African air transport in the 21st century: A case study of the contrasting experience of Nigeria and Kenya

By Oladele Samson Fatokun, Cranfield University School of Engineering

The African air transport industry progresses at different speeds in the highly heterogeneous Sub-Sahara African region. While on one hand countries such as South Africa, Mauritius, Kenya and Ethiopia have been relatively successful in their air transport experience, on the other hand many countries such as Nigeria have been less successful in the establishment of a strong and viable air transport industry.

This research benchmarked the Nigerian experience with that of Kenya in order to evaluate the Nigerian air transport industry and at the same time identify in the Kenyan experience best practices and success factors that could make Nigeria a relatively successful nation in air transportation of passenger and cargo. Various policies and results in the areas of air transport administration, air cargo transportation, air transportation of passengers, airport management and airline strategic management were benchmarked.

This thesis found that Kenya was more successful than Nigeria in the area of international passenger generation, air cargo transportation and air transport administration. Success factors and best practices in the Kenya experience responsible for the performance gap in the air transport experience of the two countries were also identified.

The research analysed in details the applicability of those factors to the Nigerian environment and it found that their applicability will encounter some constraints. The thesis gives an insight into the adjustments that can be made by Nigeria air transport stakeholders for the country to apply the identified success factors and best practices and become a relatively successful air transport nation.

Enabling Global Trade Above the Clouds: Restructuring Processes and Information Technology in the Transatlantic Air Cargo Industry

Guido Schwarz – Clark University, Graduate School of Geography, MA, USA

Neither conventional economic geography nor transport geography has paid sufficient attention to the restructuring of the logistics industry. As anecdotal evidence mounts in the business literature about revolutionary changes taking place in the distributive sectors of the economy, more analysis from a geographic perspective is needed. Among transport modes, air cargo is unique because it is one of the backbones of global trade for many commodities. This paper analyzes the transformations affecting the transatlantic (U.S. – Europe) air cargo market, focusing on the changing roles of the industry’s different types of firms in performing the functions necessary for the transportation of goods by air and processing associated information. The importance of information handling, processing and transmittal has been amplified relative to transportation functions, redefining the interrelationship between the physical space of goods flows and the virtual space of information flows. As a result, functional integration and consolidation have become the dominant processes for future industry development, leading to market concentration and the emergence of growing cargo hub airports.

Air Cargo Foreign Ownership Restrictions in the United States

By Christopher Furlan, University of Miami School of Law

Federal statutes require air carriers, including cargo carriers, seeking operating certifications to be “owned or controlled” by citizens of the U.S. This requirement is enforced by Department of Transportation (DOT) fitness reviews on applicant airlines to ensure they meet the “citizenship” definition as defined in 49 U.S.C. §41102. The purpose of this paper is to address the current state of foreign ownership and control restrictions in the U.S. air cargo industry including; significant legislation and administrative case law, the benefits of removing these restrictions, and the direction the regulatory environment.


The first section of the paper discusses significant legislative acts affecting ownership and control. The legislation discussed includes the Air Commerce Act of 1926, the Civil Aeronautics Act of 1938, the Federal Aviation Act of 1958, and the law as it reads currently in amended form. The second section analyzes U.S. administrative agency interpretation of these laws. This section analyzes how the DOT interprets the law through major cases including, most recently, The Matter of Citizenship of DHL Airways. The third section analyzes current political initiatives shaping ownership and control including recent efforts to liberalize this area of law. The fourth section discusses expected benefits expected to accrue to the industry should ownership restrictions be eliminated. Finishing off the paper is a brief discussion of recommendations for continuing with the liberalization process. I hope this paper provides the reader with insight into a segment of the certification process, in addition to a greater understanding for the need to change the legal regime that places outdated restrictions on it.

Current and Emerging Air Cargo Security and Facilitation Issues

Maria Buzdugan – McGill University, Montreal – Institute of Air and Space Law

In the wake of September 11th and following an overemphasis on passenger air travel security, the air cargo system potentially has become the primary target for terrorists. States have undertaken various regulatory approaches that involve technology and operational measures aimed at addressing the perceived security threats in the air cargo industry. This thesis presents both an overview of the potential risks and best security practices identified within several international, regional and national initiatives, including the “authorized economic operator” and “secure supply chain” mechanisms. The main challenge in designing an adequate security system appears to be ensuring that security improvements are in accord with the time-sensitive realities of air cargo industry and do not unduly interfere with trade flow. It is argued that only an international approach based on best available cargo security practices could adequately and efficiently address the current and emerging air cargo security vulnerabilities.

Air Cargo Density Research

By Van de Reyd & Wouters

An ongoing discussion exists in the air cargo industry on the densities of the commodities. It is heard throughout this industry that the voluminous cargo is getting more and more important. However, all pricing is done strictly on weight1. For voluminous cargo, this volume is then converted by a standard factor of 166.67 kg/m3 (1 metric ton divided by 6 cubic meter – the “1/6 rule”) to the so-called chargeable weight, and if this chargeable weight is larger than the actual weight, all pricing is done using this chargeable weight. It is the goal of this project to determine if the actual densities more or less correlate with the currently used conversion factor. However, to give a full analysis, historical data would be necessary. Since this data mostly unavailable during the course of this study, the results only provide a current status of the densities.

The results both for commodity analysis indicate the current real-life standard density of the year 2004 densities is extremely category dependant. The major commodity categories range from a density of 135 kg/m3 for live animals to 495 kg/m3 for metal products, with a wide variation of categories in between these two extremes. However, the most categories, eighteen out of twenty-five to be precise, are situated in the broad 150-250 kg/m3 region. From the above it should be clear that a large variation exists between commodity categories and extrapolating a general rule, such as a 1/5 or 1/6 density rule (1 ton equals 5 or 6 m3) is almost impossible. However, if the conclusion would be based on the statistical parameters of the entire database, a reasonable estimate would be 185 – 200 kg/m3, based solely on the commodity analysis.

The second part of this report, dedicated to ULD and aircraft analysis gives another perspective on densities. The analysis whole pallets and containers, each consisting of many different shipments (mostly different commodities on one pallet), indicate the differences between the most frequently occurring ULD’s (PAG, AKE and PMC) are negligible with densities clearly in the 190-200 kg/m3 region. There seems to be one exception, namely the difference between lower deck loaded ULD’s and main deck ULD’s: main deck ULD’s have a much lower density in the order of 160 kg/m3, insinuating the less importance to stack shipments as dense as on the lower deck. The aircraft subpart could only be done of a limited number of full freighter aircraft. From the results, full freighters are mostly volume restricted. The volume usage amounts to 85%, while only 70% of the maximum weight capacity is used.

There are a couple important recommendations, namely the use of historic data and the fact that periodic follow up research projects could provide a true trend analysis. Also from the results, it could be viable to use different density rules for different density classes of commodities. Also a sample test for the pallet build-up efficiency compared with the water volumes of the pallets could provide more insight into the true densities of pallets. Finally a prediction factor on cargo level to determine which aircraft fits best on each route could also be very interesting.

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