The pandemic has taken its toll on passenger airlines, while those with freighters are able to benefit from the return in demand and sky-high rates.

Last year is one of the extremes for the airlines’ industry as the Covid-19 disrupts the market. According to IATA’s latest World Air Transport Statistics (WATS) report, the overall volume in cargo tonne-km (CTK) of the top 25 airlines in 2020 shrinks by 3.3% on the previous year and 4.3% on 2018. Nonetheless, the volume for freighter operators boosts as they are able to take advantage of the extreme freight rates and escalating demand to make a catastrophic fortune.

FedEx leads the way.

US express giant is topping the list once again with a ~12% increase on 2018 to 19.7 billion CTK. The prosperity is attributed to the enhanced e-commerce market – as customers switch to purchase online instead of in physical stores due to pandemic lockdowns – and the revived US domestic market.

Qatar Airways expanses its capacity.

In spite of the impact of Covid-19, Qatar Airways still manages to achieve an 8.2% increase on 2018 in cargo traffics to 13.7 billion CTK as it surpasses many of its carrier rivals.

It has also benefited from a rapid expansion of its freighter fleet over the past few years. Since April 2019, the carrier has added a total of 10 Boeing 777 freighters. Overall, Qatar Airways now operates a fleet of 28 freighters, 26 B777Fs and 2 B747-8Fs, as well as 6 passenger B777s with seats removed.

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