Will AC run cargo only flights?

Old Mar 23, 20, 10:21 pm
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Will AC run cargo only flights?

Now that Coronavirus seems to have run its course in China (at least for the time being), I'm wondering if it might be profitable for AC to fly some of its 77W or 77L to and from China as pure cargo haulers. Obviously that would be belly only, so not sure if the economics make sense but there is an awful lot of cargo capacity from Asia that got pulled when all those flights were cancelled. Can't help but think air cargo rates have skyrocketed.
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Old Mar 23, 20, 10:32 pm
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Originally Posted by The Lev View Post
Can't help but think air cargo rates have skyrocketed.
I've read on other forums that cargo prices have tripled in the last 2 weeks, so there may be an economic case to run as cargo only. In that regard I read the 747-400 is the champion because of it's great carrying capacity, a passenger version can be run profitably with cargo only, no passengers on board.
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Old Mar 23, 20, 10:42 pm
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Originally Posted by Jagboi View Post
I've read on other forums that cargo prices have tripled in the last 2 weeks, so there may be an economic case to run as cargo only. In that regard I read the 747-400 is the champion because of it's great carrying capacity, a passenger version can be run profitably with cargo only, no passengers on board.
77W has more belly capacity than a 744 and is cheaper to run.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Unit_load_device
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Old Mar 23, 20, 10:49 pm
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I am in a global supply chain role and my teams source globally for distribution around the world. I can confirm the sky-rocketing of prices, but ex-Europe is much worse than ex-China. As of today, air freight out of Europe is up 8X into certain US markets that have seen a capacity reduction in the area of 80%. Typical to pay ~ 3 EUR/kg, today quotes are ~26 EUR/kg. The average over the past week out of China is 2-3X standard rates.

On top of this backlogs are running 7-10 days out of most markets.

I don't know the economics for the airlines but I can say definitively that the business would be there for them, particularly for markets like Chicago, Houston, and LA.
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Old Mar 23, 20, 11:17 pm
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Originally Posted by WaytoomuchEurope View Post
I am in a global supply chain role and my teams source globally for distribution around the world. I can confirm the sky-rocketing of prices, but ex-Europe is much worse than ex-China. As of today, air freight out of Europe is up 8X into certain US markets that have seen a capacity reduction in the area of 80%. Typical to pay ~ 3 EUR/kg, today quotes are ~26 EUR/kg. The average over the past week out of China is 2-3X standard rates.

On top of this backlogs are running 7-10 days out of most markets.

I don't know the economics for the airlines but I can say definitively that the business would be there for them, particularly for markets like Chicago, Houston, and LA.
So why aren't they running the flights?

I don't know anything about finance or supply chains, but what does the cargo markup need to be in order to fly a plane with no passengers and still come out ahead?
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Old Mar 23, 20, 11:18 pm
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Originally Posted by The Lev View Post
77W has more belly capacity than a 744 and is cheaper to run.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Unit_load_device
As part of its "air bridge" Air Canada is already running 787 into the European and Asian gateways. Wonder if shifting from the 787 to 77W makes sense. Likely some increased fuel and cabin staff costs.

What is also interesting is when AC first go into the 77W it put in a 3x3x3 economy configuration. Someone at the time told me it was because the wanted the extra cargo capacity but were going to struggle to sell the extra seats. That changed along the way.
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Old Mar 23, 20, 11:23 pm
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Honestly Cow, I don't know. I'm perplexed by it these last couple of weeks. Planes sit empty all over the world, airlines are bleeding their cash reserves, and cargo isn't moving due to lack of equipment.

We know these airlines have a few smart people kicking around so I would like to think that if it made financial sense they'd get on it.

It could be that the couriers on this side of the water are so overloaded they aren't likely to be able to move the items for days. Generally when you order something via air you have the expectation of getting it NOW. Maybe the passenger airlines just don't want to deal with what is sure to be a hassle.
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Old Mar 24, 20, 12:16 am
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Originally Posted by The Lev View Post
77W has more belly capacity than a 744 and is cheaper to run.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Unit_load_device
Yes, number of ULD's are the same, but the 744 can carry twice the weight of a 772. Makes the difference if your cargo is potato chips vs gold bars. That being said, I have no idea if long haul cargo only in AC's fleet makes economic sense. Maybe with cheap fuel?
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Old Mar 24, 20, 6:44 am
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A poster on another forum said that AC will be running cargo only flights on behalf of a freight forwarder to LHR/FRA/AMS on the 777...there wasn't any source to back up that statement however.
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Old Mar 24, 20, 8:26 am
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Originally Posted by Jagboi View Post
Yes, number of ULD's are the same, but the 744 can carry twice the weight of a 772. Makes the difference if your cargo is potato chips vs gold bars. That being said, I have no idea if long haul cargo only in AC's fleet makes economic sense. Maybe with cheap fuel?
Agree. Itís a combination of weight and volume. Since there would be no passenger onboard, all the weight capacity could be used for cargo and fuel. I have also heard that it is possible to carry certain types of cargo in the passenger cabin.

If the situation warrants, economical factors may not be a consideration.
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Old Mar 24, 20, 9:01 am
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LH is apparently trying to convert some of their 744s (not sure about the 748) to freighters for the duration of the crisis.
For me that implies using the passenger areas as freight room as well.

Would the same be feasible for the AC widebodies?
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Old Mar 24, 20, 9:20 am
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Are crew rest/layover requirements the impediment?

As an illustration, the recent rescue flight CMN-YUL appears to have operated as a same day YHZ-CMN-YUL turn with a crew day close to the limit. The operating aircraft had been ferried YYZ-YHZ the night before.
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Old Mar 24, 20, 9:52 am
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Originally Posted by fin 645 View Post
Are crew rest/layover requirements the impediment?

As an illustration, the recent rescue flight CMN-YUL appears to have operated as a same day YHZ-CMN-YUL turn with a crew day close to the limit. The operating aircraft had been ferried YYZ-YHZ the night before.
Good point. It is possible that extra pilots are deadheading on the same plane to operate the return flight.

I recall certain countries have quarantine exemptions for airline crew members.
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Old Mar 24, 20, 10:23 am
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Originally Posted by fin 645 View Post
Are crew rest/layover requirements the impediment?

As an illustration, the recent rescue flight CMN-YUL appears to have operated as a same day YHZ-CMN-YUL turn with a crew day close to the limit. The operating aircraft had been ferried YYZ-YHZ the night before.
Originally Posted by songsc View Post
Good point. It is possible that extra pilots are deadheading on the same plane to operate the return flight.

I recall certain countries have quarantine exemptions for airline crew members.
A four man crew can get a 20 hour duty day.
https://www.tc.gc.ca/eng/civilaviati...sfo9c-2583.htm


705 only
  • 17 hours where a flight relief facility seat is provided
  • 12 hours maximum flight deck time for any crew member
  • 20 hours where a flight relief facility bunk is provided
  • 14 hours maximum flight deck time for any crew member
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Old Mar 24, 20, 11:12 am
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I would have to wonder how much cargo traffic handled by DHL, FedEx etc is subject to exclusivity agreements .... we'll give you this rate, provided you give us exclusivity as the carrier. Such agreements are SOP in many industries ... perhaps someone with a background in logistics could chime in and indicate if that may be a reason we're seeing parked aircraft in spite of such high cargo demand.
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