Cathay Pacific Airways is awaiting government approval for the launch of a new weekly freighter service into Sri Lanka to meet demand for additional capacity in the Indian sub-continent and enhance flexibility within its cargo network. The carrier plans to inaugurate services to Colombo from December 2, 2012.
The new service to Colombo will be flown using a Boeing 747-400F and will be included within a schedule pattern also including the Indian city of Chennai. According to the Hong Kong-based carrier it will be the only operator of the 747-400F from the Sri Lankan capital and will cater for the huge volumes of garments and perishables bound for the North America, Europe and Asia markets.
“Sri Lanka is home to major garment and footwear manufacturers producing goods for well-known international brands, and also has sizeable exports of perishable products including tuna and lobster,” said Nick Rhodes, Director Cargo, Cathay Pacific Airways. “We already carry sizeable quantities of freight in the bellies of our daily passenger flights to and from Colombo, but the new freighter service will enable us to better meet the demand for Sri Lankan products in major markets around the world.”
Cathay Pacific made its debut in the Sri Lankan market in the mid-1990s launching twice weekly scheduled passenger flights from Hong Kong, via Bangkok, in October 1993 using its Lockheed L1011 TriStars. The route was upguaged to the Airbus A330 in early 1996 and a third weekly frequency was added from July 1997. The airline now offers a daily link to Colombo using Boeing 777s with flights operating to/from Hong Kong via both Bangkok and Singapore (first introduced in March 2004).