Shanghai-based cargo carrier YTO Cargo Airlines, the air cargo carrier division of YTO Express, undertook its first international cargo service, a charter flight, between Tianjin, China and Astana, the capital of Kazakhstan with 21 tonnes of cargo on 18 August.
This route became the first international cargo service for YTO Cargo Airlines with plans for nine more flights including the country’s economic centre of Almaty. This first service to Astana included a cargo of primarily electronics ordered by the Kazakh government, which will be used for government “informatisation systems” in Astana and Almaty.
The carrier plans the addition of scheduled flights to Philippines, Russia, Japan, South Korea and Macau in due course.
The airline operates a fleet of seven B737-300 freighters and five B757-200 freighters on behalf of YTO Express, one of China’s largest and fast expanding express companies founded in 2000 under the umbrella of the Shanghai YTO Jialong Investment Development Ltd.
The airline has ordered fifteen B737-800Fs which have a far larger capacity and range than their existing fleet of B737-300s and the long term plans are for the carrier to operate fifty freighters by 2020.
YTO Cargo Airlines parent, YTO Express recently signed an investment agreement with Jiaxing City in eastern China to build the company’s new USD 1.8 billion aviation logistics hub.
Located at the Jiaxing Airport (JXS) with the first phase of the project covering 96 hectares with a built up area of 600,000 sqm for an initial investment of CNY 7.3 billion (USD 1.07 billion). Total investment for the whole project is CNY 12.2 billion (USD 1.8 billion).
YTO launched its first route outside of mainland China – Wuxi (WUX)-Hong Kong – on 29 January, using a newly-acquired 30-tonne capacity B757-200F to operate the four-times weekly service with HACTL providing cargo handling in Hong Kong.
YTO Express is also a partner in the recently announced Cainiao Network initiative, the logistics arm of Alibaba Group, to lead joint venture to invest approximately USD 1.5 billion to design and build a world-class digital logistics centre at Hong Kong International Airport (HKIA).
YTO Express, is now the second largest network coverage parcel carrier in China (after China Post), handling 20 million parcels per day – mainly e-commerce goods. YTO Express is one of 14 partners that work closely with Alibaba’s Cainiao logistics subsidiary, which integrates multi-modal transport suppliers and express couriers across China, to achieve seamless delivery of express packages. The Cainiao network now averages around 42 million parcels per day.