Saturday, March 20, 2010

AirAsia widens air cargo network, says 2010 growth could hit 40pc

11 March 2010

AIRASIA sees air freight as a major growth area for 2010 and has inked several Special Prorate Agreements (SPAs) with other airlines to achieve its revenue target for 2010.

The Kuala Lumpur-based carrier also is linking with more cargo agents and large export-import firms via its expanding network. It now reaches markets in South Asia, Africa, the Middle East and Europe beyond its current route network through those SPA deals and expects its cargo revenue to grow by more than 40 per cent over last year’s figure.

Sathis Manoharen, AirAsia regional head for cargo said: “We’ve been signing up more key players in the cargo industry. Demand for our cargo space is picking up, and with AirAsia now up there among the world’s most recognisable brands and with the expanded reach that we have with our airline partners, more large companies are interested in our cargo services. Our prices have allowed us to also increase business with individual senders.”

“AirAsia is growing in many markets, but South Asia is of particular interest because of our rapid expansion there. In November last year, AirAsia started flying to the three Indian cities of Kolkata, Trivandrum and Kochi. These are in addition to our other destinations in the region – Tiruchirappalli, Dhaka and Colombo.

Interest from businesses there is picking up, and this should intensify when we begin flights to even more South Asian cities this year,” Sathis added.

AirAsia has operations based in Malaysia, Thailand and Indonesia. It operates short-haul and long-haul flights on 132 routes to Australia, ASEAN (Malaysia, Indonesia, Thailand, Cambodia, Myanmar, Laos, Vietnam, Singapore, Brunei and the Philippines), mainland China, Hong Kong, Macau, Taipei, India, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, UAE and the UK.

Domestic cargo operations are also expected to receive a boost from increased demand for cargo services for perishables, including seafood from West Malaysia. Seafood and other perishables are currently among the carrier's cargo revenue sources, and Manoharen says there is a sizeable demand for cargo services for these between East and Peninsular Malaysia and from East Malaysia to Macau, Hong Kong and China mostly via Kuala Lumpur.

"Most of the increased freight loads are machinery and car parts, electronics, food items, shoes and apparels," added Manoharen.

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