Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Freight Only Air Carrier Breaks Barriers Moving Cargo to New Destinations for 747

South America and China Open Up to Larger Aircraft
Shipping News Feature

LUXEMBOURG – CHINA – SOUTH AMERICA – All freight airline Cargolux has begun this month to offer four new destinations to its 747-8 cargo network with the first-ever 747-8 services to Xiamen, China; Latacunga, Ecuador and Aguadilla, Puerto Rico. Xiamen saw its first 747-8 service on 1 February when the Cargolux aircraft arrived from Beijing and on 3 February, Cargolux performed the inaugural 747-8 service to South America with a flight to Latacunga, previously the southernmost destination of any 747-8 operator was Panama City. On the return flight the aircraft also touched down in Aguadilla, Puerto Rico resulting in another first for the Luxembourg based carrier.

Executing the new services required some careful planning and the approval by local authorities, that cleared Aguadilla airport for 747-8 operations was the final hurdle that allows Cargolux to operate the plane, reckoned to be the most advanced freighter aircraft in its class, in South America for the first time. It was achieved with the cooperation of Cargolux, Boeing, the Aguadilla Airport Authority, the Puerto Rico Port Authority and the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA).

The next challenge for the company is to win approval for the aircraft type from the Brazilian authorities, Brazil remains one of the last countries in the Cargolux network that still has not approved its airports for 747-8 operations, a situation that remains a challenge for the Luxembourg carrier that is still limited to 747-400F services in the region. Already the company is well on the way to receive full clearance for its fleet of six Boeing 747-8F’s to work within Vietnam, enabling the company to operate the larger aircraft through almost its entire network of current destinations.