China-UK air freight capacity increases through Bournemouth Airport

European Cargo now operating up to nine flights a week with a third aircraft now dedicated to the route

China-UK air freight capacity increases through Bournemouth Airport
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Bournemouth Airport’s Cargo First air freight business announced an increase in capacity between Bournemouth and China with carrier European Cargo now operating up to nine flights a week with a third aircraft now dedicated to the route.

"It means capacity on the e-commerce route has tripled in the six months since Shenzhen Sharing Express Logistic-Tech started the first all-cargo route between Chengdu Shuangliu International Airport in China and Bournemouth Airport in April with three flights per week," says a release from Cargo First.

The increase to nine flights means there is almost 700 tonnes of import capacity on the route, which is exclusively served by Bournemouth-based European Cargo's fleet of all-cargo Airbus A340 wide-bodied freighters, each with a capacity of 76 tonnes, the release added.

“In the push to improve choice and service for U.K. consumers, we are delighted to expand our capabilities with our mutual customer," says David Kerr, Chief Executive, European Cargo. "By partnering with Cargo First and the team at Bournemouth, to provide effective solutions into the supply chains of expanding online retailers, we have grown our repertoire.

“Now the U.K.’s largest commercial freighter operator, we continue to expand our portfolio of customers and origins with new agreements in place through 2024. Additional capacity coming on stream in the first quarter of 2024 is fully committed to customers looking to enhance their capabilities, deploying the uniquely tailored dual-density freighter solution offered by ECL coupled with the dedicated support of Cargo First’s fulfilment capabilities.”

Steve Gill, Managing Director, Bournemouth Airport adds: "This continued growth is further evidence of Bournemouth's increasing stature as an e-commerce gateway to the U.K. It reflects the confidence Chinese e-tailers have in the U.K. e-commerce market, which remains the most mature in Europe, and growing recognition that Bournemouth is a cost-effective and uncongested alternative to the busy hub airports."

The growing importance of the route as an e-commerce gateway was underlined by a reciprocal trade mission between Sichuan Province and Bournemouth in August. "This included the signing of a cargo development agreement between Sichuan Province Airport Group Company and Regional & City Airports (owner of Bournemouth Airport) to provide a stable logistics channel for the import and export of e-commerce goods."

Around half of consignments from Chengdu are clearing customs locally in Bournemouth and bypassing Heathrow warehouses altogether for onward travel in the U.K, the release added.

Bournemouth Airport and Cargo First are part of the U.K.’s privately-owned Regional and City Airports (RCA) group, which also owns Coventry Airport, Exeter Airport and Norwich Airport.

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