FedEx adds new flights to US and Europe from HK
FedEx Express has added new direct flights from Hong Kong to the United States and Europe as the city's export and import trade swings back to pre-crisis levels.
'The region has begun to grow and expand again,' David Cunningham, president Asia-Pacific FedEx Express, said yesterday.
The world's largest express company added two Boeing 777 freighters in Shanghai in February after mainland cargo volume experienced double-digit growth in the two months to January.
With the strong rebound in international trade, FedEx added two newly delivered Boeing 777 freighters to its Hong Kong operation from March 29, bringing the total weekly flights from the city to the US and Europe to 17 from 12.
The 777s, which are being used to replace MD-11s on the six-times-a-week service to Memphis, have increased the capacity per trip by 6.8 tonnes, or 10 per cent per flight.
The spare MD-11s have been redeployed on a new service between Hong Kong and Paris, the first direct European service from Hong Kong by FedEx. European shipments from Hong Kong used to go via Guangzhou.
The five times a week service to Paris would be upgraded to 777 freighters by the end of the year, which means 13.6 tonnes in additional payload per flight, or a 25 per cent increase in capacity, Anthony Leung, managing director of the company's Hong Kong and Macau operations, said. 'We are very confident about the European market,' Leung said.
Hong Kong Air Cargo Terminals, (Hactl), which handles 80 per cent of cargo at Chek Lap Kok, has continued to see robust growth, posting 31 per cent year-on-year increase in tonnage to 244,087 tonnes last month. This came after the airport reported a 37 per cent growth in cargo volume in the first two months to 558,000 tonnes. The tonnage handled has fully recovered from the lows during the financial crisis.
'While we believe that the strong volumes reflect the consistent recovery of the world economy, we will not underestimate the potential challenges ahead,' Lilian Chan, marketing and customer service general manager at Hactl, said.
FedEx is confident that international trade will continue to grow this year and is not too concerned about expected appreciation in the yuan.
'We ship both inbound and outbound cargo on the mainland,' Cunningham said.
'If the yuan appreciates and hurts export growth, it will help with imports.'
However, he predicted the yuan would not change in a dramatic way.