Top 10 Air Freight Companies
Supply Chain Digital provides the breakdown of the world’s top 10 air freight companies, where the figures involved are almost too large to comprehend.
10 British Airways
British Airways World Cargo has recovered from a three year consecutive decline in freight traffic from 2006 to 2008 and is now working its way back up the list of top global air freight companies. BA carry almost a million tonnes of freight, mail and courier shipments every year to 200 destinations in more than 80 countries.
9 China Airlines
China Airlines, established in 1959, currently own 21 freighters and have consistently been in the top 10 air freighters in the past decade. However, they have slipped down the list in recent years. Last year they launched a codeshare service with Russia’s Transaero Airlines and Hawaiian Airlines.
8 Singapore Airlines Cargo
SIA Cargo offers more than 900 flights a week from its Singapore hub at Changi airport. Linking more than 65 cities in over 30 countries across 6 continents with its fleet of dedicated B747-400 freighters and 100 wide body passenger aircraft.
The airline saw an increase in capacity sales to nearly 72 per cent in the first three months of 2014 – an exceptional result compared to the rest of the air freight market. It has also increased its capacities by 1.6 percent in the first quarter this year.
6 Korean Air Cargo
Korean Air was founded by the South Korean government in 1962 and long-haul freight operations were introduced nine years later. Icheon International Airport serves as the international hub and with a fleet size of 153, flying to 116 worldwide destinations, Korean Air is certainly one of the big-hitting air freight companies.
5 Cathay Pacific Airlines
The Hong Kong based air cargo service, which started all the way back in 1946, have consistently enhanced its freighter fleet in recent years. No less than six new Boeing 747-400 "Extended Range Freighters" and 10 new-generation Boeing 747-8F freighters were acquired by the company since 2008. The Cathay Pacific Cargo Terminal was also built in 2011 at an estimated cost of £40 million, confirming its clout in the air freight industry.
According to its official website, Emirates' 218-strong fleet is one of the youngest in the skies, now serving 142 destinations in 80 countries on six continents. In October 2013, Emirates SkyCargo took delivery of its tenth Boeing 777F, bringing its fleet to 12 freighters. Scheduled freighter services now operate to 51 destinations in 44 countries. A solid top four spot for this company.
3 DHL Aviation
A division of DHL Express, which in turn is owned by Deutsche Post DHL, comprises of five main airlines and claims to be the global leader in air freight. Carrying 12 percent of the worldwide market, it also says that is more than twice as much as their nearest competitors.
2 UPS Airlines
UPS Air Cargo has been operating since 1982, and in that time it has serviced shipping and logistics functions to 727 airports which covers just about every country in the world. With over 20,000 employees and net revenue of £8.9 million in its supply chain and freight arm, UPS is a mammoth air freighter.
1 FedEx Express
It might not come as a surprise to see FedEx Express occupy first place on the top 10 global air freight list once again. Delivering to more than 220 countries that consist of more than 90 percent of the world’s gross domestic product, FedEx has an unmatched position in the market.
So much is the extent of its air freight operations, FedEx is in the top five largest aircraft fleets in the world. Founded in 1971 as Federal Express Corporation, it has grown into the leading transportation company and raked in $27.2 billion in revenue last year.
For pallets of freight weighing from 151 pounds to 2,200 pounds, FedEx Express Freight provides 100 percent coverage to any U.S. location in one to three business days. International express freight offers priority service to 50 countries in one to three business days, with economy service to additional locations, usually within five business days.
Top 10 air freight carriers
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.