AirAsia and Teleport add China to network

Teleport CEO Pete Chareonwongsak

More belly capacity and cargo connections have been added to China with the resumption of AirAsia’s flights into the country.

AirAsia’s flights into China mark the return of belly cargo space in the country for Teleport, the logistics venture of Capital A (formerly AirAsia Group Berhad).

A total of 18 cargo routes into China are expected to resume in March, with plans to increase to 40 routes by the third quarter this year from Malaysia, Thailand and the Philippines.

Flight frequency in these sectors are expected to normalise to pre-pandemic, with over 350 weekly flights by Q4 2023.

Pete Chareonwongsak, chief executive of Teleport, said: “We are excited with China’s reopening as we can look forward to supporting growth in trade and cross-border e-commerce movement regionally.

“The full recovery of AirAsia’s fleet in China will realise Teleport’s extensive network advantage for the first time since the pandemic.” 

He added: “China reopening is important in helping us achieve our ambition towards ASEAN leadership in terms of market share in 2023.”

Teleport was established in 2018 by consolidating belly capacity of all AirAsia airlines under a single comprehensive network. It also has added capacity from third-party airlines.

In September last year, Teleport announced it would be increasing its freighter aircraft from one to four, with the addition of three Airbus A321 freighters leased from BBAM.

Teleport said the three A321Fs would be operated by AirAsia and will be delivered in stages starting in the first quarter of 2023.

A dedicated freighter is expected to be assigned for the China – Kuala Lumpur sector in 2023.

This extends Teleport’s ability to carry additional categories of cargo – from specialised cargo, palletised cargo, as well as various dangerous cargo that are restricted as belly cargo. 

In December, Teleport said it had raised new growth capital of $50m to invest in technology and build its freighter fleet and expand logistics operations in Indonesia, the Philippines and Malaysia.

According to Celia Lao, Teleport country head for China, Hong Kong & Macau: “During pre-pandemic times, in 2019, Teleport moved 1.24m tonnes of cargo out of China through AirAsia’s belly space.

“Now with the combined freighter and belly space network capacity, we anticipate our growth in this market to double – as we are now able to serve more customers with a variety of cross border cargo needs. The top four cargo destinations for our customers are Malaysia, Thailand, India and Australia.”

AirAsia began operating its first dedicated cargo aircraft — a Boeing 737-800 – in 2021.

Airlines are beginning to reintroduce China to their networks following the country’s decision to ease its pandemic measures.

CMA CGM Air Cargo expanded its services to China in February.

Lufthansa Cargo recently said it would add more flights to China and Hong Kong, as well as Chengdu.

Ethiopian Airlines Cargo has added belly capacity to China and also launched a new freighter service connecting China and Brazil as it targets e-commerce demand.

Etihad Cargo has added additional freighter and passenger flights to Shanghai.

Cathay Pacific, Hainan and Air China have also announced increases in flights.

Teleport secures $50m to build freighter fleet

Teleport to add three leased Airbus A321 freighters

AirAsia’s first dedicated freighters to begin operations in Q3

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Rebecca Jeffrey

Rebecca Jeffrey
New to aviation journalism, I joined Air Cargo News in late 2021 as deputy editor. I previously worked for Mercator Media’s six maritime sector magazines as a reporter, heading up news for Port Strategy. Prior to this, I was editor for Recruitment International (now TALiNT International). Contact me on: [email protected]