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Cargo airlines (or airfreight carriers, and derivatives of these names) are airlines mainly dedicated to the transport of cargo by air. Some cargo airlines are divisions or subsidiaries of larger passenger airlines.
Air transport is a component of many international logistics networks, managing and controlling the flow of goods, energy, information and other resources like products, services, and people, from the source of production to the marketplace. Logistics involves the geographical repositioning of raw materials, work in process, and finished inventories.[unreliable source?]
Larger cargo airlines tend to use new or recently built aircraft to carry their freight. However, many still utilize older aircraft, including those no longer suited for passenger service, like the Boeing 707, Boeing 727, Douglas DC-8, DC-10, MD-11, Airbus A300, and the Ilyushin Il-76. Examples of the 60-year-old Douglas DC-3 are still flying around the world carrying cargo (as well as passengers). Short range turboprop airliners such as the An-12, An-26, Fokker Friendship, and British Aerospace ATP are being modified to accept standard air freight pallets to extend their working lives. This normally involves the replacement of glazed windows with opaque panels, the strengthening of the cabin floor and insertion of a broad top-hinged door in one side of the fuselage.
In the past, some cargo airlines would carry a few passengers from time to time on flights, and UPS Airlines once unsuccessfully tried a passenger charter airline division. However, cargo planes in the United States are forbidden from carrying non-employee passengers.
By freight tonne-kilometres flown (millions):
|4||Cathay Pacific Cargo||9,464|
|5||Korean Air Cargo||8,079|
|7||Singapore Airlines Cargo||6,019|
|8||Qatar Airways Cargo||5,997|
|10||China Airlines Cargo||5,266|
Some of the largest all-cargo carriers are:
The following are freight divisions of passenger airlines operating their own or leased freighter aircraft. Some have shut down or merged with others:
The following are freight divisions without freighter fleets, using passenger aircraft holds or having other cargo airlines fly on their behalf. Some of these previously had freighters:
These carriers operate freighter aircraft but do not have cargo divisions: