Hong Kong protests impact on air cargo sector muted for now

Hong Kong protests impact on air cargo sector muted for now
Hong Kong (Laurent Fievet/Getty Images).
Published: 14 August 2019 - 8:39 a.m.
By: Logistics Middle East Staff

Freighter flights have continued to depart and arrive at Hong Kong International as usual, despite a flight stoppage ordered by Hong Kong’s airport authority on Monday and a partial stoppage on Tuesday, reports Air Cargo World.

However, cargo was booked to fly on many of the cancelled passenger flights, and so shipments moving in the belly hold will likely encounter delays in the days to come.

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Based on a combination of flight-tracking data and information from Hong Kong International Airport (HKG), only several freighter flights were cancelled on Monday.

The airport declined to comment, but Air Cargo World notes in its report that not all of them can definitively be linked to the suspension announcement by the airport:

  • Hong Kong Air Cargo A330-200F to Istanbul (IST) via Almaty (ALA)
  • Aerotranscargo 747F from Trabzon (TZX) and to Sharjah (SHJ)
  • National Airlines 747F to Delhi (DEL)
  • Emirates SkyCargo 777F to Dubai (DWC)
  • Hong Kong Air Cargo from Ho Chi Minh City (SGN)
  • UPS 747F from Taipei (TPE)
  • Cargolux 747-400F from Luxembourg (LUX) via Ashgabat (ASB) and Jakarta (CGK)

In the three to four hours after the apparent ground stop, freighter flights continued to land at HKG as scheduled and in the evening almost all of the sixteen other freighter flights scheduled for the night either departed on time or with slight delays.

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The largest impact has been on bellyhold air cargo, and experts say any disruption lasting more than a day or two could have a severe impact on global supply chains.

“Hong Kong is the world’s largest airport for cargo based on tonnage throughput,” says FreightWaves Air Cargo Market Expert Jesse Cohen.

“Any closure there has a large impact on air cargo moving in and out of China, but most airports and air carriers can recover from occasional closures for a day here or there. Anything more prolonged would be very difficult for the world’s supply chains.”

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