Cathay Pacific Cargo B747F takes off from Wellcamp
24 / 11 / 2016
Cathay Pacific Cargo’s inaugural Boeing 747-8 freighter service connecting Brisbane West Wellcamp Airport and Hong Kong left the Australian gateway late yesterday, touching down in Hong Kong in the early hours of this morning.
The freighter will fly once a week on a Sydney – Melbourne – Brisbane – Hong Kong routeing.
It is Wellcamp’s only scheduled international freighter connection.
John Wagner, global chairman of Wagners, which developed the Toowomba, Queensland gateway, has described attracting the B747F service as a “major coup”.
He said in October : “The opportunities this creates for Queensland exporters to benefit from Australia’s free trade agreements and to access the world’s biggest consumer markets are unlimited.”
Wagner continued: “We are on the cusp of very exciting times and the reality for our multi-million-dollar agricultural and processing sectors is produce like chilled beef and other perishables will be able to fly direct to Asia from the region in which they are produced, creating both valuable first mile and cool chain efficiencies, and enabling significant capacity for the growth of trade.”
The owner and developer of Brisbane West Wellcamp Airport and Wellcamp Business Park, Wagners is an Australian family-owned infrastructure, construction and materials company. Brisbane West Wellcamp Airport only opened in November 2014.
Menzies Aviation is undertaking the ground handling and cargo terminal operations relating to the service at Wellcamp.
On the rise
This latest freighter link seems to be coming at a good time for Cathay Pacific Cargo.
Cathay Pacific and sister carrier Dragonair carried 172,385 tonnes of cargo and mail in October, an increase of 5.3% compared to the same month of last year.
The cargo and mail load factor rose by 1.6 percentage points to 68.1%. Capacity, as measured in available cargo/mail tonne kilometres, increased by 0.6%, while the cargo and mail revenue tonne kilometres (RTK) figure increased year on year by 3.2%.
Over the course of the first ten months of 2016, the cargo tonnage carried figure rose by 2.2% against a 0.5% increase in capacity, and there was an increase of 0.4% in RTKs.
Cathay Pacific general manager cargo sales & marketing Mark Sutch remarked: “Overall cargo demand in October was fairly strong and tonnage continued to grow.
“We had some negative impact on our forecasts during the month from typhoon disruptions and unscheduled aircraft maintenance but overall exports from Europe, Asia and Mainland China were robust.
“The team continues to work hard to push up the yield, and the rates are getting back to peak season levels.
“The new twice-weekly service to Portland, introduced in early November, further strengthened our US network.”
Cathay Dragon is born
Meanwhile, Dragonair was yesterday (22 November) officially rebranded as Cathay Dragon, bringing the airline closer to Cathay Pacific in a move that has been planned for some time.
At an unveiling ceremony at the newly named Cathay Dragon House, the airline’s headquarters in Hong Kong, Cathay Dragon chief executive Algernon Yau announced: “This is a momentous day in the history of Cathay Dragon.
“As we align more closely with Cathay Pacific, new prospects will open up on multiple fronts enabling us to become stronger and thrive in this intensely competitive industry.”
The Cathay Dragon conversion process started earlier this year with a rebranding announcement in January. The most visible change to date has been the progressive introduction of new Cathay Dragon livery on the airline’s aircraft.
Cathay Pacific Flight CX250 from London Heathrow to Hong Kong (which left the UK’s busiest airport at 18.02 local time on 22 November) was diverted to Novosibirsk International Airport in Russia approximately six hours into its journey when a signal on the flight deck indicated a possible fire in the aft cargo hold – although in today’s statement, released on the morning of 23 November, it was pointed out that, “At this time there is no evidence that there (actually) was a fire in the aft cargo hold.”
The statement continued: “The safety of our passengers and crew is our top priority. There are no reports of any injuries among the 212 passengers and 18 crew who were on board the aircraft, a Boeing 777-300ER.”