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The importance of air cargo and air cargo security for economies, population and value chains

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New international and national safety regulations for air freight are affecting the profitability of exporting and importing firms as well as companies involved in air freight. Adjustments to these regulations are creating a considerable burden on firms depending on air transportation and are resulting in changes in the air cargo industry itself. Many experts doubt the effectiveness of these regulations and point towards distortions in the flow of cargo because of different compliance standards, which may ultimately lead to job losses in countries with high regulatory compliance. Based on this discussion, this article highlights the social and economic importance of air freight, explains the operation of air freight supply chains and shows approaches that contribute to efficient air freight security from this perspective.
Why air cargo is important for domestic jobs and economic development - the case of Switzerland
The Chair of Logistics Management at the University of St.
Gallen conducted a study in 2010 on air freight in Switzerland.
The study is based on data from 217 shippers and logistics service providers in Switzerland, representing 9,25% of the total Swiss exports and 25% of the Swiss air freight exports by value. The study shows that air freight is an integral part of
Swiss value chains. For 70% of the companies the handling of air freight at Swiss airports is a prerequisite for successful daily business. Air freight links Switzerland with international supply chains and secures access to foreign markets. This applies to both large corporations and regionally based small and medium-sized enterprises.
One-third of exports by value leaves Switzerland by air and one-sixth of all imports by value reaches Switzerland by air.
A total of 61% of the senders and 44% of the recipients of air freight expect a substantial increase in their use of Swiss airports until 2030. A characteristic of air freight in Switzerland is that it is transported almost exclusively in the cargo holds of passenger aircraft. Most intercontinental flights to and from
Switzerland would not operate above cost without the cargo’s revenue contribution. The range of passenger flights at Swiss
airports thus depends directly on the cargo flown in and out of Switzerland. Swiss businesses estimate that the current high quality of air cargo in Switzerland secures over 200 000 highly-skilled jobs in industry, commerce and logistics. (...)

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