Earlier this week, startup carrier Mongolian Airways Cargo unveiled its first freighter aircraft during a ceremony held at its base in Ulaanbaatar (ULN). Once operational, the carrier plans to bridge the Mongolian capital to major hubs in East Asia and Europe with scheduled freighter capacity.
Launching a cargo airline aligns with the government’s broader goals of reducing Mongolia’s dependence on commodity exports in favor of higher-value exports such as perishables. Flights to Russia and China are expected to be among the first to launch as warm relations between its neighboring countries will make it relatively easier for a carrier operating on a Mongolian Air Operator’s Certificate (AOC) to secure flight rights to crowded airports in China, according to local media reports.
Last year, cargo throughput at ULN was estimated to be around 5,500 tonnes, according to Xinhua. Infrastructure limitations will soon be less of an issue as a new airport being built to replace ULN will increase cargo throughput capacity significantly. Although New Ulaanbaatar International Airport (UBN) was originally expected to commence operations in 2016, repeated delays have postponed the airport’s opening until at least August 2019, but likely later.
For more analysis on Mongolian Airways Cargo and its future fleet plans, check out the story on our sister site, Cargo Facts.