Emirates SkyCargo recently made company history with the transportation of nearly 53 tonnes of freight in the belly-hold of a Boeing 777-300ER. Members of Emirates’ cargo team sat down with Air Cargo World to discuss this achievement and more.
On average, Boeing 777-300ERs transport about 25 tonnes of belly-hold cargo. The record-breaking load, which tipped the scales at 52.87 tonnes and consisted mainly of meat exports and leather goods, not only doubled this number — it also spoke to Emirates’ high levels of exportation, Ram Menen, Emirates’ divisional senior vice president of cargo, explained.
“This milestone demonstrates our focus on meeting the needs of our customers and facilitating international trade between businesses throughout our network,” Menen said. “It also gives us the ability to increase the options we can offer our customers who rely on us to deliver their cargo quickly and efficiently.
“With a further 44 Boeing 777-300ERs on order, the aircraft has a pivotal role to play in the growth of our cargo operation,” he added.
It’s not the only aircraft Emirates SkyCargo will be relying on to grow its freight operations, however. The carrier recently welcomed a third Boeing 777F aircraft to its fleet; it will take delivery of a fourth 777F in fiscal year 2012.
“With the new additions, the freighter fleet is now up to eight and is further reducing the fleet’s average age, which is already one of the youngest in the skies,” Pradeep Kumar, Emirates’ senior vice president of cargo revenue optimization and systems, told Air Cargo World.
Fleet renovations are also necessary to address increased freight volumes, Kumar explained. Emirates SkyCargo, which recorded an 11.8-percent surge in cargo traffic in the 2010 to 2011 financial year, transported 1.8 million tonnes in this period. This achievement is even more impressive considering the current economic outlook, Kumar said.
“Despite of all of the barriers and obstacles the industry has faced during this challenging time for the global economy, Emirates SkyCargo is proud of its steady business expansion and innovation,” he told Air Cargo World.
Route expansion is another priority for the Middle Eastern freight carrier. In addition to launching five new routes in 2011, Emirates SkyCargo will commence service next year to Lusaka, Zambia; Harare, Zimbabwe; Rio de Janeiro; Buenos Aires; Dublin; Dallas; and Seattle.
The African and U.S. routes are of particular importance to the carrier, Kumar revealed. “West Asia/Asia-Pacific accounts for more than half of the cargo we carry, but we anticipate sustained growth throughout Africa and expect Lusaka and Harare to contribute,” he said. “We also have further potential for growth in the U.S. with the addition of Dallas and Seattle to the network.”
It’s all about maintaining growth despite challenging market conditions, he said. “The economic outlook is less positive than during the first quarter of this year and — as a direct result — we are witnessing continued soft-market conditions caused by economic uncertainty and a variety of other factors,” Kumar revealed to Air Cargo World. “However, we are hopeful that we will start to show signs of recovery toward the end of the current financial year, rounding up a positive 2012 to 2013 for air cargo.”