Issue No. 805

Air Cargo Emerges From Shadows as Pandemic Lifeline

One of the Least Glamorous Parts of the Industry Proves its Worth

Pushing Back: Inside This Issue

Cargo gets its place in the sun. One of the more interesting storylines of the Covid-19 pandemic's effect on aviation has been the emergence of freight as a lifeline for industry. Some carriers are tipping into profits on the strength of cargo, and seemingly every carrier is expanding its cargo operation (and in fact, Mesa is adding more freighters — see Weekly Skies). But while it's a lifeline, cargo isn't a savior. We take a look in this week's Feature Story.

Elsewhere in this issue, lessors are confident that more airlines will lease their fleets, rather than own them, as the pandemic recedes. Lufthansa bids so long, farewell, auf wiedersehen, goodbye to its Airbus A380s (and several other aircraft), and Azul reported an 11 percent fourth-quarter margin. Yup, a positive operating margin. Imagine that.

The Airline Weekly Lounge Podcast

New episodes drop every Thursday and are available wherever you get your podcasts and on In the latest podcast, Edward "Ned" Russell and Madhu Unnikrishnan talk about all things cargo, why United is buying Maxes and taking the bus, and what's going on in Australia. Listen to the episode.


"No airline ever went out of business for having too few airplanes, but plenty of them go out of business for having too many"

AerCap CEO Aengus Kelly

Weekly Skies

Lufthansa Group has joined the growing list of airlines retiring the superjumbo jets in favor of smaller, more efficient models as the industry shifts to recovering from the coronavirus pandemic.

Routes and Networks

Delta Air Lines is cutting its number of destinations it considers "focus cities," amid coronavirus pandemic changes to its network.


United Airlines committed another 25 Boeing 737 Max jets in an order unveiled last week. The additional aircraft will arrive in 2023 and bring the Chicago-based carrier's firm commitments for the Max to 210 aircraft, including the 22 it flew at the end of December.

State of the Unions

WestJet and its flight attendants union have reached a tentative deal, ending almost two years of negotiations. CUPE, which represents WestJet’s 3,100 cabin crew employees, called the deal “remarkable,” and said a ratification vote will occur this month. “Though both…

Feature Story

It’s cargo’s moment to shine. A part of the airline industry most people overlook has shown just how critical it is to the industry’s bottom line when passenger traffic collapses.