The annual AirCargo Conference scheduled for January 16-18 in New Orleans has been moved online due to the ongoing health and safety concerns surrounding the coronavirus pandemic.
Most in-person conferences have been cancelled this year, but some organizations are being proactive and pulling the plug on events for next year and going virtual instead. The cancellations are another sign that airlines will have difficulty attracting customers back in the coming year, especially coveted business travelers.
The AirCargo Conference, now in its 28th year, was last held in January as the first outbreak of COVID-19 was spreading in Wuhan, China.
The conference attracts about 800 attendees and more than 100 exhibitors each year. It’s sponsored by the Airforwarders Association, Air and Expedited Motor Carriers Association and Airports Council International-North America.
“While this is the first time that we will not be holding an in-person conference, we look forward to hearing from our attendees, exhibitors and sponsors about their preferences for a virtual gathering,” Airforwarders Association Executive Director Brandon Fried told American Shipper/FreightWaves.
“Our skilled and experienced planning team has been arranging the popular AirCargo event for quite some time and looks forward to a successful virtual conference,” he added.
The three organizations produced a five-minute online survey for their members to help guide the format for the 2021 virtual event, which is expected to be held in February.
So far, the agenda includes pressing airfreight topics, such as the use of passenger freighters, the International Civil Aviation Organization’s 2021 account consignor change requirements, cross-border trade matters, industry workforce development, and possible industry impacts after the U.S. presidential election.
Organizers said the next in-person conference will be held in 2022 at the same time and location.