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A challenging time for air cargo

By Hpanchal on September 27, 2011

I feel like I write this almost every issue — or at least think about writing it — but last month was a crazy month for the air cargo industry.

Most of the craziness, of course, centered around Boeing. Our associate editor, Keri Forsythe, was all set to fly out to Seattle on September 19 for the delivery of the first 747-8F to Cargolux, when the manufacturer scrapped the ceremony. Cargolux, it turned out, would not be accepting the plane, and it has been said that officials might start looking around for alternative options. Boeing’s Dreamliner was due to be handed over to All Nippon Airways on September 28, and as of this writing, everything was still on schedule.

Jon Ross

Jon Ross

Even though yet another delay in the freighter delivery is certainly a big hiccup, Boeing officials also announced a new engine variant on its 737s and have started promoting the B737 MAX line of planes. Officials stated that the new engines will make the planes more fuel efficient; talk about Boeing’s fuel efficiency compared to the new Airbus planes permeated the Paris Air Show this summer.

Speaking of fuel efficiency, October is shaping up to be an interesting month on that front. The European High Court is set to issue a preliminary ruling sometime in the next 30 days regarding a claim by U.S. carriers that when the EU’s emissions trading scheme ventured into aviation territory, it became illegal.

Representatives of these carriers are livid that instead of working for climate change through the ICAO, the European Commission has decided to take things into their own very wide-reaching hands. In addition to the preliminary ruling, debate on the floor of the U.S. Congress, where members of the House have introduced a bill barring U.S. carriers from participating in the EU ETS, is likely to heat up.

I don’t think I’m going out on a limb when I write that most people in the air cargo industry wholly reject the idea of an emissions cap regulated by the European Union. I’ve even heard some people in the industry call this a money-grab by the Europeans.

Representatives from the EU have said their new policy is set in stone, so it’s not clear what foreign carriers and aviation organizations can do to try to lessen what they see as a crushing blow. In this month’s cover story, we’ve explored the issue from both sides, viewing the controversy from an arm’s length.

I’m sure the features this month will generate plenty of comments. Please let me know what you think about these complicated issues by leaving your thoughts on our Facebook page or sending an email to jon.ross@aircargoworld.com. If you’d like to protest against the changes in the industry by invoking two bygone forms of communication, type-written letters can be mailed to the address found on the Contact page.

— Jon Ross is the editor of Air Cargo World.

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