Sponsor Message:
Civil Aviation Forum
My Starred Topics | Profile | New Topic | Forum Index | Help | Search 
Question About Cargo Shipping In The U.S.  
User currently offlinedirtyfrankd From United States of America, joined Apr 2011, 196 posts, RR: 0
Posted (2 years 8 months 2 weeks 5 days 19 hours ago) and read 3017 times:

Why is it that the legacy airlines in the United States (American, Delta, United, US Airways) do not have a separate fleet dedicated to cargo? If I'm not mistaken, NW was the last airline to have a dedicated cargo fleet and DL has long since retired that fleet.

There are several airlines around the world (LH, SQ, EK, KE, etc.) that have a separate fleet dedicated to cargo operations...is there a reason that is not the case in the US?

13 replies: All unread, jump to last
 
User currently offlinetugger From United States of America, joined Apr 2006, 5787 posts, RR: 10
Reply 1, posted (2 years 8 months 2 weeks 5 days 19 hours ago) and read 3004 times:

Quoting dirtyfrankd (Thread starter):


Why is it that the legacy airlines in the United States (American, Delta, United, US Airways) do not have a separate fleet dedicated to cargo? If I'm not mistaken, NW was the last airline to have a dedicated cargo fleet and DL has long since retired that fleet.

There are several airlines around the world (LH, SQ, EK, KE, etc.) that have a separate fleet dedicated to cargo operations...is there a reason that is not the case in the US?

They essentially just integrated them into their mainline fleets to save money. Each airline has its own separate internal cargo division or subsidiary. These groups control or "own" the under-belly space in the fleet and manage cargo within it just as if it were a separate fleet (basically).

Why have a separate fleet of x number of aircraft when you have hundreds of daily flights that can take the cargo.

So while there is no fleet of unique ID'd aircraft (and their attendant costs) there are fully dedicated cargo elements in each airline with cargo space to fill and schedules to meet. And in fact they are a prime moneymaker at every airline that has them.

Tugg

[Edited 2012-04-06 09:11:02]


I don’t know that I am unafraid to be myself, but it is hard to be somebody else. -W. Shatner
User currently offlineER757 From Cayman Islands, joined May 2005, 2607 posts, RR: 7
Reply 2, posted (2 years 8 months 2 weeks 5 days 19 hours ago) and read 2985 times:

UA and AA both used to have dedicated freighters but both did away with them in the mid 80's. UA brought back a small fleet of DC10-Fs later but they were short-lived. At the time AA and UA ditched their original freighter fleets, both were running quite a few wide body domestic flights and they were able to load containerized cargo on those. So for UA at least, when they weighed the costs of bringing their DC8-F's up to the newer noise standards versus using their passenger capacity for domestic freight, it was an easy choice. Not sure about AA's reasoning since I wasn't much involved with them back then, but I have to feel they couldn't justify the costs involved in maintaining a sub-fleet of 747-F's. These days both have their wide bodies almost exclusively on international routes which is where most of the cargo revenue is anyway. The domestic air freight market has changed dramatically over the years, so not sure UA would do it any differently if they had it to do over again.

User currently offlinemayor From United States of America, joined Mar 2008, 10655 posts, RR: 14
Reply 3, posted (2 years 8 months 2 weeks 5 days 19 hours ago) and read 2977 times:

Quoting dirtyfrankd (Thread starter):


Why is it that the legacy airlines in the United States (American, Delta, United, US Airways) do not have a separate fleet dedicated to cargo? If I'm not mistaken, NW was the last airline to have a dedicated cargo fleet and DL has long since retired that fleet.

There are several airlines around the world (LH, SQ, EK, KE, etc.) that have a separate fleet dedicated to cargo operations...is there a reason that is not the case in the US?

DL did, at one time, have a dedicated fleet of cargo a/c.....DC-3s, then C-46s and finally, the L-100. Management determined that the same type of cargo we were hauling on the L-100s, could be hauled on the 747. Towards the last of the all cargo service, we were getting carts of cargo and building up the pallets for the freighter because we didn't have all that much large, freighter cargo, to fill up the Herky. At least, that's how it was at ORD.


Later, when I was working cargo at SLC, we tried to convince the company to make an all cargo route from SLC to ANC because there was so much cargo going to Alaska. We were always backlogged to that destination. However, the company stuck to its guns and we were unsuccesful in convincing them. Part of the problem, used to be that, the powers that be in ATL, mostly came out of operations or passenger service and had no experience or knowledge of air cargo. If we had had the management back then, that they do, now, we might have been more succesful.



"A committee is a group of the unprepared, appointed by the unwilling, to do the unnecessary"----Fred Allen
User currently offlinethreeifbyair From United States of America, joined Aug 2007, 709 posts, RR: 1
Reply 4, posted (2 years 8 months 2 weeks 5 days 18 hours ago) and read 2947 times:

Correct me if I'm wrong, but FedEx and UPS can handle large palletized shipments, right?

Considering the size, reach, and efficiency of the FedEx and UPS networks, I don't think any passenger airline would bother trying to compete.


