Freight-only operator Polar Air Cargo touches down at Auckland Airport for the first time today in what will be a regular weekly connection between Sydney, Australia and Seoul Incheon Airport, South Korea.
It becomes the sixth airline operating scheduled international freighter services to and from Auckland Airport and the first dedicated freighter link between Auckland Airport and Seoul Incheon Airport, said Scott Tasker, General Manager Aeronautical Commercial at Auckland Airport.
'It's a significant vote of confidence to have a new operator flying into Auckland Airport and providing some much-needed cargo capacity. This freighter service to Seoul Incheon Airport provided by Polar Air Cargo also opens up additional connectivity options to and from key Asian markets beyond South Korea,' he said.
'With the continued growth of e-commerce, the resulting air cargo demand, and shortage of cargo belly space on passenger aircraft, freight forwarders rely more than ever on freighter aircraft to move their goods,' said Lars Winkelbauer, EVP & Chief Operating Officer, Polar Air Cargo Worldwide. 'Adding the new air route through Auckland will help drive the growth and export opportunities for our customers by connecting them in key markets in Asia and North America.'
The latest air cargo figures show international air freight demand has declined 19% year-on-year for July 2020, with total international freight capacity at Auckland Airport falling 46% for the month of July 2020, in line with the previous month. Auckland Airport currently processes more than 90% of New Zealand's international air cargo.
'With the borders closed to everyone except returning New Zealanders and departing travellers, freight has really settled into a pattern of lower available capacity and high utilisation of available space. The steep reduction in air connectivity typically provided by passenger aircraft, which prior to the pandemic supplied 80% of available cargo capacity in their belly-holds, is contributing to this capacity shortfall,' said Mr Tasker.
'Having Polar adds a new option for New Zealand air deliveries and freight forwarders, particularly in the express segment.'
Polar Air Cargo will be flying the route with a Boeing 747-8F - the latest and largest variant of the 747 jumbo jet - capable of carrying up to 133 tonnes of payload. Polar is an Atlas Air Worldwide company. Through a strategic partnership with DHL Express, Polar provides capacity to DHL Express and brings the high-reliability service required in the express business, convenient schedules and a strong network to some of the world's largest freight forwarders.