Airlines

Further jump in China-UK air freight capacity through Bournemouth Airport

Bournemouth Airport’s Cargo First air freight business has announced a further increase in capacity between Bournemouth and China with carrier European Cargo now operating up to nine flights a week with a third aircraft now dedicated to the route.

It means capacity on the e-commerce route has tripled in the six months since Shenzhen Sharing Express Logistic-Tech Ltd started the first all-cargo route between Chengdu Shuangliu International Airport in China and the UK’s Bournemouth Airport in April, with three flights per week.

The increase to nine weekly flights means there is almost 700 tonnes of import capacity on the route, which is exclusively served by Bournemouth-based European Cargo’s fleet of all-cargo Airbus A340 wide-bodied freighters, each with a capacity of 76 tonnes.

David Kerr, chief executive of European Cargo, said: “In the push to improve choice and service for UK consumers, we are delighted to expand our capabilities with our mutual customer.

“By partnering with Cargo First and the team at Bournemouth to provide effective solutions into the supply chains of expanding online retailers, we have grown our repertoire.

“Now the UK’s largest commercial freighter operator, we continue to expand our portfolio of customers and origins, with new agreements in place through 2024. Additional capacity coming on stream in the first quarter of 2024 is fully committed to customers looking to enhance their capabilities, deploying the uniquely tailored dual-density freighter solution offered by ECL coupled with the dedicated support of Cargo First’s fulfilment capabilities.”

Bournemouth Airport managing director Steve Gill added: “This continued growth is further evidence of Bournemouth’s increasing stature as an e-commerce gateway to the UK.

“It reflects the confidence Chinese e-tailers have in the UK e-commerce market, which remains the most mature in Europe, and growing recognition that Bournemouth is a cost-effective and uncongested alternative to the busy hub airports.”

The growing importance of the route as an e-commerce gateway was underlined by a reciprocal trade mission between Sichuan Province and Bournemouth in August. This included the signing of a cargo development agreement between Sichuan Province Airport Group Company and Regional & City Airports – owner of Bournemouth Airport – to provide a stable logistics channel for the import and export of e-commerce goods.

Cargo First says around half of consignments from Chengdu are clearing customs locally in Bournemouth and bypassing Heathrow warehouses altogether for onward travel in the UK.

Both Bournemouth Airport and Cargo First are part of the UK’s privately-owned Regional and City Airports (RCA) group, which also owns Coventry Airport, Exeter Airport and Norwich Airport. RCA also operates the XLR Executive Jet Centre FBO facilities at Birmingham, Bournemouth, Exeter and Liverpool airports.

Image credit: Bournemouth Airport
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