Nov 28, 2011

Top 10: Air Freight Companies

4 min
Supply Chain Digital ranks the world's Top 10 largest air freight companies
10.) Cargolux Fleet Size: 14 Orders: 11 Destinations: 64 Based in Luxembourg, Cargolux’s ope...

10.) Cargolux

Fleet Size: 14
Orders: 11
Destinations: 64

Based in Luxembourg, Cargolux’s operations are focused in Europe but cover every continent on the planet. The company has a good number of Boeing 747 aircraft, a competitive, wide-bodied freighter. Cargolux, along with Japan’s Nippon Cargo Airlines, will serve as the launch customer for Boeing’s 747-8F aircraft.

9.) Emirates SkyCargo

Fleet Size: 10
Orders: 16
Destinations: 21

Situated in Dubai, Emirates SkyCargo’s volume increased between 2008 and 2009 when almost every other cargo airline saw a decline due to economic uncertainty. With 10 Boeing 747 8F planes and six more Boeing 777Fs on the way, Emirates SkyCargo is well positioned for the future in air freight.

8.) Singapore Airlines Cargo

Fleet Size: 13
Orders: Unknown
Destinations: 72

Singapore Airlines has long been one of the most highly recognized airlines, and its cargo division is no different. With dense operations throughout Southeast Asia, the company has expanded service in North America, Europe and the Middle East. Singapore Airlines Cargo operates 13 Boeing 747 planes, but no new orders are reportedly on the horizon.

7.) China Airlines Cargo

Fleet Size: 19
Orders: Unknown
Destinations: 38

Much of China Airlines Cargo operations are shrouded in mystery, as is much of the country. What is known is that the company is perennially in the top 10 worldwide in terms of volume carried. China Airlines Cargo’s fleet is made up of 19 Boeing 747-400F planes, and is expected to expand with the addition of Boeing 777s or Airbus A330 wide-bodied freighters.

6.) Lufthansa Cargo

Fleet Size: 18
Orders: 5
Destinations: 39

This German-based air freight company got a boost in a big way earlier this year, when five Boeing 777s were announced to be coming to the Lufthansa Cargo fleet. The company still operates 18 McDonnell Douglas MD-11F freighters, including the last of its kind ever built.

5.) Korean Air Caro

Fleet Size: 24
Orders: 12
Destinations: 116

As part of the largest airline in South Korea, Korean Air Cargo currently operates 24 freighters in over 100 destinations worldwide. The company is extremely well positioned for the future of air freight, with capacity set to take off with the announcement of seven Boeing 747-8F freighters and five Boeing 777F planes joining the fleet in the future.

4.) Cathay Pacific Cargo

Fleet Size: 22
Orders: 18
Destinations: 59

As the flagship air cargo service of Hong Kong, Cathay Pacific Cargo is in an excellent position to grow with the budding Chinese economy. The company has ambitious expansion plans, with plans to add 10 Boeing 747-8F and eight 777F planes in the future, raising capacity to meet the region’s growing demand.

3.) DHL Aviation

Fleet Size: 75
Orders: 13
Destinations: 150

In terms of volume, it’s hard to match the breadth of the DHL Aviation air freight operation. The company, with is comprised of main airlines European Air Transport Leipzig, DHL Air UK, DHL Aero Expreso and SNAS/DHL, claims to be the global leader in air freight, carrying 12 percent of the total worldwide market.

2.) UPS Airlines

Fleet Size: 519 (Including Chartered Planes)
Orders: 21
Destinations: 766

Operating out of its Worldport headquarters at Louisville International Airport, UPS Airlines services shipping and logistics functions for just about every country worldwide. The company’s dedicated air freight fleet is rumored to be pursuing orders for the Boeing 777 freighter, which would add further capacity and functionality to an already impressive operation.

1.) FedEx Express

Fleet Size: 688
Orders: 37+
Destinations: 375+

It’s difficult to argue with this selection, as FedEx Express handles the highest volume in terms of air freight flown, and has the largest dedicated fleet. In fact, the company’s air freight operations are so vast that FedEx Express operates the fourth-largest aircraft fleet in the world. Working out of its SuperHub at Memphis International Airport, the company has a diverse fleet that features light carriers like the Cessna 208 Caravan all the way up to the huge Airbus A300. FedEx Express is also heavily involved with the Boeing 777 freighter, and has 12 in operation already. The company has booked up Boeing with orders for the coveted freight plane, with 28 orders scheduled and contract options for an additional 15. The company’s FedEx Feeder program allows its propeller-driven aircraft fleet to feed packages to and from airports, which handle larger loads.

Share article

Aug 24, 2018

Top 10 air freight carriers

Supply Chain
James Henderson
5 min
Supply Chain |Digital runs down the world's top 10 air freight carriers
10. Cargolux Group

10. Cargolux Group

The Luxembourgish freight carrier Cargolux Group (comprised of Cargolux Airlines and Cargolux Italia, established in 2008) remained in the number 10 spot, with a total reported FTK (Freight Tonne Kilometer) equaling 7.45 bn, which represents a 7.7% expansion year-over-year. The carrier group currently operates a fleet of 30 aircraft (26 through Cargolux Airlines and an addition four through Cargolux Italia), primarily variants of the Boeing 747.

