The revolution in air cargo began with the jet freighter and promises a huge business potential to airlines. The introduction of the jumbo jets within three years will mean that conventional cargo handling techniques, archaic now, will be completely obsolete. To make the jumbos and all other cargo aircraft effective, modern materials handling methods will be introduced universally. Automation in cargo handling, moving and storage, will be a necessity, and highly advanced aircraft loading and unloading techniques will be introduced. Containerization and intermodal traffic will be fully developed, together with computerized documentation and cargo terminal equipment control. The next ten years will see a surge in cargo traffic of 400% to 800%, and, cargo handling methods will have to keep pace.
This paper traces some of the history which led to present day mechanized terminals and discusses some of the factors in their development. Some of the recent terminals and equipment developed by Dortech are described. The factors for cargo terminal design and evaluation are developed and illustrated, as well as how these new terminals will work.
Also discussed and illustrated, are the means of handling the 747 aircraft and how a sizeable 747 operation will proceed. The special considerations in containerized freight handling will be discussed with emphasis on the problems of handling and control.
Finally, an attempt is made to look beyond 1980 and speculate on what the future of air cargo will hold.