Upward trend in Asia imports encouraging

CATHAY Pacific ended 2013 in high gear. Having taken delivery of three B747-8 freighters in the days before Christmas, the Hong Kong-based carrier placed an order for one more B747-8F on 27 December. The ‘plane, which is due for delivery in 2016, will bring Cathay’s tally of B747-8Fs to 14.
Korean Air (KAL) is also ramping up its maindeck capacity. In December the airline received its fourth B747-8F. According to Kim Ho Jung in KAL’s cargo strategy and development department, the ‘plane has been deplo-yed on long-haul routes across the Pacific as well as on short legs to China and Japan.
KAL will receive its fifth B747-8F in March, and this one has been earmarked for Euro-pean destinations. Then, in February, it stands to get its fourth B777-200F. This will serve points in the Americas, Kim reveals.
“Other delivery schedules for 2015 are not decided, but Korean Air is planning to operate in total five B777Fs by 2015 and seven B747-8Fs by the end of 2016,” he adds.
Another Asian carrier that is showing an appetite for freighters is Garuda. Indonesia’s national airline indicated last year that it is considering a foray into the maindeck arena in response to strong cargo growth.
According to Indonesian government statistics, airfreight volume surged by more than 25 per cent in the first five months of last year, and the overall logistics sector was projected to grow by 15 per cent in 2013. In addition to freighter ruminations, this has also spawned talk of Garuda spinning off its cargo business into an independent unit.
The rest of Asia can only dream of such growth, but at least it appears that the downturn has run its course.
Figures from the Association of Asia Pacific Airlines show a 5.4 per cent rise in FTKS for its members in November, and preliminary rep-orts on December indicate another relatively strong month.
Read Ian Putzger’s full piece in Air Cargo News 27 January 2014 – Issue No.769

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