U.S.-based carrier Kalitta Air has requested four weekly allocations for Singapore (SIN) to Hong Kong (HKG) cargo flights using 777-200 freighters on behalf of “a major freight forwarder.” Though the carrier has not yet returned a request for comment, the most likely customer for the service is DHL.
DHL declined to confirm whether it is the customer Kalitta’s Department of Transportation (DOT) filing mentioned, but according to the filing, the service would operate on a trans-Pacific routing originating at Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky International Airport (CVG), the site of DHL Express’ U.S. hub. From there, the planned route continues to Los Angeles (LAX), Sydney (SYD) and SIN before arriving in HKG, the location of DHL’s Asia hub.
The relationship between DHL and Kalitta has grown substantially since the beginning of 2019, as reported by our sister publication, Cargo Facts. Kalitta put its first 777F into service for DHL Express last year, and also began operating several converted 767-300 freighters for DHL. The growing relationship with DHL is particularly well-timed for Kalitta, which in 2019 lost its slots at Amsterdam Schiphol Airport (AMS) in the wake of a slot shortage there.
Regarding the new request for SIN-HKG operations, Kalitta’s filing clarifies that expected service would begin by March 29, and that the carrier has already received approval for the slots needed at HKG. The DOT permission is necessary due to an agreement restricting U.S. carriers to operate only 64 weekly flights in or out of Hong Kong. While all the allocations are currently assigned, the request from Kalitta stated, “we understand, however, that a number of SIN-HKG frequencies are expected soon to be returned to the Department.” Kalitta requested four of these, or as many as possible if four are not available.