With more people shopping from home this holiday season, retailers are preparing for what is shaping up to be the busiest online shopping season on record.
Airlines are also gearing up to play a major role in getting orders shipped across the country.
Dallas-based Southwest Airlines was already seeing a surge in e-commerce packages and expects increased volume when more traditional shipping lines start focusing on COVID-19 vaccine distribution.
“Since the pandemic started, we’ve seen this tremendous increase in e-commerce related goods,” said Wally Deveraux, Southwest Airlines Managing Director of Cargo and Charters.
It is expected that by mid-December and into 2021, shipping companies that are usually used by most retailers could be in use to ship vaccines across the United States. While Southwest could also play a role in vaccine movement, they also plan to ship for companies needing carriers.
“If we start moving vaccines in the middle of December, which is roughly the estimated timeline for that, that’s going to be a really interesting scenario, because a lot of e-commerce goods that may be moving on other carriers that are going to be initially critical to moving the vaccine. They are going to have to clear capacity out to move [vaccines].” Deveraux said.
Southwest ships in the ‘belly’ of its passenger planes for most flights and has seen an uptick in e-commerce cargo. “We’re starting to see that now,” Deveraux said. “It’s really picked up over the last couple of weeks. October what about what we would normally expect, but over the last several weeks in November, things have gotten very busy and continue to get busier.”
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