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Belly cargo to and from Europe await key passenger schedule decisions

Nearly half of the tonnage flown by air between the United States and Europe is flown in the bellies of passenger aircraft, with all-cargo, or freighter aircraft hauling the rest. In fact, belly cargo is a bigger proportion of the air trade handled between the U.S. and Europe than between the U.S. and any other major trading region. Why does it matter? Historically belly cargo on passenger flights has offered shippers who have belly-compatible cargo the benefits of frequent schedules, multiple U.S. and European gateways, and competitive pricing options.

With the Trump administration’s new European travel restrictions to limit the spread of the Coronavirus, shippers now await critical scheduling decisions by passenger airlines. The restrictions prevent foreign nationals who have spent any time over the prior 14-day period in the U.K., Ireland and any of 26 European continent countries from entering the U.S.  The restriction lasts for an initial 30 day period and puts a huge number of trans-Atlantic passenger flights by U.S. and European airlines under scrutiny.  Airlines sell tickets and count on revenues from both sides of the pond to make round-trip flights financially viable. Will it still be profitable for airlines to fly routes with only U.S. citizens and the few others on board?  Or do these routes simply get cancelled over the 30 day period, and perhaps beyond, sharping limiting air cargo capacity and impacting industry supply chains?

We’ll be keeping a close on this evolving situation and advise everyone when we receive updates from our global partners.