Impact Publications : AirCargo-261
Page 10 • AirCArgo AsiA-PACifiC SEPT, 2019 comment latam boosts services to Colombia and Peru thanks to its freighter fleet lift and new ports LATAM Cargo has confirmed a significant increase in its operations in the Colombian and Peruvian markets. Additional services to Bogota and Lima will boost the company’s position in those two strategic im- port markets. The South American carrier plans to add 12 fre- quencies between Bogota and Miami and, as a consequence, the company is expected to double its operations between Colombia and the United States. Import operations into Colombia also will expand as the company increases freighter operations between Miami and Bogota to eight flights per week. The expansion in Colombia will take place gradually between September and December. Operations will also be expanded in Peru. In September the company will initiate a freighter service from Miami to Lima with two flights per week. Additionally, in December Latam Airlines Peru will upgrade its passenger service from Madrid to Lima from B767 to B787-9 aircraft, tripling its cargo capacity. The growth of freighter operations will be possi- ble thanks to the addition of two Boeing 767-300BCF, increasing the fleet to 11 aircraft. The first one joined in July of this year and the second one is expected to start flying in December 2019. “The expansion into Colombia and Peru is fully aligned with the group’s long-term network strat- egy,” said Andres Bianchi, chief executive Latam Cargo. “The new services to Bogota and Lima and the expansion out of Colombia will enable us to consol- idate our network as the most comprehensive into South America.” Hong Kong will remain a prime cargo airport AMID the speculation, hype, counterclaims, facts and false news of the current Hong Kong protests, a ques- tion of prime importance to the cargo and logistics sector is: Will Hong Kong International Airport survive as a great air freight port? The short answer is ‘yes’, but the longer response revolves around investor confidence, carrier safety concerns, the availability of credible alternatives, the stance of the Chinese central government and the fu- ture governance model of the Hong Kong SAR. Delays caused by protestors blocking airport servic- es are only problematic in the short term and don’t in themselves threaten the longer term viability of HKIA’s cargo status, because one way or another – hopefully by peaceful resolution - the protests will end. Until they do, the central government is in a bind. Of- ficials are well aware of Hong Kong’s economic impor- tance, including the airport and marine port facilities that underpin the manufacturing might of the greater Pearl Delta region as well as the SAR itself. But they can scarcely ignore civil unrest that could trigger demands elsewhere for local autonomy. Their concerns include customers in the United States and Europe that might look for manufacturing alternatives for mainstay commodities such as elec- tronic components and toys. Some of those customers already are impacted by the US/China trade dispute. Taiwanese investors, whose role is a mix of prof- it-making and political pragmatism given the PRC’s clearly-stated policy of eventually bringing Taiwan back into the fold, could sell down, with a sharp impact on HKIA - although perhaps not for long. However, as well as trader, manufacturer and shipper angst, the financial services sector also is uneasy about the unrest. When banks are worried, their concern can help dampen a volatile situation. But it also can con- tribute to uncertainty. HSBC, Hong Kong’s biggest bank, said in an advertise- ment that ‘social stability and remaining calm in the face of challenges are the cornerstones of Hong Kong’s success. Maintaining the rule of law is essential to the international financial centre that is unique to Hong Kong.’ And ‘unique’ Hong Kong definitely is, including in air cargo terms. In the past decade, several PRC airports have evolved as important cargo portals, although only a few have any chance of becoming alternatives to Hong Kong. While HKIA might suffer a cargo downturn at some point, its status seems likely to be maintained. - Kelvin King.