The airline’s head of cargo James Woodrow said that there had been a shift in capacity from freighters to passenger bellies in the Asia to Europe market and that the Manchester freighters were no longer economically viable alongside Cathay’s other UK main-deck and belly-hold cargo capacity.
He stressed that the carrier was still operating twice-weekly freighters and multiple daily passenger frequencies to and from London’s Heathrow airport, although he acknowledged concerns about some customer losses in the six months prior to the new direct Manchester-Hong Kong flights.
“Yes this is a concern. However, we have excellent frequency from Heathrow in our passenger belly, and with BA already pulling out their B747-8 freighters, we offer a competitive main-deck nose-door product ex Heathrow,” he said.
“With five B777-300ERs per day and two freighters per week , there was not enough main-deck requirement to make the MAN freighters economically viable in addition to this LHR capacity.”
“This gives us sufficient capacity to serve the UK market direct and the two nose-door freighters later each week allows us to carry the freight from Hong Kong into UK as well as pick up the main-deck cargo from the UK market into Asia (including into BOM) and Australasia. We will therefore look to truck cargo to LHR and in December will offer the Manchester passenger belly four times per week. “