Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Freight Only Airline Cargolux Sees 100th Destination for New Boeing

Expansion of Services for Luxembourg Carrier
Shipping News Feature

VIETNAM – LUXEMBOURG – US – Both plane maker Boeing and Europe’s largest freight only airline, Cargolux, were celebrating this week as Noi Bai International Hanoi became the one hundredth airport to see one of the specialist 747-8 Freighter aircraft touch down just sixteen months after the model entered service. Boeing has suffered a great loss of face recently with the troubles which have afflicted the flagship Dreamliner and the Luxembourg carrier has also faced its own problems following the withdrawal of Qatari support but the success of the 747-8 F has been a bright spot for both companies. Richard Forson, Cargolux Interim President and Chief Executive Officer, emphasised the strength of feeling saying:

"As the 747-8 launch customer, I want to congratulate the Boeing and Cargolux teams for their commitment and hard work that made this achievement possible. We are proud to be the first airline to operate the 747-8F to the 100th airport worldwide that is able to accommodate this great aircraft on a commercial revenue flight. After all, it's a milestone for Boeing and Cargolux alike and a testament to the true pioneering spirit that has always characterized our two companies."

Cargolux took delivery of the very first 747-8 Freighter in October 2011 and placed it directly into service to its home base since which the 747-8 fleet has supported revenue service operations at 100 airports on six continents and has been approved for more than 240 airports around the world, which Boeing is quick to point out is significantly more than the airplane's main competitor.

Noi Bai Hanoi is the largest airport in northern Vietnam and is the 76th airport in the Cargolux network that is operated with the airline’s new 747-8 equipment. Cargolux has also increased its air cargo services to Hanoi to three weekly rotations beginning on 1 March. In addition to those flights, the airline serves Ho Chi Minh City once a week. Forson said the new service emphasised the importance of Vietnam to Cargolux, certification in Vietnam means that of all the countries served by the airline only Brazil has so far failed to certify any of its airports for the aircraft.

Eric Lindblad, vice president and general manager, 747 Program, Boeing Commercial Airplanes, pointed out that The 747 8 F fleet has been performing well in service, with a dispatch reliability of approximately 98.4 percent and the latest milestone demonstrates that the newest member of the 747 family can operate safely within an airport environment, accounting for regulatory requirements, clearances, pavement loading and parking requirements, concluding that the addition of Hanoi to the plane’s range was another testament to its capabilities.

In a separate statement Cargolux revealed that it will introduce a new air cargo service to Dallas/Fort Worth on 20 March. The twice-weekly operation is once again to be served by 747-8 freighters. The inaugural flight, as well as all following flights on Wednesdays, are routed via Baku and Hong Kong and will return to Luxembourg after touching down in Dallas/Fort Worth. Offering increased network reach to customers, this service expands the airline’s Trans-Pacific services with a new product and satisfies the demand for electronic components and IT-related commodities from Asia to Texas.

Cargolux’s three other Trans-Pacific flights from Asia connect to Chicago and New York. The second weekly service to Dallas operates on Saturdays and is routed via Mexico, consequently allowing Cargolux to serve this destination five times a week. The return flight connects Dallas directly to Luxembourg. This second service starts on 23 March 2013.

Photo: Crew and ACS ground staff celebrate the inaugural flight at Hanoi’s Noi Bai International airport.