In the midst of the chaos of COVID-19, and all the shutdowns and supply chain woes, United Airlines made a stellar performance in the first quarter of 2022. CEO Scott Kirby reported on his LinkedIn“ United is exiting the tunnel”, after 2 years of cutbacks and losses stemming from the pandemic.
It is reported that Sales from United improved 119%, from pre-pandemic levels, 26% better than a year ago. United has also reported it moved about 274 million pounds of freight, and 41 million pounds of medical supplies, including PPE.
The airline has alluded to its boost of revenue stemming from the chaos of supply chain disruptions with ocean shipping, including the bottleneck in Shanghai, which is still under lockdown. With mass cancellations to the world’s largest ports and a lot of cancellations of passenger and freighter flights, it’s expected that expedited air cargo will be in even higher demand once lockdowns are lifted.
More factors contributing to the success of UA have been increased airfreight rates, which are up 140% from 2019. Even more so, UA reports they have “capitalized on its strong relationships and service commitments with freight forwarders and heavy use of cargo-only passenger flights early in the crisis”, emerging them as a leader in the industry. To further its reach, UA will reinstate Boeing 777s over the next nine months, expanding its route and freight capacity tenfold. These large carriers were previously under construction and on the ground awaiting engine repairs.
While we do not know the immediate future of when supply chain disruptions will be mitigated, many are relying on Air Freight to help meet the growing demands, with United Airlines being at the forefront of hope.