Fred Ruggiero, vice-president cargo, Americas for Cathay Pacific, has reported on a “very strong year in the Americas so far” for the Hong Kong-headquartered carrier.
“Our monthly network performance has continued to grow from last year’s base and July was a particularly strong month for transhipment volumes from the US via Hong Kong,” he observed.
“We have built good momentum and want it to continue.”
But the sky isn’t completely blue, of course, Ruggiero warning of the potential problems to cargo volumes caused by the current threat to international free trade.
To date, he said, the biggest impact has been on maritime shipping, but he noted that any diminution in consumer confidence in the Americas or elsewhere would soon impact cross-border airfreight traffic.
Approximately 20% of the cargo carried by Cathay Pacific from the US is destined for mainland China, he informed, with the balance bound for Hong Kong or other destinations across Asia.
But, while the danger of a more protectionist international trade environment is certainly a concern, Ruggiero said he remains “cautiously optimistic that the parties involved will find a way to make global trade work”.
Moreover, he added: “Having the ability to schedule aircraft according to demand is one of the benefits of having a large network.
“We are closely monitoring the situation and will remain agile,” Ruggiero promised.
And that concern about the global trade environment is not preventing Cathay Pacific from electing to increase its US services from 32 to 39 freighter frequencies a week for the peak fourth-quarter season.
Moreover, “We are optimistic about the year-end results,” he enthused, pointing in particular to contribution of the cargo carrier’s expansion of operations through Oregon’s Portland International Airport.
“In summer, we increased our freighter services to Portland from three to six flights a week to cope with demand from the cherry harvest,” Ruggiero recalled.
“We’re approaching our second year of operations there and the Port of Portland is very pleased with how our service has grown.
“There is no doubt the service has boosted the trade links between the Pacific Northwest and Asia. When we launch our passenger service to Seattle in May next year, the trade links will the further strengthened.
“There’s plenty to look forward to in the America,” he concluded…