Sony has reportedly begun air freighting PlayStation 5 stock into the UK, as it attempts to better meet demand in the runup to Christmas.
The platform holder has chartered three Boeing 747 jets from Seoul, South Korea to London in the last week, each loaded with nearly 50 pallets of PlayStation 5 consoles, according to The Sun.
The PS5 stock carried by each 747 was reportedly enough to require 12 articulated lorries per jet to transport the cargo to distribution centres around the UK.
The flights look to be the reason for an unusually high number of PS5 restocks in the UK last week, including at Amazon, Argos and Game.
Strong demand coupled with global chip shortages mean that Sony’s console has been difficult to come by since its launch in November 2020.
It’s claimed that Sony is planning to charter a further two flights to the UK before the end of the month, which is a measure typically only actioned during periods of supply issues due to their high expense.
Piers Harding-Rolls, research director at Ampere Analysis, explained: “Air freighting goods such a long way is commonly avoided as it’s expensive.
“But firms can use it to overcome supply chain issues or meet demand at key times of the year as it gets consoles, in this case, from factories to stores much faster.
“I believe Sony also used air to transport some PS5s during the launch window at the end of 2020. It’s much faster than transporting by sea.
“Air freighting will help bring forward some stock of consoles but may result in a longer dry patch in early 2022 when reverting back to sea transport.”
Last week Sony said that PlayStation 5 supply issues were negatively impacting hardware sales, but that it remains hopeful of hitting its annual console shipment target.
The company’s goal is for PS5 shipments to exceed 14.8 million units during the current fiscal year ending in March 2022 (FY21), which would surpass the number of PS4s shipped during the same stage of that console’s lifecycle.
The company shipped 2.3 million PS5 consoles in the first quarter of FY21 and said on Thursday that it had shipped a further 3.3 million during the second quarter, for a total of 5.6 million during the six-month period.
Speaking in May, Sony Interactive Entertainment boss Jim Ryan said the company was hoping that PlayStation 5 shortages would start to ease in the second half of 2021.