Cargo remains strong at Changi

COVID-19 vaccines arrive at Singapore's Changi Airport on 21 December. (PHOTO: Ministry of Communications and Information)
(PHOTO: Singapore government)

Cargo demand is up at Singapore’s Changi Airport which reported on 31 December total airfreight throughput from January to November in 2021 hit 1.76 million tonnes or 96 percent of the 1.84 million tonnes reached over the same period in pre-pandemic 2019, according to Changi Airport Group (CAG). It was also a 26 percent jump from the 1.4 million tonnes moved from January to November 2020, when throughput for the full year fell to 1.54 million tonnes, from 2.01 million tonnes in 2019 at the height of pandemic restrictions and lockdowns worldwide.

CAG said as of the first week of December 2021, Changi Airport was registering about 1,000 weekly scheduled and charter cargo flights including passenger aircraft converted to carry cargo (so-called “preighters”). Last year, more than 50 passenger airlines launched more than 23,000 flights carrying only cargo to and from Changi Airport, according to local media reports.

There were more than 540 weekly freighter-only flights as at the first week of December, a rise of 72 percent from December 2019. The introduction of new freighter operators to Changi Airport over the past two years has helped minimise supply chain disruptions by supporting the flow of essential goods such as personal protective equipment, pharmaceuticals and food supplies, said CAG.

South Korean budget carrier Air Premia recently launched a weekly flight from Incheon city to Singapore using converted passenger planes to bring in COVID-19 test kits, e-commerce goods, fabric, and agricultural products including strawberries, according to an ST report. Air Premia follows the addition of Australia’s Tasman Cargo in June and India’s SpiceJet in February last year, as well as China’s YTO Cargo in November 2020 and American airline Kalitta in April earlier that year. In October FedEx Express doubled its weekly flights between Sydney and Singapore and added a new weekly flight connecting the city-state with Paris.

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