Singapore Airlines Cargo will ground one of its Boeing 747 freighters next month until May 2014, according to media reports, leaving 11 freighters in the airline's fleet.
Last December, the airline also placed a freighter in storage until 2014.
A statement by SIA Cargo's president, Tan Kai Ping, blames the decision on the current weakness in the air cargo market resulting from over-capacity and the high price of fuel. He also left the door open for future freighter adjustments, saying the airline will "continue to monitor market conditions closely."
In April, Singapore Cargo saw a 4.5-percent, year-over-year drop in activity and a 4.8-percent reduction in capacity. System-wide, load factor was up 0.2 points, but most regions saw declines in load factor, saved only by a 5.9-point increase in Europe. March tonnage dropped 1.7 percent, year over year, as capacity declined 5 percent. In fact, the last month with positive freight activity was January, during which SIA turned in a 3-percent cargo tonnage improvement.
When SIA parked its first freighter, Brandon Fried of the Air Forwarders Association told American Shipper
that freighters are somewhat falling out of favor in the cargo game. They cost more to operate than passenger planes, which transport belly-hold cargo, and because of this, large passenger planes are starting to replace smaller freighters.
“You’ve got the advent of the 777s and soon to come, the A350. These planes have very cavernous bellies,” Fried said at the time. “That’s not negating the need for freighters, but it’s certainly forcing a lot of airlines to question their need to fly them.” - Jon Ross