DIGITAL e-bookings platform Cargo.One has created a free-access web-page which identifies those routes with severe air cargo capacity constraints, writes Thelma Etim.

It gives latest updates to freight forwarders and other industry players about capacity shortages and availability on key air cargo routes around the Coronavirus world.

Along with real-time belly-hold and freighter capacity availability, the COVID-19 Air Cargo Dashboard also reveals the operating status of those airlines in countries and regions such as China, the United States and Italy which have high numbers of Coronavirus cases, reveals a company statement.

“After launching the operating status page for China two weeks ago and receiving overwhelming feedback from freight forwarders, we have extended the Cargo.One COVID-19 Air Cargo Dashboard to include capacity updates across all airlines for routes to and from Italy and the USA,” the company explains.

“We will continuously add more regions in the upcoming days and weeks according to the further developments of the crisis.”

The Cargo.One team is appealing for carriers to send their latest updates to the company using the e-mail address: flight-status@cargo.one.

The news comes as Alexandre de Juniac, director general and chief executive of the International Air Transport Association (IATA), reveals that more than 185,000 passenger flights have been cancelled since the end of January 2020 in response to travel restrictions imposed around the globe.

“Vital cargo (belly) capacity has disappeared when it is most urgently needed in the fight against COVID-19,” de Juniac declares.

“The world’s fleet of freighter aircraft has been mobilised to make up this capacity shortfall and governments must [therefore] take urgent measures to ensure that vital supply lines remain open, efficient and effective.”

Meanwhile, it is being reported that some passenger carriers are now even considering deploying some of their grounded aircraft as freight carriers to carry containerised and loose-loaded shipments to cargo-starved areas.

Furthermore, to ensure life-saving medical products are transported without disruption, IATA is urging governments to specifically exclude air cargo operations from Coronavirus-related travel restrictions. Instead, governments should ensure that standardised measures are put in place so that airfreight can continue to move unrestrictedly around the world with minimal disruptions; and those flight crew members who do not directly interact with the public should be exempted from the 14-day quarantine requirements.

The association also wants governments to support temporary traffic rights for cargo operations where restrictions may apply and remove economic impediments such as ‘overfly’ charges, as well as aircraft parking fees and slot restrictions to support freight operations during these unprecedented times.

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