Vietjet reported a surge of 23 percent in cargo volume between April and August this year compared to the pre-pandemic first quarter.
Cargo volume increased from 16,133 tonnes between January and March 2020 to 19,872 tonnes in the following five months.
The airline said such growth was disproportionately driven by the domestic market. Cargo transported within Vietnam grew 54 percent over the first quarter.
Meanwhile, air cargo revenue increased 21 percent in the April-August period compared to the first three months. Revenue for the domestic cargo market soared nearly 65 percent, the company noted.
Vietjet said it was the first airline in Vietnam and Asia to navigate towards air cargo since late March, as part of a new business strategy being unfolded in response to the global pandemic.
It was also the first airline in Vietnam that was authorised to deploy cargo operations in the passenger cabin (CIPC), allowing up to 20 tonnes of cargo capacity on each flight.
Before the pandemic, an average of one to three tonnes of cargo per flight was filled in the belly of the passenger aircraft, explained Vietjet air cargo director Mai Trung Thanh.
The deployment of cargo-only aircraft has boosted the freight volume each flight by at least six times, which helped bring higher revenue for the carrier during this time.
“Converting to air cargo has managed to keep the airline afloat, which means a lot to the staff, encouraging them to come up with new ideas during the crisis,” Mai said.
Air cargo partially buoyed Vietjet for the first half of the year after it posted a consolidated profit after tax of VND47 billion (approximately US$2 million).
According to Mai, Vietjet is considering expand its freighter network as business operations remain stable and the market demand gradually recovers.
Vietjet will maintain its cargo fleet on domestic routes and a number of international ones to Japan, China, Hong Kong, Thailand and Indonesia as requested by its customers.
“The airline is reviewing to open a new route to Taiwan whilst increasing flight frequency on current routes. The fleet might get bigger with new passenger-aircrafts-turn-freighters depending on the market demand,” Mai said.
Closely following the demands of the market and its customers, the airline is planning to introduce express cargo and an application for cargo tracking to improve the customer experience and boost business and revenue.