ECS gains strong presence in Asia with Jetstar deal

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The ECS Group has pulled off a major coup in Asia by winning a general sales and service agent (GSSA) contract with Singapore-based airline Jetstar Asia.

From 22 October, ECS will look after the carrier’s cargo business through Singapore Changi Airport and the 25 stations across its vast network – as Jetstar Asia seeks to bolster its freight business in the region.

Jetstar Asia is especially prominent in emerging and fast growing air cargo markets like Vietnam, Cambodia, Indonesia and Myanmar, and has extensive connections into China, Japan, Hong Kong and Taiwan.

Excited ECS Group chief operating officer, Adrien Thominet (pictured below) tells Air Cargo Week it will be setting up a dedicated office in Singapore to meet the needs and demands of the contract.

He says it took four to five months for the total cargo management deal to be agreed and ECS will look to boost cargo sales with existing and new customers, while it will also manage freight enquiries, reservations and processes on behalf of the carrier to ensure smooth movement of cargo.

Asia is a key part of the ECS growth strategy, and in June it bought a majority stake in the AVS GSA Group, which has a strong presence in the Asian and South East Asian region.

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Thominet notes the region is “quite active” with “a lot of opportunities” and the contract with Jetstar will give it a lot of connections across Asia on the carrier’s expansive network with many on widebody aircraft.

He says Jetstar Asia also has a number of “interesting” and exciting interline agreements with the likes of Air France, British Airways, Lufthansa, China Southern, Turkish Airlines, KLM, Fiji Airways and Air Mauritius.

Thominet says Jetstar Asia’s major strength is South East Asia, which is an especially interesting region for interline agreements and it has agreed a “strong co-operation” with the carrier, adding ECS will need to “speak and be like an airline”.

Jetstar Asia’s head of commercial, Francis Loi says the appointment of ECS is “timely” due to the increasing intra-Asia cross-border trade driven by a growing middle-class in the region.

Loi notes: “The rapid growth of the e-commerce marketplace in Asia is shaping the demand for airfreight as e-sellers and e-buyers prefer airfreight for expedited deliveries. Demand for fresh perishables and special cargo across the region is expected to grow as consumption in Asia Pacific rise.

“Our partnership with ECS will be built on the solid base of customers already established with Qantas Freight since 2011.

“Existing freight customers will continue to enjoy our reliable scheduled services across the network via Singapore and beyond, while the new capabilities from ECS will allow us to tap into new cargo business segments.”

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ECS Group chief executive officer, Bertrand Schmoll (pictured above) adds the contract confirms its “solid presence” in South East Asia, and says ECS is “equipped to deliver the network and support for the final mile distribution for freight customers today”.

Qantas Airways holds a 49 per cent stake in Jetstar Asia, which will continue its partnership with Qantas Freight for interline arrangements for cargo through the Jetstar network across Asia Pacific. Qantas Freight continues to manage cargo services for the Qantas and Jetstar Airways networks.

Jetstar Asia has 18 Airbus A320 aircraft in its fleet, and it operates more than 600 weekly return flights across 25 destinations in 13 countries.

The ECS Group now has a total of 118 offices spread across 42 countries of the globe.