The FINANCIAL — On Monday, October 27, DHL Express will launch its TransPacific partnership with Polar Air Cargo, a subsidiary of Atlas Air Worldwide Holdings, Inc. The inaugural flight will take off at Hong Kong International Airport (HKG) with destination Wilmington (ILN) at 16:00 hrs, local time.
A Block Space Agreement (BSA) guarantees DHL Express access to 6 Polar Air Cargo Boeing 747-400F aircraft that will serve eight key destinations in Asia and the U.S. The partnership strengthens DHL's leading position in the international express market through an improved offering on one of its major intercontinental trade lanes.
DHL will utilize Polar Air Cargo's scheduled weekday flights from Los Angeles, Wilmington and New York via Anchorage to the Asian destinations of Hong Kong, Shanghai, Seoul and Tokyo. In addition, the partnership also covers an extended weekend schedule, with flights to Honolulu, Sydney, Sharjah and Leipzig. Commenting on the partnership, John Mullen, CEO DHL Express, underlined the important role that TransPacific trade plays in DHL Express' growth strategy. "The partnership with Polar Air Cargo enables DHL to significantly improve its Time Definite product offering and thus become more attractive to our customers on one of the world's most important trade lanes. Moreover, we are extending our TransPacific services to also include a connection to JFK, offering a Time Definite service from Asia to the U.S. East Coast. This too will help boost our international services to and from the U.S.," said Mullen. Volume on DHL's TransPacific routes has been steadily increasing in recent years and despite a slowdown in 2008, overall TransPacific air cargo volume is expected to show double digit growth in the mid-term.
Charles Graham, CEO Global Aviation DHL Express, stressed the operational improvements DHL can achieve through the partnership. "We chose Polar Air Cargo as our partner for the TransPacific trade lane, mainly due to their excellent operational and on-time performance and vast experience in international air cargo," said Graham. Polar Air Cargo has been providing air lift to DHL Express with two B747-400Fs since March 31 this year, when it replaced the regular US-HKG service that had been previously served by another carrier. "These flights have been operating to an outstanding on-time arrival performance of over 96 percent, which means that almost all flights stay within a 15 minute limit of scheduled arrival time," said Graham. Polar has recently achieved a globally recognized safety and quality standard (IOSA) following a stringent audit of its operational standards and procedures. The audit covered key areas of Polars operations: corporate organization and management structure; flight operations; flight dispatch; aircraft engineering and maintenance; ground handling; cargo operations; and airline security.
Apart from the business aspects, the partnership also helps DHL to reach immediate goals in its environmental strategy. "Earlier this year, we introduced the guidelines for DHL Express' part of the GoGreen program, a DPWN group-wide program aimed at dramatically improving our CO2 efficiency by 2020. These guidelines clearly state that new aviation partnerships need to be based on sustainable technology and contribute to reaching short-term CO2 efficiency goals," said Graham. Carrying up to 112 tonnes on a maximum distance of 7,600 kilometers, the B747-400F has an excellent payload/range ratio. The aircraft also has winglets that save up to 4 percent of fuel per flight and contribute to its good overall fuel efficiency figures. Compared to its predecessor, the B747-200F, the B747-400F consumes 18 percent less fuel and its engine emissions are up to 50 percent lower. Furthermore, its noise footprint during take-off is approximately half that of the older generation aircraft. "I am proud to say that the B747-400F's operated by Polar Air Cargo provide DHL access to the most modern and hence the most environmental-friendly aircraft technology currently available. We are glad that with this partnership we can extend our list of advanced aircraft that fly for us around the world."
With the Polar Air partnership, DHL Express will expand its industry-leading TransPacific service offering well into the next decade and beyond. The partnership also demonstrates that DHL remains committed to expand its No. 1 position in the international express business.
In a move to further strengthen its leading intra-regional position in Asia, DHL Express is also increasing the frequency of its dedicated Air Hong Kong flights from Hong Kong to Nagoya, Taipei, Seoul and Singapore from October 27. Flights to these cities have been increased to six times per week, up from the current five times a week, representing a 20 per cent increase in capacity for each of these four cities.
Air Hong Kong, a 60/40 joint venture between Cathay Pacific and DHL, will now operate four additional A300-600 flights on Day 6 on these routes. This represents an increased dedicated capacity of 45 tons per week on each of the four routes to serve the needs of growing intra-Asia trade.