IAG Cargo and Finnair Cargo have entered into a block space agreement for a London-Helsinki route using a leased Airbus A300-600 Freighter from DHL Aviation, to start in September and to fly twice a week.
Operated between London Luton Airport (LTN) (see picture) and Helsinki International Airport (HEL), the A300 freighter has a capacity of 43 tonnes, giving a total weekly tonnage of 172 tonnes. Every year, that will be a capacity of more than 8,000 tonnes. The block space agreement between the two cargo carriers follows Finnair joining IAG Cargo’s Partner Plus partnership in February.
Partner Plus is a type of interline agreement where airlines agree to carry each others cargo. Six carriers have been members of the Partner Plus programme, including Qatar Airways, Japan Airlines, the Avianca group and American Airlines.
Finnair tells Air Cargo Week (ACW) that the A300F is a new aircraft for the airlines’ fleets, it will operate from September and it has been: “subcontracted from a third party, namely DHL Aviation,“ adding, “there’s a lot of available freighter capacity in the market at the moment”.
With the start of the service, London becomes Finnair’s third cargo hub in Europe, in addition to Helsinki and Brussels. Finnair operates seven narrowbody services between Heathrow Airport and Helsinki. IAG Cargo has two daily narrowbody services between Heathrow and Helsinki.
Finnair says it transports 145,000 tonnes of freight and mail annually. It has sales teams in more than 40 countries. Finnair Cargo serves 15 Asian and North American long-haul destinations out of Helsinki, and more than 50 destinations in Europe. With the Airbus A350 Finnair is operating from October, the airline says it will eventually double its long haul capacity by 2020. The first A350 route this October is Helsinki to Shanghai (China).
Finnair vice president and head of Finnair Cargo, Antti Kuusenmäki, says: “This partnership with IAG Cargo does not only offer our customers considerably improved connections between Asia and the UK, but also adds tens of new great connections between our Nordic home market, Northern America and Asia.”
For Finnair its customers gain access to markets in South and North America and Africa. For IAG Cargo, Finnair provides additional capacity to destinations in North East Asia.
IAG Cargo chief executive officer, Steve Gunning, says: “We have once again expanded our network through an asset-light solution and provided our customers with access to an even greater range of destinations.”
In June last year, IAG Cargo started using capacity on Qatar Airways’ Boeing 777 Freighters operating between Hong Kong International Airport and London Stansted Airport. It purchased the capacity after ending its use of Global Supply Systems (GSS) Boeing 747-8 Freighters on a multi-year wet lease agreement.