DOMESTIC AIR FREIGHT HISTORY

People often ask the question, what is air freight and what types of goods move by air? World-wide air freight amounts to approx. 18% of all air traffic revenue generated .. Air freight accounts for approx. 2% of all cargo transported worldwide, yet more than 25% of total freight value generated.

Air freight was first uplifted on the 7th of November 1910, the air cargo was silk and it was carried between Daytona and Columbus Ohio. In 1911 mail was first transported as air cargo and air mail was transported officially in 1912 in the USA and Germany, by 1925 air mail was moved all over the USA. About this time the US postal service introduced contracts to carry mail by air cargo on certain US routes. In the early 1930’s 85% of airline revenue in the USA was generated by air mail contracts. It is said that if not for the US Postal Service and their airmail contracts US commercial aviation would have slowed drastically.

World WAR II was when air freight really started growing all sorts of commodities started to move , heavy air freight and bulky shipments were uplifted for the first time during World War II

The first door to door air express courier service was in the early 1970’s (in the USA) and was performed by Federal Express and its founder Fred Smith (DHL commenced in 1969,DHL was founded by founded by Hillblom and Lynn) the author of this article is unable to establish exactly when DHL commenced express courier and air freight operations. Federal Express grew rapidly through to 1970’under the guidance of Fred Smith who was known to be a dynamic leader and Entrepreneur, Federal Express to this day is known as a World-Wide leader in the international air courier market.

Early in 1972 Lufthansa flew the first Boeing 747 Freighter service between Frankfurt and New York carrying 80 tons of air cargo.

In Australia the first true air express courier company was Wards Express, founded by Sid Ward and others. Wards Express service started from a garage in Mascot, Sydney. Originally as an agent for Australia Airline TAA, Wards Express delivered parcels around Sydney.In the mid 70’s Wards started to consolidate air freight and transferred their Head Office to Adelaide. Wards Express grew quickly and in the 80’s they started to use their own cargo aircraft (Lear Jets and various other aircraft )  for overnight air freight line-haul to some destinations in Northern Queensland.

In 1978 Skyroad Express was founded in Adelaide (quote “with $12,000.00 and two drums and an old door as a desk, I was incapable of handling debt”), by Peter Macor. Skyroad was to become one of the Australia’s largest and most profitable transportation  companies.

Sid Ward sold Wards Express not long after Skyroad was established, at about the same time other Air Express companies commenced operations including Jetspress Air Couriers, TNT Air, Security Express, Multigroup (as they were known then) Kwikasair, Comet Air Express  express and probably the largest of all Ansett Air Freight ( 50% owned by TNT) . MORE TO FOLLOW  THIS PAGE IS UNDER CONSTRUCTION