Cathay Pacific launched a temporary expansion of its operations in the Americas, with a 12-week cargo service linking Pittsburgh International Airport (PIT) with Southeast Asia.
In a statement, the Hong Kong-based carrier said this is to supplement the airline's existing network of 19 cargo stations throughout the Americas, including East Coast cargo services to Boston, Newark, and Washington, Dulles, and a dedicated freighter port at New York (JFK).
The first arrival touched down in Pittsburgh on September 21 carrying consumer goods from Asia.
The temporary service will originate in Ho Chi Minh (SGN), stopping at Cathay Pacific's Cargo Terminal at Hong Kong International Airport, landing in PIT every Monday and Thursday until November 26.
Cathay Pacific said the flight will be operated by a reconfigured Boeing 777-300ER passenger aircraft instead of Cathay Pacific's go-to ultra-long-haul freighter, the Boeing 747-8, of which there are currently 14 in its fleet.
Cargo bright spot for Cathay
"Cathay Pacific is excited to link Hong Kong, one of the world's key intermodal airfreight hubs, to Pittsburgh. The city is ideally placed between the Eastern Seaboard and the Midwest, home to more than 50% of the population of the United States," said Fred Ruggiero, vice president cargo, Americas, Cathay Pacific Airways.
"Cargo remains a bright spot for the airline during this challenging time. This temporary expansion underscores Cathay Pacific's commitment to our freight forwarder partners, who requested an expanded cargo service to meet heightened demand. We are pleased to join forces with Pittsburgh International Airport and Unique Logistics and look forward to assisting with future freight needs."
In an effort to introduce additional cargo capacity where possible and help support global supply chains, Cathay Pacific reconfigured two Boeing 777-300ER passenger aircraft into 'preighters,' with seats removed in the Economy and Premium Economy cabins to enable the airline to carry 12 tons of additional cargo under extra safety and security measures.
Cathay Pacific said cargo is currently the stronger performer for the airline, operating over 436 pairs of cargo-only passenger flights and carrying over 102,122 tons of cargo and mail in August 2020.
Cathay Pacific Cargo Terminal at Hong Kong International Airport offers a broad spectrum of logistical solutions for the airfreight industry including extended cut-off times, last-minute cargo acceptance and reduced connection times for transshipments.
In conjunction, Cathay Pacific said with Pittsburgh International Airport's uncongested and reliable Cargo Terminal to move freight to and from North America, the freight path will be able to ship as efficiently as possible, delivering 35-40 tons of cargo.