Symposium to Focus on Strengthening World Air Cargo Sector

A DHL freighter aircraft loading air cargo
Curimedia, CC BY 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons

LONDON – With global air cargo tracking well in the post-pandemic recovery period, the International Air Transport Association (IATA) will hold the IATA World Cargo Symposium (WCS) next month.

The symposium, to be held in London in late September, will primarily focus on further building resilience in order to strengthen the global air cargo sector’s post-pandemic prospects.

Air cargo in the pandemic era

Like many other aviation sectors, COVID-19 tested the resilience of the air cargo business. However, there was a criticality and also a buoyancy to the air cargo market which not only saw it weather challenging conditions, but also proved an economic lifesaver to many airline operators.

Air cargo delivered critical medical supplies and vaccines across the globe and kept international supply chains open. And for many airlines, as passenger numbers plummeted, air cargo was a crucial source of revenue.

IATA observe that in 2021, air cargo revenues reached a record $204 billion, which was more than double compared to 2019. Significantly, air cargo operations accounted for some 40% of total airline revenues in 2021.

“Air cargo proved its resilience during the pandemic, and it is emerging stronger. The challenge now is to retain the momentum achieved in digitalization and other customer-centric efficiency gains.”

“There is good reason to be optimistic. Air cargo is maintaining its strength even as economic and geo-political uncertainty grows.”

“And this year’s WCS will focus on how the industry can capitalize on this resilience to build an even more promising and sustainable future for global air cargo,” said Brendan Sullivan, IATA’s Global Head of Cargo.

WCS London event 27-19 September

IATA’s Brendan Sullivan, and David Shepherd, Managing Director, IAG Cargo will be amongst those speaking at the event, which is taking place in London, UK, from 27 to 29 September. Other speakers include:

  • Marie Owens Thomsen, IATA Chief Economist
  • Dorothea Von Boxberg CEO of Lufthansa Cargo
  • Turhan Ozen, Chief Cargo Officer at Turkish Cargo

Session tracks will cover several key aspects of resilience:

  • Digitalization
  • Sustainability
  • Air cargo safety
  • Attracting and retaining talent
  • E-commerce
  • Air cargo market dynamics
  • Digital distribution and booking
  • Digital Cargo and ONE Record


Last year’s WCS event was held in Dublin, and it paid tribute to the innovation of the air cargo sector through the pandemic – the role modification of line aircraft to take up the vital role of cargo carriage.

The resilience of the air cargo sector was acknowledged, and perhaps with this ‘trial by fire’ through a time of global crisis. With world air cargo tracking well generally in the recovery period, this year’s WCS looks set to build on hard lessons learned; to further strengthen the readiness and capability of the sector.

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