Saudi Airlines Cargo has announced that cargo volume transported in the first half of 2013 rose by four per cent year on year to a record 270,000 tons while driving revenue up six per cent.
In the six months to June, bellyhold cargo volume increased by 29 per cent, with the main contributors being the US (+50 per cent) and the UK (+40 per cent), while cargo boardings on the freighter network was up by three per cent, a statement from the carrier said.
According to the Shipping Gazette, the airline attributed the growth in cargo volume to a number of factors, including the raising of its freighter capacity from Dhaka and the commencement of Boeing 747 freighter flights in Mumbai and Kano in the first half of the year. It also started operations with its first B747-8F in June, currently scheduled on Riyadh, Hong Kong, Riyadh, Frankfurt, Saudi flight rotations.
It said that revenues from chartering activities were lower than expected in the period from January to June owing to a shortage of aircraft availability. As of July 2013, however, the airline increased its fleet to 15 aircraft (four MD11s and 11 B747s), three of which are dedicated to offering sufficient capacity in the growing ad hoc charter market.
"Although the current market is a bit soft, we still expect to achieve a 10 per cent growth during the second half of the year," said CEO Nabil Khojah. "This is principally due to the boost in our charter activity, optimisation of our freighter network, adjustments to freighter schedules and increases in the number of freighters to some of our key destinations."