Currently, air cargo operators continue to face many constraints, including limited market access under a large number of traditional, bilateral agreements, along with a regulatory regime focused mainly on passenger and combination services. They also contend with operational restrictions, such as night curfews, limited ground-handling rights, and burdensome customs requirements.
New opportunities for air cargo add to this need for regulatory reform. E-commerce is changing rapidly the retail landscape. Suppliers now seek faster, more reliable, and lower cost capabilities to deliver larger volumes of products to consumers. Within a relatively short time, remotely-piloted aircraft systems and unmanned aircraft systems will impact the supply chain in the form of the wide body aircraft connecting suppliers to package delivery to one's doorstep.
The supply chain evolves to meet manufacturer/producer needs—regulations must do the same.
Important characteristics of air cargo are its "one way" directional nature as well as the emergence of various truly global operators in the express delivery sector operating hubs in different countries. These characteristics make it more evident that the continuation of such restrictions hamper growth of the air cargo industry and its customer base in a globalized market.
Stakeholders urge recognition of the important role and distinct features of air cargo operations, as well as for more commercial freedom and business-oriented treatment. As recommended by Sixth Worlwide Air Transport Conference and endorsed by the 39th Assembly, ICAO has assumed a leadership role in the further liberalization of air cargo services.
ICAO is actively working on this topic through the Air Transport Regulation Panel (ATRP). The latest ATRP meeting (ATRP/14)—held in Montreal, Canada from 5 to 7 July 2017—there was agreement to draft a protocol on the multilateral agreement on market access liberalization covering air cargo services. The Panel has lent broad support to the development of a separate protocol for all-cargo services covering up 7th freedom rights and operational flexibility.
1. Doc 10075 Assembly Resolutions in Force: A39-15
2. Doc 10009, Report of the ATConf/6:
- Annex III Air Cargo Services- Appendix 5 Template Air Services Agreement (TASA)
- Annex III Air Cargo Services
- Appendix 5 Template Air Services Agreement (TASA)
3. Doc 9587, Policy and Guidance Material on the Economic Regulation of the Economic Regulation of International Air Transport
4. Doc 9626, Manual on the Regulation of International Air Transport: Chapter 4.5 Air Cargo