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Boeing’s grounding of its entire 737 MAX 8 fleet, following two recent tragedies involving the plane, could have some impact on air freight volumes.

The effect on air cargo is not likely to be huge, as the model is used primarily by passenger airlines. However, a proportion of commercial air freight is carried by passenger flights, the volume of which depends from flight to flight on passenger volume and the commercial demand for the kind of space that can be used.

According to Freight Waves, impact is likely to be minimal outside a few niche markets, while others have suggested that the kinds of smaller goods typically transported on MAX 8s could face some delays. Others still have reported boosted cargo capacity along some routes; for example, Air Canada is using replacement 777-300ERs that happen to have more room for cargo than the MAX 8s.

Following the disasters, Boeing is under close scrutiny over whether sufficient safety checks were made during the development and rollout of its new 737 MAX 8 jets.

Ethiopian Airlines flight ET 302 crashed shortly after take-off on 10th March, killing all 157 staff and passengers on board.

This followed a Lion Air crash in October—using the same model of plane—that claimed 189 lives near Jakarta, Indonesia.

Boeing made the decision to ground all MAX 8s globally after several individual airlines and countries around the world, including China and the UK, had already done so pending investigations.

Header image: Nathan Nelson

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