DHL signed up for three Boeing 767-300 aircraft to be converted to freighters, including an extra fourth aircraft as an option, the company that will partake the conversions, Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI), announced on June 22, 2020.
The deal, which IAI indicated is “valued at tens of millions of dollars” comes at a time when the demand for cargo is ever-increasing, stated the Tel Aviv-based company. In total, DHL will receive three converted passenger-to-freighter converted aircraft, including one option, if the German company wishes to exercise it.
As of June 22, 2020, DHL owns 11 Boeing 767 freighters, 10 of which were converted from passenger aircraft, planespotters.net data shows.
While IAI stated that the demand for air cargo is on the rise, the International Air Transport Association (IATA) data showcases otherwise. The association’s latest numbers indicated that demand, measured in Cargo Ton Kilometers (CTK) fell by 27.7% in April 2020, compared to the same month in 2019. Despite the bleak number, capacity in the freight sector, measured in available Cargo Ton Kilometers (ACTK), dropped by 42%, meaning there is a gap of capacity for air freight.
At the same time, cargo companies like DHL have the advantage, as they operate freighters only. As passenger airlines grounded their aircraft and took away as much as 75% of belly cargo capacity in April 2020, this allowed freighter operators to push up their rates. IATA expects that the price for transferring cargo will increase as much as 30% for the year when compared to 2019.