DESPITE sluggish market conditions, Saudia Cargo grew its business by six per cent in the first half of 2013.
The carrier moved 270,000 tonnes during the period, breaking 2012’s half-year record of 250,000.
During the period, cargo moved on bellies grew by 29 per cent, with the main contributors being the USA (+50 per cent) and the UK (+40), while cargo moved by the freighter network grew by three per cent.
The growth is the result of a number of factors, reveals Nabil Khojah, Saudia Cargo’s chief executive. The airline increased its freighter capacity from Dhaka and commenced B747 freighter flights to Mumbai and Kano, Nigeria.
It also started operating its first B747-8F in June, which is currently scheduled on Riyadh-Hong Kong-Riyadh-Frankfurt-Saudi Arabia flight rotations.
As of this month, the airline has increased its freighter fleet to 15 (four MD-11Fs and 11 B747Fs), three of which are dedicated to offering sufficient capacity in the growing ad hoc charter market, Nabil Khoja points out.
“Although the current market is a bit soft, we still expect to achieve a 10 per cent growth during the second half of the year,” he adds.
“This will be principally due to the boost in our charter activity, optimisation of our freighter network, adjustments to freighter schedules and increase in the number of freighters to some of our key destinations,” he points out.
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