Mangoes and express keep BA sweet

Tapping strong Asian premium business and lucrative China-India fifth freedom traffic has helped boost British Airways World Cargo¡¯s volumes even as capacity declines.

A strong mango season out of India and higher levels of premium business out of Asia as a whole helped British Airways World Cargo to increase cargo traffic by 4.1 per cent in the quarter to June, even though capacity fell by 3 per cent on its network overall. The carrier also saw a sharp rise in US exports, although it struggled with tough market conditions out of Europe and the UK.

According to Tony Nothman, senior vice president Middle East, Africa and Asia Pacific for BAWC, demand for premium traffic has been so good on some Asian routes that in some markets – for example Hong Kong and Islamabad – the carrier has made its belly capacity premium-traffic only. Demand out of Shanghai and Beijing for premium products has also been strong.

“The opening of our Premia facility a year ago at Heathrow has enabled us to optimise our flights more effectively, and that has certainly given us an advantage,” Nothman says. Among the products offered include Prioritise (an express product), Courier, and Constant Climate for perishables.

The latter product is not yet available in India, as BAWC says the expertise and infrastructure is not currently in place at Indian airports to handle the Envirotainers used for this service. But Mat Burton, area manager for India and Nepal says there is nevertheless strong demand for the Prioritise service from Indian pharmaceutical companies.