Even as mutual funds and other creditors circle Puerto Rico and its besieged economy, looking to claw back some US$70 billion in debt, Cargolux and CAL Cargo Airline are adding flights to the unincorporated U.S. territory to capitalize on strong pharmaceutical exports.
For all its dismal financial press, Puerto Rico still has extensive pharmaceutical exports, which generate more than 25 percent of the island’s GDP and account for approximately half of its manufacturing output.
Beginning Sept. 15, CAL will offer flights to San Juan in Puerto Rico. The stop is an addition to a route connecting Tel Aviv, Liège and New York’s JFK. The return service routes through San Juan to Rome and Liège and ends in Tel Aviv. Offer Gilboa, chairman and chief executive of the CAL Group explained that, with the addition of a third 747-400 freighter to CAL’s fleet, the San Juan stop was part of a strategy to “expand our network throughout the Americas.”
The following month, Cargolux will begin a direct flight from Luxembourg to Aguadilla, Puerto Rico, on Oct. 2. The flight will leave Luxembourg every Sunday at 22:15 and arrive in San Juan on Mondays at 01:30, local time.
Given the nature of the cargo, carriers are advertising cool-chain capabilities, including CV Fresh and CV Pharma. “Our cool chain experts regularly assess the specialized and often unique requirements of our customers and offer solid and practical solutions,” noted Niek van der Weide, Cargolux executive vice president for sales and marketing.
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