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      Cargo Airlines

      The air cargo industry has shown surprising strength in early 2024, with demand growing for two consecutive months at a rate of 11% year-over-year. This growth, fueled by e-commerce and disruptions in sea freight, has defied typical seasonal trends and outpaced global trade and production figures. While industry-wide capacity has also increased, yields have declined despite rising jet fuel prices. This unexpected surge in demand sets the stage for an interesting year in air cargo, with potential shifts in market dynamics as airlines adjust capacity and pricing strategies.

      In light of these developments, let's delve into the key players shaping the global air cargo landscape. Here's a look at some of the world's largest cargo airlines, their specialties, and their contributions to this thriving industry.

      If you are a shipper looking for a freight forwarder to send your goods via air freight, you can request multiple quotes here.

      FedEx Express

      Renowned for its express delivery services and extensive global network, FedEx Express utilizes a fleet of over 650 aircraft, making it one of the world's largest cargo airlines. They specialize in time-sensitive shipments and offer a wide range of services, including door-to-door delivery, customs brokerage, and supply chain solutions.

      Website: FedEx Express

      2022 Freight Tonne Kilometers (FTK): 19.55 thousand

      UPS Airlines

      As the cargo airline division of UPS, they operate a vast network spanning over 220 countries and territories. UPS Airlines is known for its reliable and efficient delivery services, with a focus on next-day air and international shipping. They also offer specialized solutions for healthcare, high-tech, and other industries, including temperature-controlled transportation and supply chain management.

      Website: UPS Airlines

      2022 FTK: 15.89 thousand

      Qatar Airways Cargo

      This rapidly growing airline has emerged as a major player in the global air cargo market. They are recognized for their state-of-the-art facilities, including a dedicated pharma terminal in Doha, making them a leader in the transportation of pharmaceuticals and other temperature-sensitive goods. Additionally, they offer specialized solutions for livestock transportation and provide a wide range of cargo services to over 150 destinations worldwide.

      Website: Qatar Airways Cargo

      2022 FTK: 14.27 thousand

      Emirates SkyCargo

      Known for their extensive network and modern fleet of wide-body aircraft, Emirates SkyCargo specializes in transporting a wide range of cargo, including perishables, pharmaceuticals, and high-value goods. They have a strong focus on innovation and customer service, offering customized solutions to meet the unique needs of their clients, such as specialized packaging and handling for sensitive cargo.

      Website: Emirates SkyCargo

      2022 FTK: 10.15 thousand

      Korean Air Cargo

      With a comprehensive network covering major cities in Asia, Europe, and the Americas, Korean Air Cargo offers reliable and efficient cargo services for a wide range of commodities. They have a particular expertise in transporting live animals, perishables, and dangerous goods, with dedicated facilities and trained personnel to ensure safe and compliant handling.

      Website: Korean Air Cargo

      2022 FTK: 9.52 thousand

      Atlas Air

      A leading provider of global airfreight solutions, Atlas Air operates a diverse fleet of Boeing aircraft, including the 747 and 777 freighters. They specialize in ACMI (aircraft, crew, maintenance, and insurance) and CMI (crew, maintenance, and insurance) leasing, as well as charter services for airlines, express operators, and freight forwarders. Their expertise lies in transporting a wide range of cargo, from general merchandise to oversized and project cargo.

      Website: Atlas Air

      2022 FTK: 8.67 thousand

      Polar Air Cargo

      A subsidiary of Atlas Air Worldwide Holdings, Polar Air Cargo specializes in scheduled and charter air cargo services, with a strong focus on transpacific routes between Asia and North America. They operate a fleet of Boeing 747 and 767 freighters, transporting a variety of cargo, including perishables, electronics, and automotive parts. Their expertise lies in managing complex supply chains and providing reliable transportation solutions.

      Website: Polar Air Cargo

      DHL Aviation

      A division of DHL Express, DHL Aviation operates a vast global network of cargo airlines, including European Air Transport Leipzig, AeroLogic, and others. They are known for their express delivery services and expertise in handling time-sensitive shipments, such as documents, parcels, and lightweight freight. They offer door-to-door delivery, customs clearance, and supply chain management solutions.

      Website: DHL Aviation

      China Cargo Airlines

      A major Chinese airline based in Shanghai, China Cargo Airlines operates a fleet of Boeing and Airbus freighters. They primarily focus on domestic and regional cargo transportation within Asia, offering a wide range of services, including general cargo, express cargo, and e-commerce logistics. They have a strong network of destinations in China and other Asian countries, providing efficient and reliable cargo transportation solutions.

      Website: China Cargo Airlines

      Etihad Cargo

      The cargo division of Etihad Airways, Etihad Cargo offers cargo services to a global network of destinations. They have a focus on transporting pharmaceuticals, perishables, and other specialized cargo, such as live animals and dangerous goods. They offer a range of customized solutions, including temperature-controlled transportation, specialized packaging, and priority handling.

      Website: Etihad Cargo

      Turkish Cargo

      The cargo division of Turkish Airlines, Turkish Cargo has rapidly expanded its network and services in recent years, becoming a major player in the global air cargo market. They operate a large fleet of freighters and offer a wide range of cargo services, including general cargo, perishables, pharmaceuticals, and express cargo. They have a strong focus on connecting Europe, Asia, and Africa, leveraging their hub in Istanbul.

      Website: Turkish Cargo

      2022 FTK: 8.32 thousand

      SF Airlines

      A Chinese express cargo airline, SF Airlines is a subsidiary of SF Express, a leading express delivery company in China. They operate a growing fleet of Boeing freighters and focus on domestic and international express cargo services. They have a strong network within China and are expanding their international reach, providing efficient and reliable express delivery solutions.

      Website: SF Airlines

      ANA Cargo

      The cargo division of All Nippon Airways (ANA), ANA Cargo offers cargo services to a global network of destinations. They are known for their reliable and efficient services, particularly in the Japanese market. They offer a range of cargo services, including general cargo, perishables, pharmaceuticals, and valuables, with a focus on providing customized solutions for their customers.

      Website: ANA Cargo


      Luxembourg-based, Cargolux is renowned for its expertise in transporting specialized cargo, including oversized, heavy, and out-of-gauge shipments. They operate a fleet of Boeing 747 freighters and offer a range of services, including charter flights, project cargo logistics, and door-to-door delivery solutions. They have a strong reputation for safety and reliability in the transportation of complex and challenging cargo.

      WATS - World Air Transport Statistics

      You can find much more data on Cargo Airlines in IATA's World Air Transport Statistics database (WATS).
      Watts has been the most trusted statistical resource covering the aviation industry. It includes data from over 250 airlines that are exclusive to IATA. Now, Watts Digital is introduced as a user-friendly tool that transforms Watts data into a digital format using the capabilities of Power BI. With Watts Digital, you can dig deep into the data to get a clear picture of industry trends, isolate key metrics to discover essential patterns, and gain the perspective you need to make clear and confident choices for your organization. Watts Digital also makes it easy to analyze the statistics, build reports, and communicate your findings to key stakeholders. A yearly subscription gives you unlimited access to this data and empowers you and your team with valuable data-backed insights.

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