European Cargo gears up for more freighters

Source: Cargo First

Freighter operator European Cargo and Bournemouth Airport’s in-house handler Cargo First are preparing for the addition of three more Airbus A340 freighters over the coming months.

The carrier, which operates flights between Bournemouth in the UK and China, will add its fourth A340-600 converted freighter in July, with two more to follow before October.

In turn, Cargo First has over the past year recruited 15 new members of staff to cover warehousing, aircraft handling and security roles.

At this stage, the airline has not confirmed on which routes the aircraft will be utilised.

Bournemouth Airport managing director Steve Gill said the airport is also looking at longer term infrastructure investment to add more dedicated cargo facilities at the airport.

The two companies said they are pitching the airport as an alternative to the constrained London hubs at a time when the Red Sea ocean shipping crisis is helping to drive air cargo demand.

They add that the air cargo peak season is fast approaching.

European Cargo’s existing A340 freighters operate from the UK airport to Chengdu and Haikou providing e-commerce capacity.

Gill said: “Our collaboration with European Cargo has established Bournemouth as a reliable and cost-effective hub for e-commerce and other air freight into the UK, with a proven track record of delivering a highly efficient service for time-sensitive consignments for our customers.

“With European Cargo’s additional freighters coming on stream shortly and the constraints facing other UK hubs, we see a significant opportunity to grow the market further as we ramp up for the peak season.”

European Cargo’s chief executive Jason Holt said: “We recently celebrated the first anniversary of flights from Bournemouth to Chengdu and in our first year operated almost 300 flights carrying some 20,000 tonnes of cargo.

“With our fourth fully converted long-haul freighter expected to enter service in July and two more by October, we see continued growing interest in our aircraft and services. We continue to gear up to handle the autumn peak and accompanying additional services coming on stream in the next few months.”

The A340-600 long-haul freighter aircraft offers a payload capacity of 76 tonnes and a cargo capacity of 440 cu m.

European Cargo’s A340 aircraft have been converted with a bespoke in-cabin pod containment system to add to belly capacity, but do not have a cargo door. 

Additional A340 converted freighter added to UK-China service


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Damian Brett

Damian Brett
I have been writing about the freight and logistics industry since 2007 when I joined International Freighting Weekly to cover the shipping sector.After a stint in PR, I have gone on to work for Containerisation International and Lloyds List - where I was editor of container shipping - before joining Air Cargo News in 2015.Contact me on [email protected]