A cargo aircraft operated by Cathay Pacific Airways approaches Hong Kong International Airport in August. [Photo/Agencies]
Airlines ramp up digital tech, routes and commitment to ensure smooth transport
BEIJING－Global aerospace giants are more ambitious in China's resilient air cargo market after strengthening their performance in lockstep with new products and services.
The world's leading aerospace engineers, air carriers, service providers and related industry insiders are intensively launching new aircraft conversion lines, cargo routes and innovative services in the market.
Boeing plans to launch two production lines of 767-300 Boeing Converted Freighters (BCF) this year in Guangdong province's Guangzhou, in cooperation with Guangzhou Aircraft Maintenance Engineering Co Ltd, a renowned local-based aircraft maintenance service provider, according to Boeing China.
Both lines will focus on converting retired 767-300 wide-body passenger aircraft into freighters. The first line was launched in late April and is expected to deliver the first China-produced 767-300 BCF in the second half of the year.
This is the latest move by Boeing's passenger-to-freighter conversion program to further meet market demand. Prior to this, it launched more than 10 production lines for 737-800 BCF converted freighters at three sites in China.
China's air cargo sector displayed its resilience and dynamism during the COVID-19 period. It is also playing a key role in sustaining the supply and industrial chains and unleashing the potential of the country's air cargo market for industry players at home and globally, said industry insiders.
The country is vowing all-out efforts to stabilize the industrial and supply chains in a bid to ensure foreign trade, a key underpinning for the economy. It commits to tapping into the potential of air cargo to ensure the smooth transportation of important parts, equipment and products, alongside other efforts.
Air cargo industry players are gaining new opportunities from China's precise and effective epidemic prevention and control measures and upgraded commerce and consumption, as well as support policies in the sector.
"Cathay Pacific Airways will continue to expand its network to provide more cargo capacity in the market," said Agatha Lee, regional general manager of Cathay Pacific Airways China.
Cathay Pacific is also applying digital technologies to facilitate air freight transportation. Together with partners, the carrier is offering integrated air-road transport options to complement its network and provide a wider range of logistics solutions.
Related global industry players are also moving intensively in the Chinese air cargo market.
FedEx Express, a subsidiary of FedEx Corporation, on June 13 launched a new air cargo route. With 10 round-trip cargo flights weekly, the route will increase the weekly cargo capacity between China and Europe by around 400 metric tons.
It is a new move by the global express transportation giant to enhance market performance in China, and its sixth new intercontinental route departing from the Chinese mainland since last June.
"FedEx is committed to strengthening networks in China and connecting China more closely with the global market through efficient, reliable and abundant transportation capacity," said Eddy Chan, FedEx Express senior vice-president and FedEx China president.
"China serves as a strong engine driving the recovery of the world's economy. FedEx is committed to strengthening connections between different markets and facilitating the recovery and development of global business activities," said Chan.