Cargo airlines (or airfreight carriers, and derivatives of these names) are airlines dedicated to the transport of cargo. Some cargo airlines are divisions or subsidiaries of larger passenger airlines.
Air transport is a vital component of many international logistics networks, essential to managing and controlling the flow of goods, energy, information and other resources like products, services, and people, from the source of production to the marketplace. It is difficult or nearly impossible to accomplish any international trading, global export/import processes, international repositioning of raw materials/products and manufacturing without a professional logistical support. It involves the integration of information, transportation, inventory, warehousing, material handling, and packaging. The operating responsibility of logistics is the geographical repositioning of raw materials, work in process, and finished inventories where required at the lowest cost possible.
Larger cargo airlines tend to use new or recently built aircraft to carry their freight, but many use older aircraft, like the Boeing 707, Boeing 727, Douglas DC-8, DC-10, MD-11, B 747#747-200F, Ilyushin Il-76. Examples of the 60-year-old Douglas DC-3 are still flying around the world carrying cargo (as well as passengers). Short range turboprop airliners such as the An-12, An-26, Fokker Friendship, and British Aerospace ATP are now being modified to accept standard air freight pallets to extend their working lives. This normally involves the replacement of glazed windows with opaque panels, the strengthening of the cabin floor and insertion of a broad top-hinged door in one side of the fuselage.
Notable cargo airlines
World's largest freight carriers by scheduled freight tonne-kilometres flown
2004 total scheduled freight tonne-kilometers flown
2004 international scheduled freight tonne-kilometers flown
2004 domestic scheduled freight tonne-kilometres flown
Source for 2004 data: International Air Transport Association. Note that it only includes data for member airlines.
Published in July 2009.
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