We reported in a previous issue of CargoForwarder Global on Shanghai- based YTO Express plans to acquire companies outside of China, specifically in South East Asia.
The company has also revealed plans for a further fleet expansion to cope with future demand and to fit in with their regional expansion planning.
Boeing 757 freighters high on the list
It is said that YTO Express is looking to acquire up to ten Boeing 757 freighters in the near future. These will be converted passenger aircraft, which the company still has to negotiate with other airlines or conversion specialists.
The plans to speed up the expansion of the fleet come as a surprise to some considering that the airline first took to the air just about two years ago.
YTO’s present fleet consists of five B737-300Fs which are used mainly on inner Chinese mail and cargo sectors. A sixth B737F is said to be almost ready to join the fleet.
The company has made no secret of the fact that they plan to expand services internationally, particularly in those South East Asia areas where they are presently looking at further company acquisitions.
China’s cargo boom dictates larger fleets
The boom in the Chinese e-commerce sector and general air cargo growth has prompted quite a few of the country’s cargo operators to have a new look at their present fleet status in order to keep pace with what many see as an impressive growth in this sector during the coming five to ten years.
Used medium sized freighters are becoming very difficult to come by and even converted passenger aircraft in the B767, B757 and B737 range are starting to be hard to pin down.
YTO Express also holds firm to their Chinese domestic programme and intend to upgrade present B737-300Fs to the more modern and large B737-800BCF for which the carrier is launch customer with
Boeing, having ordered ten with options for a further ten.
Expansion is on the cards, but where will YTO express, and the other fast growing Chinese carriers, get suitable pilots to operate their ever growing fleets?
YTO has long stated that they plan to be operating fifty freighter aircraft by 2020. That’s just 3 years away from now.
It will be interesting to see whether crew acquisition and suitable training methods can keep pace with the growing demand in this vast country.
John Mc Donagh