Global law firm Reed Smith today launched ‘Global air freight’s future – The sky is the limit’, a report that analyses the changing aviation industry landscape following two turbulent years and offers insights into what challenges and opportunities air freight companies can expect in 2022 and beyond.

The report highlights the trends changing the shape of the air freight industry, such as new technology, environmental considerations, the challenges of passenger-to-freighter conversions, developments in electric vertical take-off and landing (eVTOL) aircraft, changes in legal governance, and new legislation. 

Key takeaways from the report:

  • Drone technology offers unique long-term logistical, cost-saving, and environmental benefits.
  • Freight pricing will remain buoyant due to the limited supply and low conversion rate of freighters.
  • $8 billion of capital has flowed into the development of eVTOL aircraft over the last five years, with the cargo market expected to reach $58 billion by 2035.
  • The passenger-to-freighter conversion market is growing, with roughly 750 conversions projected over the next 20 years.
  • Airlines must focus on maintaining high cargo revenue in tandem with passenger flights.
  • Investment in newer, more fuel-efficient aircraft is increasing.
  • Three kinds of cargo-related liability claims are on the rise.
  • Fuel price volatility is expected to have more impact on international aviation than carbon offsetting costs; however, offsetting costs will inevitably need to be pushed onto customers, creating new price pressures.
  • Customs authorities are increasingly looking at carriers when it comes to enforcement at the border and liability for noncompliance.