Air Cargo Quarterly - Good News at BAWC

By: | at 08:00 PM | Channel(s): Air Cargo News  

By Karen E. Thuermer, AJOT
British Airways World Cargo (BAWC) is poised to take on more of the world, particularly coming off positive first quarter results that indicate revenues of £118 million for the first quarter of BAWC’s financial year, beginning April 2004. The figure represents an increase of four percent over the same period last year.
“The figure is against a softer last year because of the Iraq war and SARs,” says Bob Kujala, senior vice president for cargo sales of the Americas. “But this is still good news.”
The volume of cargo traffic carried across the airline’s international network increased by 17% to 1,217 million Cargo Tonne Kilometers (CTKs) from 1,040 million CTKs during the same period in 2003. Against a backdrop of continued unrest in Iraq and increasing fuel prices, BAWC has capitalized on extra capacity it added last year with the expansion of its freighter network.
“We have made a long-term commitment to our customers to grow our business to meet their requirements and we’ve started the new financial year in good shape,” says Gareth Kirkwood, BAWC managing director.
But officials are more than aware that pressures on price continue to challenge the business.
“These figures should not lead to complacency,” Kirkwood says.
Consequently, BAWC is investing in new services that will enable the carrier to offer the first direct freighter service from the United Kingdom to Shanghai. Further additions to the schedule will include Chicago and Kuwait.
Starting September 19th, BAWC will begin offering a fourth 747-200F freighter service out of Chicago.
“This complements our 747-400s flying in our freighter fleet,” Kujala says. “The service will be an integrated schedule departing Chicago on Sunday and arriving Stansted London Airport the next day. The service will connect to freighters servicing Johannesburg, Dubai and Dammam. The service then goes on to Shanghai.
The biggest news, however, is that for the first time the service will also include network service enhancements from Chicago to Kuwait. Kujala refers to this addition as “probably the biggest deal going” for BAWC.
“By connecting to our freighter network at Stansted, this not only gives the opportunity to connect to our freighter fleet into the UK-London hub, this hub gives us a myriad of destinations throughout the world,” Kujala says.
The additional capacity will strengthen BAWC’s global network to and from Asia Pacific, the Indian sub-continent, the Middle East, Europe and the United States.
Besides creating efficiencies, Kujala points out that the service offers the US freight forwarding community opportunities for additional capacity into the Middle East.
“The Middle East is currently our biggest lane segment of growth from the United States,” Kujala says. The re-supplying of troops for the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan have certainly created business opportunity. But Kujala points to opportunities within the oil industry as well.
“That’s why our third freighter flies to Houston,” he says. “It picks up a lot of freight flying to Damman, Kuwait and Dubai. Theses are major markets for us now out of the United States.”
China also offers immense opportunities unparalleled by any world market.
“Our service to Shanghai is to capitalize on the explosive growth in China, since their Gross Domestic Product is growing at eight percent,” Kujala says. “We expect China’s GDP will continue to grow between eight and 10% a year. There is no other place in the world close to experiencing that type of growth. With that growth, we need to capitalize on that opportunity.” BAWC has always operated with a philosophy of putting freighters into situations where there is demand.
“In this case, we are growing the network to the customers’ demand around the world,” Kujala.
Kujala points out, however, that the service between Shanghai and Stansted is largely in place as a feeder for Europe.
“This is in response to the United Kingdom asking for rights to service the Chinese market

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American Journal of Transportation