Still the biggest market
Iata’s regional report for February has it that the Asia-Pacific area is the world’s largest air cargo zone, accounting for 37% of the world’s airfreight performance. Routes to North America (+5.2%) and from the Middle East (+8.3%) have grown most since 2012.
Saudia Cargo, which is one of the region’s largest freight operators, banks heavily on pharmaceutical and e-commerce activities in Asia. At the recent Air Cargo India trade meeting in Mumbai, Vikram Vohra, who is in charge of Saudia Cargo’s activities in Asia-Pacific markets from his base in Hong Kong, told the ITJ that his carrier “has now initiated the CEIV Pharma certification process. We’re also pleased with our 200–300% growth in e-commerce business in China and Hong Kong.” Saudia’s schedules thus have to be adjusted to ensure the necessary capacities.
Tim Hitchings, Air Canada Cargo’s sales and interline manager in charge of services in the UK, Ireland, the Middle East and India, is also pleased. “Ever since we opened for business in India our volumes have been developing quite splendidly.” The carrier has been operating its Toronto–Delhi link since 2015; in July 2017 it added Toronto–Mumbai to its schedule, and on 8 June made its Vancouver–Delhi service, launched as a seasonal offering in 2016, a year-round option.
Textiles, pharmaceuticals, e-commerce
“Air Canada Cargo is very important for us,” Manuel Mendonca told the ITJ at the industry meeting. He is the executive director in charge of marketing activities with the Mumbai-based GSA Global Aviation Services, which has been collaborating with Air Canada for 40 years. He also considers pharmaceutical products to be one of the keys to success. The previously strong national textiles sector, in contrast, has lost ground to Bangladesh, Pakistan and Cambodia, where Air Canada is not online (yet).
Saudia Cargo is, however. It has already supported textiles exports from Bangladesh for quite some time now. A UK and German ban on airfreight exports from Bangladesh was lifted recently, and Vohra said that Saudia will then react by introducing seven or eight additional full-freighters flights from Dhaka.