drdisque wrote:I know of one specific example of a route planning decision that is driven by Cargo in the US.
A lot of pharmaceuticals that have to be temperature controlled are produced in Puerto Rico. Because they have to be temperature controlled they can't fly as belly cargo in any narrowbody. UA flies a daily 764 on SJU-EWR in part to be able to serve this cargo market since the 764 can take a refrigerated cargo container.
That being said, if UA didn't think it could fill the 764 with pax reliably, it wouldn't be on the route. They wouldn't be flying around a half-full 764 just for the belly cargo.
I bet there are more routes. But a 763 could carry the container too... So defenately a bonus.
Cold transportation is very profitable. EK specialized in that for flowers to Europe and pharmaceuticals. But it required hundreds of millions in investment to set up. Once they were in place, no regional competitor will gain enough business to pay for the setup. But those cold warehouses are one reason UPS setup in Dubai. LH too.
The issue is that except for a few routes for P2P or to/from islands, only one cold hub can thrive in a region.