October 27, DHL Express will launch its trans-Pacific partnership with Polar Air Cargo, a subsidiary of Atlas Air Worldwide Holdings, Inc. The inaugural flight will take off at Hong Kong International Airport (HKG) with destination Wilmington (ILN) at 16:00 hrs, local time. A Block Space Agreement (BSA) guarantees DHL Express access to 6 Polar Air Cargo Boeing 747-400F aircraft that will serve eight key destinations in Asia and the U.S. The partnership strengthens DHL’s leading position in the international express market through an improved offering on one of its major intercontinental trade lanes.
DHL will utilize Polar Air Cargo’s scheduled weekday flights from Los Angeles, Wilmington and New York via Anchorage to the Asian destinations of Hong Kong, Shanghai, Seoul and Tokyo. In addition, the partnership also covers an extended weekend schedule, with flights to Honolulu, Sydney, Sharjah and Leipzig. Commenting on the partnership, John Mullen, CEO DHL Express, underlined the important role that trans-Pacific trade plays in DHL Express’ growth strategy. ‘The partnership with Polar Air Cargo enables DHL to significantly improve its Time Definite product offering and thus become more attractive to our customers on one of the world’s most important trade lanes. Moreover, we are extending our trans-Pacific services to also include a connection to JFK, offering a Time Definite service from Asia to the US East Coast. This too will help boost our international services to and from the US,’ said Mullen. Volume on DHL’s trans-Pacific routes has been steadily increasing in recent years and despite a slowdown in 2008, overall trans-Pacific air cargo volume is expected to show double-digit growth in the mid-term.
Charles Graham, CEO Global Aviation DHL Express, stressed the operational improvements DHL can achieve through the partnership. ‘We chose Polar Air Cargo as our partner for the trans-Pacific trade lane, mainly due to their excellent operational and on-time performance and vast experience in international air cargo,’ said Graham. Polar Air Cargo has been providing airlift to DHL Express with two B747-400Fs since March 31 this year, when it replaced the regular US-HKG service that had been previously served by another carrier. ‘These flights have been operating to an outstanding on-time arrival performance of over 96%, which means that almost all flights stay within a 15 minute limit of scheduled arrival time,’ said Graham. Polar has recently achieved a globally recognized safety and quality standard (IOSA) following a stringent audit of its operational standards and procedures. The audit covered key areas of Polar’s operations: corporate organization and management structure; flight operations; flight dispatch; aircraft engineering and maintenance; ground handling; cargo operations; and airline security.
Apart from the business aspects, the partnership also helps DHL to reach immediate goals in its environmental strategy. ‘Earlier this year, we introduced the guidelines for DHL Express’ part of the GoGreen program, a DPWN group-wide program aimed at dramatically improving our CO2 efficiency by 2020. These guidelines clearly state that new aviation partnerships need to be based on sustainable technology and contribute to reaching short-term CO2 efficiency goals,’ said Graham. Carrying up to 112 tons on a maximum distance of 7,600 kilometers, the B747-400F has an excellent payload/range ratio. The aircraft also has winglets that save up to four percent of fuel per flight and contribute to its good overall fuel efficiency figures. Compared to its predecessor, the B747-200F, the B747-400F consumes 18 percent less fuel and its engine emissions are up to 50 percent lower. Furthermore, its noise footprint during take-off is approximately half that of the older generation aircraft. ‘I am proud to say that the B747-400F’s operated by Polar Air Cargo provide DHL access to the most modern and hence the most environmental-friendly aircraft technology currently available. We are glad that with this partnership we can extend