As I begin this journey into the past, present and future, I will attempt to take you on a trip that will give all of us some insight as to the airline industry and more specifically, the airline airfreight industry and??the air freighter.
While my research is incomplete at the present time concerning??the status of air freighters now and in the future,It is important to know the past if you want to see what the future holds.?? While air freighters have been around a long time, my first hand knowledge of them as well as actually??”working” them, began in the early 1960’s in Cincinnati, Ohio.?? I was employed as an agent and in small operations at the Cincinnati airport, agents did all the work.?? It served me well as a place to literally learn the airline business from the ground up.?? We were expected to know how to prepare the aircraft weight and balance forms, load and unload passengers and cargo, sell and collect the tickets, add fuel and oil, etc.?? And Oh yeah, lest I forget….prepare the dreaded AWB’s and prepare the cargo with the correct markings and identification.?? From day one, I can tell you I dreaded handling airfreight from any aspect, whether it was AWB preparation, carting the freight to plane side, load an/or unloading it.?? As you read this, remember in 1960 we did not have a computer……..it was all done on paper and by hand.
It is also important to remember that all the aircraft were hand loaded, there was no containerization of any kind at Eastern Airlines in Cincinnati and it would be years before it came when jets were introduced into the fleet.?? There was a very strict aircraft load priority and if memory serves, it was passengers, baggage, mail, freight, and company material.?? So, you can see, freight, even in the early years was not a must ride product.?? If you didn’t have time, freight just didn’t fly!