The International Air Transport Association (Iata) and the Universal Postal Union (UPU) have jointly highlighted that current air capacity for post and parcels was inadequate. They called on governments around the world to act to enable the despatch of mail by air.
Because of the severe travel and flight restrictions as well as national lockdowns imposed by many governments to try and contain the Covid-19 pandemic, passenger flights have registered a 95% fall. Mail was usually carried on these flights.
On the other hand, e-commerce demand had jumped 25% to 30%, as individuals and businesses turned to online buying, in response to social or physical distancing requirements. This was posing a challenge to postal administrations around the world, particularly regarding international and especially intercontinental mail.
“Airlines have been required to cut passenger services in the fight to stop the spread of Covid-19,” pointed out Iata director-general and CEO Alexandre de Juniac. “So, it’s vital that everything is done to support smooth movement of mail which is an important component of society.”
“Posts are trusted partners in the delivery of goods, vital medical supplies and essential information on the pandemic,” highlighted UPU director-general Bishar Hussein. “The cancellation of more than 4.5-million passenger flights – the primary means of transporting post – has meant that capacity is scarce, costs more and takes longer. Action needs to be swiftly taken to address the shortfall in air cargo capacity and to keep the mail moving.”
As a consequence, Iata and the UPU urged governments to avoid unnecessary regulations, expedite the issuance of charter flight permits, and lift border restrictions. They also called for the authorities to ensure properly trained personnel were ready to process and clear the mail.
The two associations were also working together to facilitate the use of cargo flights to carry mail. Iata is the representative body of the global airline industry, with about 290 member airlines, representing 82% of global air traffic. The UPU is a specialised agency of the United Nations, focused on encouraging and maintaining cooperation and coordination among the national post offices of its 192 member countries.