Taipei, May 21, 2012 (CENS)--To explore the freight market across Asia and Europe to sustain its business growth amid a faltering shipping industry, China Airlines Ltd. (CAL), one of Taiwan's largest two airline companies, has opened a new freight route linking Taipei and Luxemburg via Kuala Lumpur and Chennai.
While planning to ground more of its own freighters lying idle following two ones already parked in a desert to cut operating costs, CAL, which now operates the largest freighter fleet in Taiwan to rank among the world's top 10 air cargo shippers, has decided to set up more new freight routes as part of its strategy to cope with a slack global market for air shipping.
The global market for air shipping services, in fact, once recovered in March from a severe plunge seen in January through February, but is expected to cool down starting in May due mainly to a low season. Dampened by a gloomy market, CAL saw its revenue from freight services in the first four months of this year decline by about 10% from a year earlier to NT$13.624 billion.
To revive its revenue growth, CAL has newly opened a freight route from Taipei to Luxemburg via Kuala Lumpur and Chennai in mid-May, with its Boeing 747-400F freighters dedicated to this route taking off twice on Wednesday and Sunday each every week. After setting up the new route, the company operates a total of 85 freighter flights at 32 different airports worldwide a week.
CAL stressed that it is the only Taiwanese airline flying its freighters to India's Chennai for the time being, which will help to penetrate the Indian market for air shipping services. Presently, Chennai is the third-largest air cargo terminal in the country by cargo volume, only trailing Mumbai and Delhi.
Furthermore, CAL also plans to take advantage of the new freight route to attract more air cargos destined for Europe from South and Southeast Asian countries where it runs freighter flights.
(by Steve Chuang)