User currently offlineER757 From Cayman Islands, joined May 2005, 2607 posts, RR: 7
Reply 5, posted (2 years 8 months 2 weeks 5 days 18 hours ago) and read 2934 times:

Quoting threeifbyair (Reply 4):
Correct me if I'm wrong, but FedEx and UPS can handle large palletized shipments, right?

Considering the size, reach, and efficiency of the FedEx and UPS networks, I don't think any passenger airline would bother trying to compete.

Yes they do, and they charge a pretty penny for express service. Where the commercial carriers come in is if the customer can live with a longer transit time and if it's domestic it's small enough to put on a 737 or A320 etc. On exports the commercial carriers sell most of their belly space to forwarders at volume discounts which enables the forwarders charge a much lower rate than FX or UPS would if the customer went directly to them (in most cases).


User currently offlinemayor From United States of America, joined Mar 2008, 10655 posts, RR: 14
Reply 6, posted (2 years 8 months 2 weeks 5 days 18 hours ago) and read 2873 times:

Quoting threeifbyair (Reply 4):
Correct me if I'm wrong, but FedEx and UPS can handle large palletized shipments, right?

Considering the size, reach, and efficiency of the FedEx and UPS networks, I don't think any passenger airline would bother trying to compete.

Many a time, FedEx or UPS would bring over some of their shipments to be sent on DL's small package service, DASH. Depending on where the shipment is going, the airlines can be faster and more efficient that either of them.



"A committee is a group of the unprepared, appointed by the unwilling, to do the unnecessary"----Fred Allen
User currently offlinecargolex From United States of America, joined Apr 2010, 1278 posts, RR: 8
Reply 7, posted (2 years 8 months 2 weeks 5 days 17 hours ago) and read 2809 times:

There was a time when almost all US airlines had main deck cargo capacity - either in the form of QC narrowbodies or actual main deck freighters (narrow and wide body). If you were to travel back in time to say, 1975, you'd find thriving main deck operations at most US airlines.

When you see SQ, EK, BR etc. cargo fleets, they are generally not carrying packages or cargo that goes to individual people. They're hauling manufactured goods or fresh goods or large freight items.

Back when domestic carriers had main deck ops or QC operations, they were hauling alot of the stuff that was later taken up by the reliability and efficiency of the integrators - FedEx, UPS, and to a lesser extent the now-gone Emery/Airborne/BAX. Heavy freight back then was also handled by the combination carriers, but there was a whole industry of heavy cargo carriers who hauled things like Auto parts and machinery, and even checks in the era before electronic transfers.

The spectacular growth of the integrators, in particular FedEx, with their hyper-efficient models and high level of automation, sapped cargo away from both the combintion carriers and the older freight operators. It's worth noting too that in north america, trucking has become much more efficient since 1980. So some things that were once flown on DC-9s, in particular car parts from the midwest to other factories around the continent, are now hauled on trucks, which futher reduced the need fo rmain deck freighters at smaller or passenger carriers.

This is not to suggest that cargo isn't important to the majors - they all have cargo divisions and they are all angling for belly freight volume, even unlikely carriers like Southwest and Jetblue who don't have 777 or A330 bellies to fill. But because heavy freight has been consigned domestically to trucks and integrators (and a small number of independent cargo airlines like Capital Cargo, Kalitta Charters, and ATI), there isn't any need for main deck operations - with one exception, more on that in a minute. But almost every flight in the US has some cargo component, pallets on big planes, boxes and packeges on small ones, fresh goods, mail, whatnot. But big pallets of cell phones, no.

That exception:

Alaska Airlines operates the last main deck freighter of any US passenger airline, a 734 converted by PEMCO some years ago to replace a 732. They also operate the only combis of any regularly scheduled US passenger carrier - also PEMCO 734s. Alaska's special needs mean these operations are likely to continue, since the integrators wouldn't be interested in off-model business like that and it dovetails so well with AS' passenger business.


User currently offlinedirtyfrankd From United States of America, joined Apr 2011, 196 posts, RR: 0
Reply 8, posted (2 years 8 months 2 weeks 5 days 15 hours ago) and read 2726 times:

Ok, lot of good points here. But how/why is it that you still have other international airlines that (LH, EK, KE, SQ, etc. etc.) have dedicated cargo fleets? The big integrators like FedEX and UPS are not only big in the US, they've become big all over the world no? And not only FedEX and UPS, but you have DHL, and many others...

User currently offlineVV701 From United Kingdom, joined Aug 2005, 7737 posts, RR: 17
Reply 9, posted (2 years 8 months 2 weeks 4 days 20 hours ago) and read 2469 times:

Quoting tugger (Reply 1):
Why have a separate fleet of x number of aircraft when you have hundreds of daily flights that can take the cargo.

This should equally apply to all those non-American airlines that operate fleets of both passenger/freight aircraft and freighters. But they apparently handle more freight than the holds of their long haul aircraft passenger aircraft can carry.

Quoting threeifbyair (Reply 4):
Considering the size, reach, and efficiency of the FedEx and UPS networks, I don't think any passenger airline would bother trying to compete.

BA World Cargo does. It operates a fleet of 748Fs:


View Large View Medium
Click here for bigger photo!

