AirAsia’s Teleport expanding cargo business

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(PHOTO: Teleport)

AirAsia Group’s cargo arm Teleport has expanded its cargo business with the first dedicated freighter and plans to add six more freighters by 2023. Pete Chareonwongsak, chief executive of Teleport, said with the aim to generate 25 percent of revenue for AirAsia Group in the long run, its network requires a larger capacity from the belly space in passenger planes, planes with no seats and freighters.

Chareonwongsak said Southeast Asia still has market potential to be absorbed, so it might convert a number of airplanes from AirAsia Group’s fleet of 360 airplanes in order to serve the cargo service in the future. “During more than 18 months of the pandemic, even though passengers could not fly, we are still growing faster than during the pre-pandemic period,” he said. In terms of fundraising, Teleport is in the process of raising capital which should be concluded before the end of this year. Chareonwongsak said the company’s plan to raise funds of US$50 million -100 million reflected the ambition to list the company within three years.

Teleport has spanned its network across 232 cities and 115 routes and is considered the third largest cargo operator in Southeast Asia by capacity, with a fleet of 252 planes under partnership with airlines, including Singapore Airlines, SpiceJet and IndiGo. Its cargo fleet is comprised of Boeing 737-800 freighters, AirAsia Group’s passenger planes and Airbus A320 modified plane with seats removed to add cargo capacity.

Adrian Loretz, Teleport’s chief operating officer, said dedicated freighters will serve high-demand routes including Southeast Asia and China. Due to a surge in cargo demand, Teleport has had to shift strategy to focus on pure cargo network. At present, it has five to six cargo aircraft that operate in Thailand, mainly at Suvarnabhumi airport. Loretz said the country’s reopening is good for aviation, but cargo supply, particularly from key markets like China and Hong Kong, might take at least until mid-2022 to gain more capacity from passenger flights which are almost completely halted now.

Group Chief Executive Officer of AirAsia Aviation, Bo Lingam, added “With borders reopening worldwide in varying phases, building a more robust and resilient cargo network is vital to empowering the Teleport brand and AirAsia group as a whole. Teleport is on the right track to contribute to the logistical accessibility and the growing demand of the region. It’s evident that Teleport is committed to supporting businesses of all sizes, particularly with the rapid growth of e-commerce and the upcoming year-end surge.”

Teleport’s 737-800 freighter was acquired through a multi-year agreement with K-Mile Asia, Thailand’s express freight airline, further paving the way for its cargo expansion and stamping its mark as a leading logistics player in the region. Commenting on Teleport’s partnership with K-Mile, Loretz said, “It was important for us to join forces with a strong partner like K-Mile Asia as we expand our logistics footprint across Asia. Their expertise in operating these aircraft with high reliability and punctuality will allow us to extend our regular cargo  schedule to meet these specific demand to key cities in Asia.”

Chief Executive Officer of K-Mile Asia, Kledchai Benjaathonsirikul, said “We are excited to be partnering with Teleport in providing more avenues to transport cargo to different cities across Asia. We foresee a long-term partnership as we grow the logistics industry together. At K-Mile, our business is focussed on air operations for express integrators and charter services, and we will deliver the reliability and quality required to support Teleport’s speed and network.”

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