Air China Cargo to launch cold chain product this year
02 / 02 / 2016
Air China Cargo has revealed plans to launch a cold chain product this year and is leasing ULDs from Envirotainer to support its expansion in the temperature controlled market.
The fast-growing Asian airline plans to roll out a cold chain product this spring with further network expansion planned in 2016 based on market demand.
The airline has identified five stations – Beijing, Shanghai, Singapore, Frankfurt and Geneva – as launch stations in its first phase of implementation.
For the transport of cargo, Air China Cargo will lease ULDs from Envirotainer. This is the first time that Envirotainer has partnered with an airline based in China and follows on from the opening of a new station in Shanghai in November.
“The partnership will greatly enhance the connectivity for pharmaceutical companies doing business with their suppliers and customers in China, while improving the availability of containers for exporters in China through the airline’s network,” the companies said.
The new partnership is expected to target bio-pharma companies importing and exporting active pharmaceutical ingredients, intermediates and other bulk and semi-finished products to and from the world’s second largest economy.
Air China, in which Cathay Pacific is a shareholder, was the fastest growing major Asian airline in the cargo world last year as traffic jumped 15.2% year on year to 6.5bn revenue freight tonne km.
When recently asked how it has managed to grow volumes so rapidly, the airline told Air Cargo News: “Air China Cargo was able to continue to optimise its route structure after completing the replacement of its fleet for US and European routes.
“The round-the-world route operated smoothly with a steady increase in cargo volume for the US to Europe sector.
“We have continued to upgrade our product range by adding very competitive high value-added and transit products. By enhancing our sales management, we have made use of passenger-cargo combination operation to achieve complementary advantages.”
The airline needed to increase volumes last year as it has seen a rapid expansion in available cargo capacity, which ended the year up by 18.1% compared with 2014 levels.
Air China Cargo currently has a fleet comprising of 15 freighters – eight B777Fs, three B747-400Fs and four B757-200SFs, which are used chiefly to provide domestic linehaul for China Post.
The 747 freighters are deployed on intra-regional sectors and for charter work, whereas the 777s serve the carrier’s trunk routes to Europe and North America.
With the support of Air China’s passenger network, Air China Cargo serves more than 170 destinations globally, 26 of which are served by freighters.
The cargo carrier also has over 1,285 truck services to supplement its freighter and passenger belly network.