Apr 10, 2015

North America-Japan Charter Flights Marked Largest Record at 400

Warehouse and cargo-handling companies made their utmost efforts to cope with the largest scale of operations. (Photo looks over the cargo terminal zone at Narita Airport.)

The number of charter air cargo flights for Japan-North America in February and March this year influenced by cargo handling delays at the U.S. west coast ports reached approximately 400 based on the data compiled by Cargo Daily. Foreign airlines plied 338 charter flights in total in October and November 2002 to tackle with the blockade of major 29 ports in the U.S. west coast at the end of September of the same year. At that time Japan Airlines, North West Airlines, etc. were operating scheduled cargo flights between Japan and the United States and therefore numerous relief flights were plied as emergency measures. Though it is unknown whether the total emergency flights including relief flights in the recent case exceeded those of 2002, the number of charter flights indicates the largest scale of operation ever recorded. The number of charter flights amounted to 300 at Narita and 100 at Chubu.

Some 300 charter flights were in operation in February and March at Narita. At its cargo terminal area, there were cases where temporary hire of storage space was expanded to build up export cargoes and the South Cargo Zone was used for temporary storage of imported cargos.

After provisional consensus on February 20 between PMA, the employer's association of the U.S. west coast ports and ILWU, the labor union of the harbor workers in the same region on the new bargaining agreement for the next five years, demand for temporary charter flights between Japan and the U.S. has almost been satisfied. Knockdown car parts (KD) of which normally transported via ocean shipping were shifted to air since February and numerous temporary flights or charter flights plied for the U.S. from Narita and Chubu until around March 20. Imported cargos from the U.S. to Japan were refrigerated goods such as pork, alcoholic beverages, cigarettes and packaging materials for KD similar to returnable boxes.

More than 10 charter flights for the U.S. are scheduled to be plied after April from Narita. However, as the manufacturing factories in Japan are closed from the end of April to the beginning of May (so-called "Golden Week"), it is widely thought that further new flight schedule will be fixed after the middle of April through assessment of the stock positions and sales results in the U.S. DB Schenker Group, a Germany-based forwarder, which has provided regular charter flight services for Hong Kong-Chicago hiring the space on the aircraft, commenced a service calling at Narita Airport from March. Half of the space hired on the aircraft will be used by Seino Schenker, Japan-based joint venture forwarder. This service is provided based on a basis of half-year contract and provides two flights a week.

There were 61 temporary and charter flights in February to be plied from Chubu, covering 58 charter flights. Breakdown by carriers is as follows:
26 flights by Atlas Air, 12 by Kalitta Air, seven by Federal Express (FEDEX), six by Korean Air, three by TNT Express, two by Volga-Dnepr Airlines, one by Emirates, three by Western Global Airlines, two by Antonov Airlines, two by Qatar Airways, one by Polar Air Cargo Worldwide, Inc.

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