China’s air cargo industry has been continuously advancing, demonstrating remarkable resilience and offering significant opportunities to both domestic and international players.
Airlines, airports, and various stakeholders within the industry are vigorously pursuing strategies to expand their horizons. They are accomplishing this by increasing their freighter fleets, introducing new flight routes, enhancing infrastructure, optimizing operational efficiency, and more.
SF Airlines, China’s largest cargo airline in terms of fleet size, has taken a major leap toward its ambition of becoming a world-class, large-scale cargo carrier by expanding its fleet to include 86 freighters. This expansion of their freighter fleet and air-route network is poised to significantly improve air-express delivery efficiency during events like the Double 11 shopping extravaganza and other high-demand logistics periods.
Headquartered in Shenzhen, in southern China, SF Airlines operates as the aviation arm of China’s leading courier enterprise, SF Express. This expanded fleet not only augments the company’s air-route network but also accelerates the delivery of time-sensitive goods.
The air cargo sector plays a pivotal role in stabilizing both industrial and supply chains, particularly in light of recent global challenges.
China’s civil air transport industry has maintained an impressive trajectory of recovery. In August, its transport turnover reached 11.61 billion tonne-kilometers, marking an 87.4 percent year-on-year increase. This demonstrates that China’s air transport industry has surpassed pre-pandemic levels for two consecutive months, according to data from the Civil Aviation Administration of China (CAAC). Additionally, the industry handled 636,000 tonnes of air cargo in August, reflecting a 1.1 percent increase from the same period in 2019, according to CAAC statistics.
Major industry players, both within China and internationally, are deriving significant benefits from the thriving air cargo sector, which is buoyed by the resurgence of air transport.
Ezhou Huahu Airport achieved a significant milestone in mid-October, with its throughput surpassing 100,000 tonnes. The airport has been actively expanding its air routes and adding new infrastructure to bolster its capacity. Launched in July 2022, Ezhou Huahu Airport is China’s inaugural cargo-focused airport, with ambitions to become a world-class air cargo hub. The airport is committed to continually enhancing its cargo-handling capabilities and operational efficiency.
Eddy Chan, FedEx Senior Vice President and President of FedEx China, expressed optimism about China’s economic recovery, stating, “China’s economy has been on a steady path to recovery, opening up new opportunities in the air cargo industry.” FedEx is expanding its air cargo network, incorporating digital technologies to enhance services, introducing environmentally friendly facilities and vehicles into the Chinese market, and collaborating with local partners to upgrade infrastructure and establish air cargo hubs.
FedEx currently operates over 300 international air-cargo flights per week in China and provides express delivery services through its Asia-Pacific Hub in Guangzhou, International Express-and-Cargo Hub in Shanghai, and four gateway operation centers across China.
Chan emphasized their commitment to further tapping into the growing Chinese air cargo sector, focusing on delivering high-quality and sustainable growth by enhancing services, strengthening the network, and promoting environmentally friendly practices.