Private Chinese air cargo carrier, Yangtze River Express Airlines, plans to strengthen its fl eet with the addition of eight to 10 B747-400 freighters and/or B777-300 freighters between 2008 and 2013, the airline’s president Huang Siang-sun says.
He said the airline, which presently has a fl eet of four B737-300 QCs, two B737-800Fs and two B747-200Fs, fl ies both chartered as well as scheduled services.“We are using the B737-300 for ourchartered services and the B747-200 forour scheduled services to the USA. Wewill use the B747-400 for our scheduledservices from Pudong to Luxembourg inEurope and back when it is inauguratedon July 1,” Huang said.
The airline also plans to fl y to two or three other destinations in Western Europe and one or two destinations in Eastern Europe in the near future. Presently, the airline fl ies to the Philippines and Hong Kong, and plans to add two to three new destinations to its network in Southeast Asia and Osaka and Seoul in East Asia. The carrier, which launched a new Shanghai-Anchorage-New York- Boston service in March this year, plans to fl y to at least two destinations in India, which have yet to be identifi ed.
Huang said the main challenges that Yangtze River faced was being able to predict and offer sufficient capacity proportionately to market demand. Like its other counterparts in China, Yangtze River is also facing other challenges such as shortage of pilots and skilled technicians, airport congestion and building Pudong International Airport into its hub. Based on Yangtze River’s 2006 ownership structure, Hainan Airlines Group owns a 49 percent stake in the airline, China Airlines 25 percent, Yang Ming Marine Transport 12 percent, Wan Hai Lines 12 percent and Hainan Airlines 2 percent.
Domestically in China, the airline operates a B737-300 for its three scheduled services and one chartered service. Recently, the airline inaugurated a new chartered cargo service – fi ve fl ights per week each offering a capacity of 13.5 tons of cargo – dedicated to transporting DHL’s express packages from Qingdao to Hong Kong via Hangzhou. – Wong Joon San