Air cargo facts
Air transport is an integral part of today’s world. Whether it’s taking passengers to global destinations or ensuring freight arrives on time, planes are key for our economy. But it took some incredible innovation for us to reach this golden age of aeronautics in just over a century. Let’s take a look at some fun facts about air cargo.
The first air cargo flight was less than 120 years ago
In the history of transport, 120 years is only a very short time. Bear in mind sea travel has been around for centuries. So the fact that the first recorded cargo-carrying flight took place on 7 November 1910 is pretty amazing. The flight was loaded with a shipment of 90kg of silk, which was carried for 65 miles between Dayton and Columbus, Ohio. It took around an hour to reach its destination.
The first UK Air Mail service began in 1911
The first scheduled Airmail service took place on 9 September 1911 as part of the coronation celebrations for King George V. It ran between Hendon in northwest London and Windsor and carried commemorative cards and envelopes. The service was irregular, however, with only 21 trips made. It wasn’t until eight years later that a continuous Airmail service was established, running between London and Paris.
The largest air freighter can carry up to 640 tons
Created by Ukrainian company Antonov, the 225 Mriya is the largest air cargo freighter in the world. It was designed in the 1980s, has six engines, and can carry up to 640 tons in take-off weight. It leads by some way too – the second largest aircraft is the Boeing 747-8 Dreamlifter, which has a take-off capacity of 410 tons.
Around 62 million tons of cargo is moved each year
There’s a good reason time-critical logistics specialists use air freight forwarding to get goods to their destinations rapidly. As one of the fastest services, it’s reliable and efficient. In fact, some 62 million tons of cargo was moved in 2019 and 2020. This accounts for over one third of global trade.
Hong Kong is the world’s busiest air cargo airport
In 2020, Hong Kong International topped the list of busiest air cargo airports in the world. It processed 5 million tons of cargo, which equates to around 8% of the total annual volume. Hong Kong International has no fewer than three dedicated terminals and 5,000 square metres of dedicated cold room storage for cargo.
The first revenue-generating drone delivery took place in 2019
In the not-so-distant future, we may start getting deliveries from drones. On 1 November 2019, UPS Flight Forward conducted its first FAA-approved package delivery by drone. It flew prescribed medicines from a pharmacy in Cary, North Carolina, directly to two customers’ houses.
Many businesses now take advantage of global time-critical delivery solutions, with air freight proving the most efficient transport method. As innovations continue deliveries will only get faster, enabling consumers to enjoy better service than ever.