Viet air cargo market unstoppable

As Vietnam's economy keeps expanding and attracting more foreign investment – surging nearly 70 per cent to a record US$20.3 billion in 2007 – dedicated cargo carriers are increasingly attracted to the northern capital of Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City in the south.

While their respective planes touch down in these two far-flung parts of Vietnam and with different frequency, the representatives of Air France Cargo and Cathay Pacific Cargo share the same optimistic view of Vietnam’s air cargo market. It’s a view being coloured by the very promising growth in volumes ofelectronic products being exported.

For years, exports from Vietnam used to be mainly garments, textiles and footwear but since late last year, electronic and other high-tech products have started to take a larger proportion of space in the aircraft cargo hold.

During the last 20 years, Air France has always relied on the bellyhold of its wide-body passenger aircraft for hauling Vietnamese goods to Europe, but as Vietnam’s economy keeps on expanding and attracting ever greater foreign investments, it has decided to have a dedicated cargo link to Ho Chi Minh City.

European carriers moving in
"We started in November last year with one weekly flight with the 747- 400ERF which could carry up to 120 tonnes of goods," said Bernard Noye, general manager of Air France Cargo in Vietnam. The routing of this weekly flight is Paris-Dubai-Saigon and on the way back, Saigon-Bangkok-Paris. "The allotment for the Paris-Saigon leg is 50 per cent of the aircraft’s capacity," he said.