9. Korean Air

Headquartered in Seoul, Korean Air provides cargo and passenger services to over 100 destinations in 44 countries. The carrier fell from eighth place in the previous year’s rankings, with a total FTK of 7.66 bn, representing a 7.1% decrease year-over-year. Korean Air reported a net revenue of $10.7bn in 2017, also reporting a return to profitability for the first time in five years, according to Forbes.

 8. Air France-KLM

The Air France-KLM freight carrier group was founded in 1947. The group is comprised of Air France, KLM, and Martinair, and is based in Paris, France. Falling from seventh place in the Freight 50 rankings, the carrier reported a total FTK of 8.13 bn, which represents a 9.2% decrease in traffic year-over-year. The group reported a net revenue of $29.08bn at the end of 2017 and is ranked #28 on Forbes Magazine’s list of Best Employers.

7. Qatar Airways

Qatar Airways, the nationally owned airline of the Kingdom of Qatar is based in Doha, and ascended two places in the Freight 50 rankings, with a total FTK of 9.22 bn, representing a 19.6% increase in comparison to the previous financial year. The carrier’s Cargo division recently launched facilities at its hub in Doha to provide a “Seamless Cool Chain”, comprised of a “2,470 square metres Climate Control Centre situated at the airside… equipped with segregated temperature-controlled sections for storing pharmaceuticals and perishables.” This end-to-end supply chain control is expected to further improve Qatar’s standing as a leader of Middle Eastern air freight.

6. Lufthansa Group

Based in Cologne, Germany, the Lufthansa Group (comprised of Lufthansa, Swiss, Austrian, and Brussels Airlines) fell from the fourth position in the Freight 50, with a combined FTK of 9.46 bn. While this represents a 1.6% increase in traffic, year-over-year, the carrier was forced down the list by drastic growth from other German freight company, DHL. According to Forbes, Lufthansa’s revenue and net profits ($41.5 bn and $2.78 bn, respectively) in 2017 are both the highest reported by the company over a ten-year period.

5. Cathay Group

The Cathay Group (composed of Cathay Pacific Airlines and Dragonair) is headquartered in Hong Kong and its Cargo division accounts for 21% of the airline’s total revenue. The company’s first dedicated cargo flight between Hong Kong, Frankfurt, and London, was established in 1981, according to the official site. Now, Cathay Pacific’s Cargo Division services over 47 destinations worldwide. The carrier fell from the fourth position on the Freight 50 ranking, as its total FTK fell by 3.6%, to 10.21 bn. According to Forbes, Cathay Pacific experienced a second year of unprofitability, although the airline’s asset portfolio reached a record high in 2017, with a net value of $24.1bn.

4. DHL Express Group

Operating as the largest European carrier group, DHL Express Group (composed of DHL Air, DHL International, Air Hong Kong, Polar Air Cargo, ABX Air, Southern Air, Aerologic, and EAT Leipzig) rose two positions in the Freight 50 rankings. The carrier reported a total FTK of 10.56 bn, which represents an increase of 15.1% year-over-year. In 2018, at the Farnborough Air Show, DHL Express announced the purchase of 14 Boeing 777s, part of a new strategy to modernise its fleet.

3. UPS Airlines

Headquartered in Atlanta, Georgia, UPS Airlines is part of United Parcel Service, Inc. Founded in 1908, UPS is the oldest company in the Top Ten, and retained third place in the Freight 50 rankings, with a total FTK of 11.26 bn. This represents a 3.9% increase year-over-year. The Company as a whole reported a net revenue of $67.7 bn, according to Forbes, representing a continuation of a ten-year trend of continuous growth. Forbes also ranks UPS among the world’s top 100 most-innovative companies, and the world’s top 50 most-valuable brands.

2. Emirates Skycargo

The state-owned air freight carrier for the UAE, Emirates Skycargo remains in second place on the Freight 50, with a total FTK of 12.27 bn, representing a 0.4% decrease year-over-year. The carrier’s central hub in Dubai allows its 259-strong fleet to reach over 1.5 bn consumers in under eight hours. Current purchasing plans are underway for Emirates Skycargo to almost double its fleet size. According to Albawaba, “In response to increasing demand from its customers, Emirates SkyCargo introduced a range of air transport solutions specific to industry verticals including Emirates Pharma, Emirates Wheels and Emirates Fresh.” Emirates Wheels has transported close to 150 cars per month since the program’s inception.

1. FedEx Express

Founded in 1998, FedEx Express is both the youngest and largest air freight carrier worldwide, with a total FTK of 15.71 bn. Haulage decreased by 0.9% year-over-year, while revenue increased to $60.5 bn in 2016, and again to $63.8 bn in 2017, continuing an eight-year growth trend. FedEx employs 395,000 members of staff, with FedEx Express operating across twelve transport hubs globally. The carrier purchased an additional 24 Boeing 777 variants in 2018, maintaining their company’s position as the largest airline in terms of cargo haulage.

Share article