Supporting charter operations

Singapore freight forwarders – Star Concord

Air cargo charters are the foundation for the whole charter broking industry. The Air Charter Association (ACA) has been the core of this industry from its very beginning, over 74 years ago, covering the global air charter network.

As a body, they lead industry self-regulation, promote the best supply chain relationships and their members are accredited as experienced and trustworthy professionals. 

“The ACA is the “go-to” source of industry information, proactively represents our members to government and regulators, provides expert guidance, support, training and organises unrivalled networking events,” Glenn Hogben, Chief Executive of the Air Charter Association, said.

The ACA holds regular events which feature conference sessions focused at sharing the latest cargo charter information and fostering discussion to promote engagement in industry issues and challenges. In addition, they produce quarterly bulletins that highlight key industry information to members alongside newsflashes to highlight urgent information.

Balancing capacity

Balancing customer demand and capacity is not a new phenomenon, quite the opposite, carriers have been managing this for many years. Ultimately, on a global scale, the market naturally manages this as carriers cease operating when demand falls which reduces capacity and start-ups increase capacity when demand increases. On a smaller scale, operators park up or retire older more costly aircraft to reduce capacity. 

Smaller carriers are also using the strategy of having quick change aircraft to allow use as passenger and cargo when required.

“Recently our members are feeding back that demand is levelling with less of the traditional peaks and troughs due to e-commerce and certain just-in-time manufacturing industries providing a regular demand for capacity,” Hogben stated.

Industry focus

The ACA currently has three main initiative areas they are looking at, which are sustainability, regulatory affairs and resource and talent. The association has identified these focus areas from discussions and member feedback identifying these as the key areas impacting the industry currently and in the near future. Their working groups are progressing initiatives in all these areas. 

“Alongside these we carry out regular PR and media interviews specifically highlighting the importance of using ACA accredited and professional brokers to support aircraft charters. We do this across all types of aircraft, from cargo through to rotary, and aim to showcase the valuable service brokers provide to clients and operators,” Hogben explained. 

Meeting sustainable criteria

 Cargo aircraft have a significantly longer operating life than passenger aircraft, in fact, many are converted passenger aircraft that have reached the end of their passenger operating life.

 This means the global fleet is significantly older and the reduction in emissions achieved with new engines, lighter materials and aerodynamics on modern aircraft has not reached a majority of the air cargo carriers yet. This will happen as older aircraft retire and are replaced by new conversions but there is definitely a time lag behind the passenger market.

“There are also limited options for the cargo carriers as aircraft replacement costs are prohibitive, client price focus means sustainability is not their priority. In addition, sustainable fuels, which will be an interim solution, are not available in sufficient quantity or locations and are significantly more expensive,” Hogben outlined.

The industry is therefore working to put into practice industry innovative steps to improve efficiency and sustainability. The ACA has partnered with 4Air an aviation specialist sustainability company who provide a range of support to our members to begin and develop their sustainability plan their actions. 

They provide a carbon offsetting solution to make an immediate change to reduce the impacts and provide sustainable aviation fuels (SAF) and a book and claim system where SAF can be bought for a flight where it is not available but loaded into another aircraft to achieve the same reduction in overall emissions.

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Author: Edward Hardy