Good news in harsh times for two HK GSAs

In a year which is reeling from the negative impact of the global financial crisis, many airlines have cut capacities, parked their planes, cut frequencies and routes, while others have done just the opposite. And this is where at least two Hong Kong-based general sales agents (GSAs) have seen the potential and grown as a result. Wong Joon San has the story from Hong Kong.

For Pacific Empire International Ltd and OA Cargo Ltd, both units of integrated logistics group ASR Holdings Ltd, the market turbulence worked out to their gain. “We generated 6,000 tonnes in 2008 and expect we can achieve 10,000 tonnes in 2009, which is nearly a 66 per cent year-on-year growth. This year, we were appointed (GSAs) by some new carriers and some airlines increased their frequencies,” says Niki Law, executive director of ASR Holdings Ltd.

Among their clients are the likes of AirAsia, AirAsia X, Britannia Airways, Jet X, Etihad Crystal Cargo and El Al, which are handled by Pacific Empire International, while OA Cargo operates as the GSA for Austrian Airlines, Coyne Airways and Air Moldova.

Growth forecast
This respectable list of airlines has resulted in Pacific Empire and OA Cargo experiencing strong growth this year due to the capacity increases of these carriers. “In 2010, we foresee we will have a 7 per cent increase in our business. As most airlines cut their routes and flights due to the financial crisis, we expect they may return to the market in 2010, so this may affect our tonnage growth,” he says.

Asked about the latest GSA business trends, he says most airlines have cuttheir budgets and manpower due to the financial crisis, and some have appointedGSAs to sell their capacity instead ofhandling the sales themselves. “We canforesee that more traditional airlines mayappoint GSAs to sell their capacity forthem,” he adds.