Dragonair Growth Hangs on Cargo

Dragonair Growth Hangs on Cargo

Copyright 2004, Traffic World, Inc.

Dragonair is pinning its hopes on cargo as it works to grow. The Hong Kong-based airline saw a 33 percent increase in its cargo volume from 2002 to 2003 and now is in the midst of adding planes rapidly to its freighter fleet. After reporting a 22 percent increase in cargo volumes for the first five months of 2004, Dragonair took delivery earlier this month of a 747-200 freighter, the fifth freighter in its fleet.

"We''ve now added a freighter to our fleet every year since 2000, in a reflection of the growth of the air cargo market in the Mainland," Dragonair CEO Stanley Hui said.

The airline plans to add five more freighters from 2006 to 2008. In addition to the new plane, Dragonair has three 747-300s and a wet-leased Airbus 300B4 in its freighter fleet. It also has 25 passenger planes.

"The addition of the freighter to our fleet will allow us to enhance Hong Kong''s position as a cargo hub for the Mainland at a time when the market there is still at an early stage of development," Hui said. "We see even greater growth opportunities going forward."

Dragonair began its cargo operation in 2000. It appointed Albert Yau as its new general manager for cargo in March. Yau has been with the airline for 14 years and previously ran the cargo division''s northern China region.

Cargo tends to make up a bigger portion of the revenue for Asian airlines than it does for combination airlines in other parts of the world. For example, China Airlines gets 46 percent of its revenue from cargo, while Northwest Airlines, which flies freighters across the Pacific, gets only 8 percent of its revenue from cargo.