Aviation article(s)
October 31, 2022

Cathay Pacific Cargo noted improved conditions in its Europe operations as it continues to build back capacity despite persisting challenges in the market.


Jansen Stafford, regional manager of Cargo Europe, said the past couple of years have been "challenging" but the situation has started to ease so far as capacity is added to its network and more hubs reopen in Europe.


"It's been a challenging couple of years, but with a return to our full freighter schedule earlier this year and more ports reopening in Europe with more passenger service frequencies... it really feels like we are starting to return to normal," Stafford said, noting the restart of the services to Milan, Madrid, Paris, Frankfurt, Amsterdam, London and Manchester, and with Zurich set to return later this year.


The Cathay Pacific Cargo executive said in Europe, the situation is more about having to "adapt" not just being agile, against a backdrop of constant change with the ever-evolving market developments.


"Very healthy" capacity in the UK


"Up until now, though, it has been an undeniably difficult time," Stafford said. "So many things were beyond our control, but we adapted, we maintained morale and we have a great team spirit in Europe."


In London, he said Cathay was able to restore passenger flights back to Heathrow quite quickly, which also boosted cargo capacity — and London Heathrow will see a further increase in passenger flights in November and December, with four flights daily on some days in December; and Manchester is also back.


"So the UK is very healthy from a capacity perspective, which is great as this is reflected in the UK demand outlook too," Stafford added.

In the European market though, the Cathay executive said demand is not "necessarily related to a particular port."
"Demand is European demand that you move by truck to where you have the space. So Amsterdam and Frankfurt continue to support pharma shipments from Brussels, for example," he said.
Stafford explained that during the pandemic, trucking was often a real challenge, as different countries closed their borders at different times — but Cathay is now "better equipped" to funnel the demand to the most suitable port to meet market needs.

"As we grow our capacity, and as the peak starts, we know that the overall market has softened a bit. But we will keep our focus on specialist handling shipments," the Cathay Cargo executive said.
"Pharma and perishables remain strong, and there is good demand for computer parts in the Chinese Mainland. Otherwise, the Beaujolais Nouveau season is upon us, although available capacity will hit tonnages this year," he added.
Positive Europe outlook


Meanwhile, Stafford noted that Cathay  Pacific Cargo was "less" affected by the heavy disruptions in Europe earlier this year.


"One advantage to having a slower capacity recovery and so a smaller operation is that we were less affected by the disruption we saw across Europe in the summer, as the boom in aviation outstripped port readiness," he said.


Overall, Stafford signalled a "positive" outlook in Europe moving forward.


"It's a positive picture here in Europe, and the next step for us in the European offices will be to make the journey east to Hong Kong, which is something we're really looking forward to," the Cathay executive added.
Verification Code: