April 27 , 2017

The development of specialised cargo-flying aircrafts with the growth of the air cargo industry

Philip Orin Parmelee, an American aviation pioneer and an associate of the Wright brothers, flew the first cargo flight on November 7, 1910, between Dayton and Columbus in the US. Parmelee ferried 200 pounds of silk for a new store scheduled to open in Columbus, covering the 105km distance in less than an hour. He could not have foreseen the dramatic growth of the industry that he pioneered.

The faster times offered by air freighting opened up colossal commercial possibilities. Air freight volumes rose rapidly from low levels of 26,000 million ton-kms in 1985 to touch 188,000 million tons-km in 2015. In 2015, airlines transported 52.2 million metric tonnes of goods, accounting for about a third of global trade by value, says IATA. This works out to $15.3 billion worth of goods flying high every day.

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