iPhone 5 deliveries around the world are big business for air cargo industry

Credit: Apple

The Guardian reports that delivery firms and airlines have been forced to charter extra planes, call off scheduled routes and cancel staff training during “Operation iPhone Drop”.

“Air cargo companies saw an increase in cargo volume tied to the launch of various smartphones and computer tablets, which favor shipment by air over other modalities,” the Federal Reserve said.

According to Martin Dixon of freight research firm Drewry, the delivery of the new iPhone has helped the air freight industry which has recently been affected by a collapse in prices.

“Only a few years ago smartphones weren’t around, now they make up a huge part of air freight goods,” he said. “Apple is very clever at how it manages its supply chain, and its ability to secure air freight capacity to launch new models is a key part of that strategy.”

Th publication also cites John Manners-Bell, chief executive of research firm Transport Intelligence, who said Apple’s demand for air cargo capacity was so extensive that it was “able to skew rates across a large proportion of the global air cargo market”.

He added that prices were boosted by 20% at the launch of the iPad 3 in March and said Apple was now “by far the biggest air cargo shipper in the world by some margin.”

“There is talk of airlines pulling scheduled routes to [have more planes free] to serve the Apple account,” he said.

The Guardian writes that 5m iPhone 5s were sold in the first three days after the launch, but due to complaints about scratches sales forecasts for Q4 of this year have been cut from 57m units to 49m.