With an aim to expand its cargo map in India, Cathay Pacific has strong plans to add capacities, destinations and more services. Anand Yedery, Regional Cargo Manager – South Asia, Middle East & Africa, Cathay Pacific Airways, talks about the airline’s plans to accomplish its vision of becoming the leading air cargo carrier between Asia and the world.
Please give me a sense of Cathay Pacific Cargo’s operational profile in India? How many freighters you have in service to and out of India? What is the total capacity that you lift?
Cathay Pacific offers freighter services from six major airports in India with 25 weekly flights. We operate nine weekly freighter departures from Delhi, seven from Mumbai, four from Chennai, two from Bengaluru, one from Hyderabad and two from Kolkata. In addition to this, we operate 48 passenger flights a week from India to Hong Kong, carrying cargo in the belly of our passenger aircraft thus making Cathay Pacific in India one of the largest freighter carriers in the country.
From India, we uplifted approximately 57,000 tonnes in 2014 and this year in the first quarter we carried close to 12,800 tonnes.
What’s on the plan list to strengthen your position in the Indian market? Any connectivity plans? What is the competitive advantage Cathay Pacific Cargo will have?
India is a major route contributor and a prominent part of our current and future plans. We will continue to look at adding frequencies and capacity to our existing routes as well as look at potential new destinations in India to start operations from.
We operate freighters to 46 destinations around the world and together with our passenger flights we cover 200 destinations worldwide, thereby offering great connectivity from India to the world. We have recently launched freighters to Calgary and Phnom Penh and passenger flights to Zurich and Boston with Dusseldorf coming online in September 2015. This will help meet the rising demand to move a wide range of commodities between India and the world.
The competitive advantage of Cathay Pacific Cargo is that we are a one-stop shop with tailor-made products and services to help customers’ packages and cargo arrive faster and more safely. To elaborate, we have developed a wide range of service options to meet the growing needs of its customers. Cathay Pacific Cargo products include Wine LIFT, Pharma LIFT, Priority LIFT, DG LIFT, Fresh LIFT, Live Animal LIFT, Secure LIFT, Courier LIFT and Expert LIFT.
Our new Cathay Pacific Cargo Terminal at Hong Kong International Airport (HKIA) enables the most efficient flow of cargo through the terminal and facilitates speedy processing of all types of cargo.
We have launched a new cargo mobile application that offers cargo agents, forwarders and customers, greater convenience when tracking shipments, in addition to a wide range of other information relevant to the operations of Cathay Pacific Cargo. This new mobile app puts up-to-the-minute information at their fingertips, wherever in the world they may be.
Our cargo fleet includes the B747-8 freighters with engines that are more fuel-efficient, a new wing design that enhances payload and range while reducing noise, and a weight and balance system that monitors the centre of gravity of the plane on a real-time basis.
Many airlines are active in the pharma sector. What are the latest initiatives taken or planned by the airline in this sector?
Cathay Pacific Cargo has a wide range of products, one of them being our Pharma LIFT. To better facilitate the shipment of temperature-sensitive goods and pharmaceutical products, Cathay Pacific cargo has signed up with DoKaSch Temperature Solutions for renting the latest-technology active containers, the RKN and RAP Opticooler. This is in addition to the Environtainer and CSafe containers that we have which provide state-of-the-art-climate-control solutions. The Indian Pharmaceutical industry is one of the fastest growing industries in India and the growing export from this segment is a huge opportunity for air freight. Cathay Pacific Cargo will continue to tap into the pharma exports using our strong Pharma LIFT product.
Apart from pharma, which are the other sectors you are looking at?
At Cathay Pacific Cargo we have the expertise to handle all types of cargo. We are specialists in transporting odd dimension shipments from limousines to oil drilling equipment that requires special handling processes to transporting live animals which requires an extra level of care and comfort throughout the journey. Our wide range of products enables us to carry any and all types of cargo from India.
Are you worried about competition from Middle East and European carriers?
Cathay Pacific is one of the biggest international cargo operators in India. We welcome competition as it keeps us on our toes and helps us strive to do better.
What will Cathay Pacific Cargo look like, 10 years from now in India? What are the future plans?
The International Air Transport Association (IATA) Airline Industry Forecast 2014-2018 shows that by 2018 India will be one of the top 10 international freighter markets. Our vision is to be the leading air cargo carrier between Asia and the World and to be positioned as the freight forwarder and shippers’ air cargo carrier of choice from India.
At last, how do you see air cargo sector in India in 2015? According to you, what are the emerging trends?
India’s economic outlook is improving. Being one of the largest consumer markets in the world, India’s logistics sector is driven by industries such as automobile, pharmaceuticals, fast-moving consumer goods (FMCG) and retail. Furthermore, the government of India has laid an emphasis on increasing manufacturing and exports with the ‘Make in India’ campaign. This coupled with the fact that fuel prices are expected to stay close to current levels is positive news for the cargo industry.