Avatar Airlines, a Florida-based start-up passenger and cargo airline brand due to begin flying in late 2021, is confident it will see demand from e-retailers seeking additional haulage capacity in response to an accelerated shift to online retail.
E-shopping has grown due to the Covid-19 pandemic, and the airline’s all-Boeing 747 fleet will be suitable for the task. The airline intends to start with four Boeing 747-400s, add eight more by the end of the first year of operations, and have purchased a total of 30 B747 aircraft by the end of its third year, following a planned IPO.
“The demand for shipping cargo was already sky-high before Covid-19, but the pandemic has put the squeeze on companies seeking cost-effective solutions to move their products quickly and efficiently from point to point,” said Barry Michaels, Avatar’s founder and CEO.
“Using the extra space of 747s will allow Avatar to offer very competitive commercial hauling rates, in addition to ultra-low passenger fares,” he added. Avatar plans to configure its B747s with 581 seats.
Before the Covid-19 crisis, global air cargo volumes were more than doubling annually, approaching US$5 trillion in value by 2021, according to IATA. Michaels says that those growth rates are expected to increase even faster, as e-commerce and online shopping continue to boost demand for parcel delivery services worldwide.
Michaels explained that e-commerce has created a logistics and economic dilemma for many suppliers and retailers. While consumers increasingly expect free shipping for their online purchases, and delivery within two days or even same-day, retailers need lower-cost transportation options from their logistics providers to continue to offer free shipping to their customers. As the lowered passenger demands resulting from the pandemic have driven major airlines towards flying smaller airplanes and eliminating many routes to save costs, retailers are losing air shipping options, he said.
“Airlines can provide fast, reliable, less expensive and more convenient hauling than other commercial transportation methods, such as trucking, shipping and railroads,” said Michaels.
“Avatar’s unique all-747 fleet will not only offer a roomy cabin for passengers, but considerably more cargo space to popular destinations. We’ll be able to accommodate the fast-growing shipping needs of e-commerce retailers and customers at a very attractive per-mile rate,” stated Michaels.