Japan-based All Nippon Airways (ANA) is moving cargo from its freighters to the bellyholds of its passenger fleet, while scaling back scheduled all-cargo flights in October, the airline announced. The decision mirrors an industry-wide general freight trend, as increasing bellyhold capacity exerts downward pressure on the profits of freighter operations.
ANA’s decision was based on weakening demand for Japan-produced, high-value auto parts from Chinese manufacturers, a brutal price war with China Airlines and China Southern Airlines, and spare capacity in the holds of passenger aircraft. Many of ANA’s passenger aircraft are freight-friendly widebodies, and travel to population centers where e-commerce shipments are in demand.
Regular cargo flights to the island of Okinawa – ANA’s major hub for shipping to the rest of Asia, and between Japan and Singapore – will be scaled back or suspended. Nikkei Asian Review reported that the carrier’s all-cargo service will be reduced by 15 percent, year-over-year, on a freight tonne kilometer basis. ANA’s holdings unit said it anticipates saving more than US$19.9 million with the move.