Postal services are facing capacity shortages as e-commerce demand soars, the IATA and the UPU have jointly warned.
Passenger flights have been reduced 95% but e-commerce demand has increased 30% as consumers and businesses make online purchases in response to social distancing measures during the COVID-19 outbreak.
The International Air Transport Association (IATA) and Universal Postal Union (UPU) are calling on governments to remove border blockages to ensure trade flows continue.
They are calling for avoiding unnecessary regulations and fast tracking the issuance of permits for chartered operations, and ensuring trained staff are available to process and clear the mail upon arrival.
The IATA and UPU are working to support the use of cargo flights in addition to commercial passenger flights by providing information on the airlines and cargo carrier status, available new routes and best practices.
Alexandre de Juniac, director general and CEO of IATA, said, “Airlines have been required to cut passenger services in the fight to stop the spread of COVID-19. So, it’s vital that everything is done to support the smooth movement of mail which is an important component of society.”
Bishar Hussein, director general of UPU, said, “The cancellation of more than 4.5 million passenger flights – the primary means of transporting post – has meant that capacity is scarce, costs more and takes longer. Action needs to be swiftly taken to address the shortfall in air cargo capacity and to keep the mail moving.”