Cargo the savior of the commercial airline industry

Sponsored by
Pacific Southwest Region University Transportation Center (PSR USDOT UTC)
UC ITS Statewide Transportation Research Program (STRP)
University of California Institute of Transportation Studies' Resilient and Innovative Mobility Initiative (RIMI)
ITS Graduate Student Association
02/18/2022 09:00–10:30
Zoom meeting -
Charles H.W. Edwards
Charles H.W. Edwards
Professor of the Practice, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
Vice President, Strategic Aviation Solutions International (SASI)

The carriage of cargo (mail and freight) was the initial focus of the fledgling commercial airline industry from the 1920s onwards. Carrying passengers emerged as the basis for airline operations in the 1930s in both Europe and North America. The COVID pandemic has decimated passenger traffic around the world. Airlines have returned to their origins to remain in business by carrying cargo in all-cargo freighters, in 'preighters' and in the belly holds of un-converted passenger planes. The presentation will examine the changes in the air cargo industry since the 1970s when the likes of FedEx disrupted the industry through the different stages and challenges which have culminated in the dominance of cargo in the international commercial aviation.

Mr. Edwards has over 50 years in the transportation, distribution, and logistics industry. He began his career as a truck driver in Toronto. Since then, he has worked in international freight forwarding in Canada and the UAE, numerous sectors of the airline industry, aviation design and manufacturing in Germany and the United States, ocean freight, rail management, economic development, and education. His career which has taken around the world has given him a deep appreciation of different cultures and business structures.

Charles Edwards joined Strategic Aviation Solutions International (SASI) in 2020 to focus on Learning and Development programs. SASI is engaged in global consulting and management services for airlines, airports, international trade organizations, and financial institutions. He is a member of the team which created and delivers the Safe Supply Chain course for the International Civil Aviation Organization, is project lead for the United Nations sponsored Cross Border Management – digital trade facilitation project and is Co-Principal Investigator of ACRP 03-63 – update to airport air cargo planning guidelines.

Prior to joining SASI, Mr. Edwards was the founding Director of the Office of Logistics + Freight at the North Carolina Department of Transportation and Director of the North Carolina Center for Global Logistics within the North Carolina Community College System.

Edwards’ aviation experience includes managing a commercial airport, member of a team which created and operated four allcargo airlines including UPS Airlines, operational introduction of a composite baggage container, and leadership of the team which designed one of the world’s largest air vehicles.

Edwards holds degrees from universities in Canada, England, and the United States. He serves on boards and committees in freight transport, research, and logistics education. Mr. Edwards is a Professor of the Practice at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill in the Department of City and Regional Planning. He is a Scholar Fellow of the beta chapter of Sigma Chi Mu Tau (Supply Chain).