Report on activity and sustainable development 2020

Cargo and freight: Combining resilience with innovation

Chapter 2. Anticipate

Cargo and freight: Combining resilience with innovation


From air bridges with Asia to fly in face masks and medical supplies, to carrying essential products for consumers and manufacturers, airfreight showed a remarkable level of resilience and agility as passenger traffic collapsed.

Édouard Mathieu, 

Paris-Charles de Gaulle Airport 
Development Director

The crisis has highlighted the crucial role of cargo, not only in ensuring the financial balance of air transport in general and Paris-Charles de Gaulle Airport in particular, but also its role in the supply of medical and other essential products. All the actors in the logistics chain, but particularly the airlines, have pulled out all the stops to continue offering air cargo services and meet the high demand for freight forwarding.


Cargo City at Paris-Charles de Gaulle was Europe’s leading cargo airport in 2020, and adapted its procedures and capacities to cope with what were exceptional and unprecedented circumstances. In addition to traditional freight volumes, some segments of which – medical and pharmaceutical products,
e-commerce, etc. – saw dynamic growth, airfreight quickly embraced the new health restrictions and adjusted its organisational structure to ensure continuous flows of goods. Every actor in the logistics chain was involved, beginning with ten airlines which quickly introduced ferry flights with completely full cargo holds, and in some cases the aircraft cabins normally occupied by passengers. Also during the year, the latest Groupe ADP “Play your Airport” innovation challenge to develop solutions for tomorrow’s air cargo industry attracted around 40 innovative projects, one of which has been progressed to the Proof of Concept stage with startup company OROK, one of the winners. Its solution is designed to deliver automated management of the ramp vehicles used to transport cargo pallets onto the tarmac.

The committed involvement of every actor in the logistics chain made it possible to ensure continuity of service at Paris-Charles de Gaulle Airport, Europe’s leading cargo platform in 2020.