International Air Transport Association (IATA).
The reason for this turn around is the boom in the e-commerce industry. Similarly, there is a rising demand for high-value cargo, such as pharmaceuticals, live animals, components and auto parts etc.
PIA revitalized its focus on of the biggest earners in the aviation industry a few months ago when the load factors were dwindling, and it was fast losing market share to more aggressive carriers. A simple logistic reorganization by the management had PIA offering cargo services at competitive rates and better-quality service, exploiting the advantage of direct flights, a critical concern for the exporters and freight forwarders of the country who want minimal handling of their shipments at transit points.
Record uplifts are being achieved regularly with PIA accommodating more than 40 tons of cargo in the belly space of its Boeing 777 aircraft through effective yield and space management. Focus on cargo has contributed heavily in the 41% increase in PIA’s overall revenue in the last six months, which ultimately is improving PIA’s profitability.
The revival of our national airline is on the horizon. It is happening faster than expected. The new management, under the leadership of CEO & President AM Arshad Malik, is dedicated to improving the national flag carrier. It is a difficult and challenging task but they are committed to regaining the past glory if not more!