Photo © Matt Kostelnick



to and from ATL, IAH and ORD in addition to many other cities around the world. Note that these three American airports are also served by BA passenger aircraft all with large freight holds,

In the USA BA feeds these three freighters and the holds of all of its passenger aircraft with freight carried to the gateway airports by truck. It assigns 'flight' numbers to these truck services. They operate from many non-gateway US airports. So, as an example BA9950 is a truck 'flight' from ABQ (d. 15:30 hrs) to DEN (a. 11:00 +1) to link with BA218, a DEN-LHR passenger flight.

In addition to ABQ these BA truck services operate from, alphabetically, AUS, BDL, BNA, CAE, CLE, CVG, DAY, DTW, ELP, FLL, FSD, GSO . . . and twenty-four other American airports not served by BA flights. These services all route to one of the nineteen US gateway airports served by BA passenger aircraft. So, effectively, BA has a freight presence at fifty-five American airports all feeding freight through LGW, LHR or STN to the UK and to destinations throughout the eastern hemisphere.

Nevertheless the BA freight operation, although substantial, in no way approaches that of the likes of FX or 5X.


User currently offlinefxramper From United States of America, joined Dec 2005, 7364 posts, RR: 85
Reply 10, posted (2 years 8 months 2 weeks 4 days 20 hours ago) and read 2467 times:
Support Airliners.net - become a First Class Member!

FX and 5X can do it quicker, cheaper and faster. We 3rd party ship all the time for other airlines and vice versa.

User currently offlineUps Pilot From United States of America, joined May 1999, 871 posts, RR: 3
Reply 11, posted (2 years 8 months 2 weeks ago) and read 2208 times:

Southwest doesn't fly out of the country. US Airways doesn't fly to Asia. Lufthansa and Cathay fly all over the world and are based in large cargo hubs. They also benefit from being able to fly intercontinental in Asia and Europe with less major competition than US Airlines have. Think about it UPS and Fed Ex either truck, fly or contract to every major city in the US. Both companies are huge and have plenty of aircraft and space available. When you have to compete against that it won't be profitable. UPS use to use passenger airliners before buying a dedicated fleet. People think Fedex invented the overnight air business but UPS was doing long before Fedex. Fedex was the first to use their own aircraft. once that happened it sealed the fate of dedicated cargo aircraft with the passenger carriers. UPS bought some of the American 747's during that time.

User currently offlinesancho99504 From United States of America, joined Dec 2005, 576 posts, RR: 0
Reply 12, posted (2 years 8 months 1 week 6 days 13 hours ago) and read 2101 times:

Someone with more knowledge on the situation can correct me if I'm wrong, but I do believe NW dedicated freighters were drawn down due to an expiring DOD contract or something of the sort. While I was working at ORD, we used to go down and get freight coming off the inbound NW freighter from ANC, anywhere between 10-17 main deck positions per flight......


kill 'em all and let God sort 'em out-USMC
User currently offlinemayor From United States of America, joined Mar 2008, 10655 posts, RR: 14
Reply 13, posted (2 years 8 months 1 week 6 days 6 hours ago) and read 1978 times:

Quoting sancho99504 (Reply 12):
Someone with more knowledge on the situation can correct me if I'm wrong, but I do believe NW dedicated freighters were drawn down due to an expiring DOD contract or something of the sort. While I was working at ORD, we used to go down and get freight coming off the inbound NW freighter from ANC, anywhere between 10-17 main deck positions per flight......

The way I understood it, NW's cargo contract was with DHL (that's about all that was left) and they lost that.


It seems the operation is still going strong at ORD, handling China Airlines cargo, etc. They had moved the entire operation over to NW's cargo building off of Irving Park Road, but they needed more space, so the started to use the original DL cargo building (where I used to work in the 70s) on Bessie Coleman Drive. Don't know if that is still going on or not.



"A committee is a group of the unprepared, appointed by the unwilling, to do the unnecessary"----Fred Allen
Top Of Page
Forum Index

This topic is archived and can not be replied to any more.

Printer friendly format

Similar topics:More similar topics...
Query About Being An F/A In The States. posted Mon Oct 26 2009 16:57:12 by Wexfordflyer
Abandoned Cargo Hubs In The OH / IN / KY Area posted Mon Nov 10 2008 12:24:02 by Flyf15
Question About A 737 BBJ In Calgary posted Sat May 31 2008 15:20:06 by Kevin
Question On Getting Bumped In The US. posted Thu Mar 13 2008 19:53:01 by Norcal773
Large Cargo Aircraft In The U.S. posted Sat Aug 18 2007 07:40:51 by RBMan
Question: Runway Overshoot ZRH In The 90's posted Thu Mar 8 2007 18:34:52 by SRforever
Foreign Cargo Carriers In The U.S. posted Thu Feb 1 2007 22:31:39 by ChiGB1973
Quick Question, How Many Airlines In The US? posted Mon May 15 2006 02:49:30 by Cadet57
Question About Aircraft Height In Google Earth posted Wed Feb 1 2006 06:12:37 by PIA777
Question About Bonus Miles On The Delta Shuttle posted Sat Dec 31 2005 02:06:51 by RJpieces