With a goal of increasing freight revenue by 10 percent in 2013, Finnair Cargo will open a new cargo hub in Brussels in March, initiating new weekly MD-11 services connecting the facility with New York, Chicago and the carrier’s main hub in Helsinki.
A second MD-11 addition from the hub may follow at the end of 2013 or the beginning of 2014, with destinations determined by shipper demand, a company spokesperson told American Shipper
The carrier anticipates this Brussels hub will become a major shipping point for pharmaceuticals.
The flight to Chicago is a completely new cargo destination for Finnair, but one that the carrier is anxious to start. According to the company spokesperson, Chicago is Finland’s third biggest freight export destination, fueling total annual export activity of 2.7 million kilos. The official added that the Chicago is also a key trading destination from Belgium, Asia and Sweden.
According to Finnair, demand for its freighter routes between Asia and the United States is increasing, and flights between the region to the East Coast and Chicago are in high demand. U.S. cargo growth is coming from other regions as well. For Finnair flights from India, the carrier has had to use about 30 percent of its capacity out of the country simply for U.S. flights. In the current market, it seems the U.S. trade lane has been a steadying presence.
“Scandinavian and Nordic economies have managed to balance the European economic crisis relatively well, and therefore, demand has remained stable on U.S. flights. The new operation from Brussels and Chicago, as well as from New York JFK, have received positive response from the forwarding industry,” according to a spokesperson.
Even with what she sees as increasing demand for freighter capacity, the Finnair spokesperson said the coming year is likely to be flat in the U.S.-Europe trade lane.
“We estimate yields to remain under pressure during 2013, with no significant increases before second half of the year,” she said.
The carrier’s revenue target this year — which she called “a tough target in a sluggish demand market” — will likely then be driven by activity in the Europe-Asia trade lane.
“We are confident we can reach this goal,” the spokesperson said. “Finnair Cargo's vision is to become one of Top 5 cargo carriers between Europe and Northeast Asia by 2015.” - Jon Ross