Exclusive - YTO Express Airlines to Launch Asian Charter Service

Chinese start-up cargo carrier YTO Express Airlines Co., Ltd., which has its main base in Hangzhou near Shanghai, will launch an international B737F charter service on March 10. The service, the first by a private cargo carrier in China, will operate the Shanghai-Incheon-Qingdao-Hong Kong-Shanghai route.

No shortage of shipments for newcomer YTO  /  source: hs
No shortage of shipments for newcomer YTO / source: hs

YTO Express Airlines, which is backed by Shanghai YTO Express Investment (Group) Co., Ltd. (YTO Express Group), said in a statement that the new international route will build an international platform to handle more packages in an efficient way, as well as help it expand its reach to Northeast Asia. The airline did not specify the frequency of the new service.

CAAC gave green light
Hangzhou YTO Express Airlines was set up with a total registered capital of 400 million yuan (U.S.$65m) in which YTO Express Group invested 360 million yuan for a 90% stake, with two individuals holding a 5% stake of CNY20m each. The start-up cargo carrier received approval from the Civil Aviation Authority of China (CAAC) in July 2014 and is licensed to operate domestic (including Hong Kong, Macau and Taiwan) and international cargo services.

YTO Express is upping its freighter fleet
Parent YTO Express, which was founded in 2000 and offers warehousing, distribution and transport throughout China, has pledged investment of CNY5.5bn (U.S.$888m) over the next 10 years. The express firm has 72 transshipment centres and more than 7,000 branches covering 2,100 cities all over China, of which 118 cities can be reached by air. It currently has six converted Boeing 737 freighters and plans to expand its fleet to 15 in the next three years.

Thriving e-commerce biz
The launch of the charter service is timely as China’s express delivery market is booming thanks to the thriving e-commerce business in and outside China. Observers expect the service to carry predominantly e-commerce shipments. CAAC figures indicate that China’s domestic air freight volumes will hit 6m tonnes this year.

China's largest private delivery services firm, SF Express launched express services in 2010 in Shenzhen and now operates a mixed fleet of 18 737Fs and 757Fs, while China Postal Airlines currently operates a fleet of 26, mostly converted, freighters including 12 Boeing 737-300Fs, two Boeing 737-300QCs, eight Boeing 737-400s and four B757-400Fs.

Nol van Fenema

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