The call of the east
Turkish Cargo, Finnair Cargo and Swiss WorldCargo are just some of the airlines that are currently upping their capacities to and from Asia. According to Iata that trade corridor is holding up better than others. Why could that be, and for how much longer?
The Asian-Pacific market was the first Iata region whose airlines recently recorded a declining year-on-year airfreight performance. That was in November 2018. In the meantime they have been emulated by all the other regions too – apart from Africa. The latter market only contributes 1.6% to global air cargo volumes, however, making it the smallest market, whilst the Asia-Pacific sector is the largest, accounting for 35.4%.
Those airlines providing capacities at both ends of Europe–Asia trade routes are pleased to note that the latest Iata figures for August recorded a very manageable 3% decline in the airfreight performance there. These routes are the second-largest market worldwide – after North America–Asia flights – accounting for 20% of the global total. This helps at least partially to explain several European airlines’s latest commitments to these routes, which are perhaps consciously anti-cyclical.
South and Southeast Asia
At the end of October Turkish Cargo added Ahmedabad to its two weekly A330F services from Bahrain and Doha to Istanbul. The Indian city has 5.6 million inhabitants, making it the largest in the western state of Gujarat. The destination has a high import potential and is a centre for the pharmaceuticals industry. Iata CEIV Pharma certified Turkish Cargo is banking on this profitable segment.
The airline also added a twice-weekly Boeing B777F stopover in Kuala Lumpur to its flights between Istanbul and Ho Chi Minh City (Vietnam) recently.
Turkish has served the Malaysian metropolis with belly capacities since 2013, and now wants to further fortify its already strong regional import / export options there. The managers from the Bosphorus believe they have taken all the right decisions of late; in September Turkish Airlines’ tonnage flown to the Far East grew by 8.7% year-on-year, for example.
Sapporo and Osaka
Finnair is also developing robustly. In October it transported more freight (16,787 t) than in any previous month. The 11,775 t flown to and from Asia made the continent its largest market by far.
Finnair remains the only European airline with scheduled flights to and from Sapporo (Japan); from 15 December it will be served all year round. The Finnish flag carrier already serves Tokyo Narita, Nagoya, Fukuoka and Osaka in Japan. From March 2020 Swiss WorldCargo, in turn, is adding the latter to its long-haul network again after many years.