Due to the worsening of the COVID-19 outbreak, there are further declines in the number of passenger aircraft in the skies and the availability of flights has plummeted. The European market has been especially hard hit, with some carriers canceling lanes all together. Shippers that would typically utilize passenger aircraft are being forced to ship via cargo only aircraft.
This has put a dramatic strain on the industry and by all appearances, it will continue to do so for the foreseeable future. As a result, rates are dramatically increasing and space is becoming more limited. Carriers are limiting rate validity to as little as 1 day and most are advising rates may vary at the time of shipping. Shippers utilizing airfreight should be aware of the situation, be prepared for extended wait times for a flight, and expect sudden increases in rates even after booking.
This week has provided more change. Several major airlines are now advertising to utlilize their passenger aircraft as all-cargo "freighters". It is important to keep in mind that the security requirements still remain as they operate under TSA's passenger airline security program. Also, please contact carriers around the acceptance of hazardous materials on passenger aircraft.
We are continuing to monitor the situation and will provide updates on this fluid situation as they arise.