Prompted by increasing Sino-Indiatrade co-operation and fast development in the tourism sector in particular,Air China, the largest carrierin mainland China started its directDelhi-Beijing flight in October lastyear. After the launch of thrice weeklyB767-200 passenger service with bellyspace left for about six tonnes of cargo,the airline is now preparing to launchfreighter services too, according to AirChina officials.
Economic and trade co-operationbetween India and China has entered anew era of extended co-operation andjoint development. In 2005, Sino-Indiabilateral trade volume exceeded US$18billion. It is expected that the volumewill break US$20 billion by 2008.
"Opportunities for air cargo trafficbetween India and China are plenty. AirChina is all set to exploit the opportunemoment with some fresh and suitableaircraft in its fleet," said Liu Bin, cargomanager, India for Air China.
The Beijing-Delhi service is operatedthree times a week and is a fine complementto Air China’s network in SouthAsia and Middle East. Moreover, it playsan important role in the constructionof the Beijing hub, enhancing thecompetitive edge of Air China’s internationalroute. "We are offering directservices beyond Beijing and throughoutthe world, especially North America,Europe, Australia, Japan, Korea andAustralia," said Bin.
In order to strengthen its internationaltransport capability, Air China isincreasing its co-operation with foreignairlines and has signed code-sharingagreements with 11 domestic andforeign airlines, including Lufthansa,Austrian Airlines, Scandinavian Airlines, Finnair, Turkish Airlines, UnitedAirlines, ANA, Dragonair, Air Macau,Shandong Airlines and Shanghai Airlines.
Air China is planning to introducefreighter services to India through analliance with Lufthansa Cargo, by utilisingthe latter’s MD-11 freighter on aspace-sharing basis. The freighter routewill be Shanghai-Delhi-Frankfurt twiceweeklyand Frankfurt-Delhi- Guangzhouthree times a week.
– Ratan Paul