Cathay, HK airport authority offer cargo discounts as protests continue

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The Cathay Pacific Group is boosting the competitiveness of Hong Kong International Airport (HKG) as a global cargo hub by introducing a new Terminal Charge concession, effective from 1 April 2020, as months of protests continue to rock business confidence in Hong Kong.

Clearly a move aimed at shoring up confidence in Hong Kong’s logistics capabilities in the face of unresolved and ongoing protests in the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (SAR), customers of export shipments from Hong Kong on the group’s four airlines – Cathay Pacific, Cathay Dragon, AHK Air Hong Kong and HK Express – will enjoy a saving HK$0.3 (USD 0.038) per kilogramme for both general cargo and special cargo.

The reduction ranges from 18 to more than 20 per cent compared with the current charge levels, with the concession  partially contributed by the Airport Authority of Hong Kong (AAHK).

Over six months of protests have seriously hurt local businesses and virtually dried up tourist arrivals as the democracy protests have spiralled into increasing violence. Mainland Chinese tourists, a key component of tourist arrivals in Hong Kong have all but dried up, with cargo volumes from mainland China also taking a hit.

Hong Kong freight forwarders, who do not wish to be identified, tell that shippers in China are being discouraged by the Beijing authorities from shipping cargo out of Hong Kong, instead being pressured to use mainland hubs such as Shenzhen Bao’an International Airport (SZX) and Guangzhou Baiyun International Airport (CAN), among others.

Cathay Pacific chief customer and commercial officer Ronald Lam says: “We are driving the Terminal Charge concession to reinforce the competitiveness of Hong Kong International Airport. Cathay Pacific has been Hong Kong’s home airline for more than seven decades and we are immensely proud of the efforts and achievements we’ve made in helping it become the largest and most efficient multi-modal integrated logistics and aviation hub in Asia and the world.

“We take it upon ourselves as the home carriers to ensure that our hub continues to grow with increasing volume. By offering great service, world-class niche solutions, attractive value and unrivalled connectivity across the globe, we continue to give our passenger and cargo customers more reasons to choose Cathay Pacific and Hong Kong,” Lam adds.

Moving forward, Cathay says the concession also helps cargo customers to mitigate the cost impact of new International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO) security regulations that will begin rolling out progressively from the start of next year.

ICAO has mandated 100 per cent screening of non-known consignee cargo by June 20, 2021. In September Hong Kong pushed back the roll-out of tighter cargo screening requirements in light of the current market downturn.

The Civil Aviation Department (CAD) said it would delay the screening of 25 per cent of all non-known consignee shipments from 1 October, to 1 January 2020.

From May, 40 per cent of cargo non-known consignee cargo will need to be screened, in September (2020) this will increase to 70 per cent and then in March (2020) it will be pushed to 100 per cent.

Hong Kong also introduced, in October 2018, the Regulated Air Cargo Screening Facilities Scheme (RACSF) to allow cargo to be screened at off-airport locations.

The Cathay Pacific Group comprises premium global airline Cathay Pacific, regional full-service airline Cathay Dragon, low-cost carrier HK Express and all-cargo carrier AHK Air Hong Kong. The Group currently offers passenger and cargo services to more than 200 destinations around the world.

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