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Cargo-centric’ strategy reaps record revenue for China Airlines

By Alfred Chua, Flight Global

China Airlines has disclosed record cargo revenues for 2021, as it doubles down on what it calls a “cargo-centric business model”.

For the full year, the Taiwanese carrier says cargo revenue surpassed NT$100bn ($3.6bn), the highest in its 62 years of operations.

China Airlines also stated that freighter revenue in December hit a single-month high of more than NT$15.4bn.

While it has yet to disclose its full-year earnings, the uptick in cargo takings is expected to help offset a collapse in passenger travel revenue amid the pandemic, and provide a lift to the carrier’s profitability.

China Airlines’ cargo unit operates a fleet of 21 dedicated freighters, comprising 18 Boeing 747-400Fs, as well as three 777 freighters.

The SkyTeam carrier mounted around 540 cargo flights a month, averaging around 120 flights weekly.

It added: “The integration of passenger and freighter capacity along with continued optimisation of schedules and connections meant that over a hundred passenger and freighter charter flights were dispatched in a given month.”

China Airlines, along with compatriot EVA Air, swung back to profitability in the third quarter of 2021, amid a steady rise in revenue. In previous quarters, both carriers have pointed to a strong cargo performance as a key factor in boosting their earnings.

“China Airlines will continue to focus on its cargo operations, closely monitor developments in the passenger market, and carefully review its passenger market strategy, as it works to maximise its operational profits,” the carrier said.

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