Saudi Cargo thriving in emerging markets

‘Under the radar’ is probably the best way to describe Saudi Airlines Cargo – although it is clearly a descriptor that has increasingly become less valid over the last couple of years as the carrier began a careful, but not insubstantial ramp-up of services and capacity. Donald Urquhart has the story.

Saudi Cargo thriving in emerging markets

But even now with its expanding network and fleet, alongside plans
for fleet renewal and a somewhat ambitious foray into new territory – South America – the carrier’s approach is still best described as low key. Much of this is likely emanates from the casual style
of Saudi Cargo’s VP Commercial, Peter Scholten.

With oversight for Saudi Cargo’s scheduled freighter services with a fleet of 13 freighters, Scholten and his team also sells the belly-capacity of Saudi Arabian Airlines with its fleet of 140 passenger
aircraft on a rapidly expanding global network of 225 destinations.

It seems counterintuitive in a market where global cargo growth headed south for at least half a year from mid-2011 and has virtually flat-lined throughout the first half of this year, that a carrier would be doing as well as Saudi Cargo is. Last year Scholten’s cargo division experienced a near miraculous growth of 30 per cent and while this year may not reach the same level, the affable Dutchman reckons it will also be a year of healthy growth.

The growth story
But again, seemingly defying the logic, Saudi Cargo opened five new stations this year alone – Dubai World Central, Vienna, Frankfurt, Accra in Ghana and Ho Chi Minh City in Vietnam – all served by B747- 400 freighters, except for Vienna which is served by an MD11 freighter. Alongside this has been the expansion of capacity – either through increased frequency or up-sizing depending on the route – on a number of services to China, Africa and even economically stricken Europe.