This week, Virgin Atlantic Cargo re-launched its Sydney-Hong Kong service ahead of schedule, following the airline’s three year hiatus. The carrier points to a “shift in the market” since 2014 – specifically, the growth of online shopping – as the main reason for the resumption of service.
“Sydney-Hong Kong is a route we know very well,” said the cargo division’s managing director, Dominic Kennedy. “The launch of this important new route is coming at a prime time for air cargo capacity demand to and from Australia,” which will allow for 15 to 20 tonnes of cargo capacity per flight in the belly of Virgin Australia’s new A330 aircraft.
Trade between the two nations has also been encouraged by the lucrative China-Australia Free Trade Agreement (ChAFTA), signed in June 2015. The deal made 85 percent of Australian exports to China tariff-free – a figure the nations’ governments say will rise to 95 percent in the next decade.
The demand for e-commerce products between the two nations “generates high volumes in both directions,” said Kennedy, with Chinese consumers increasingly making purchases via apps like Alibaba’s e-commerce platform, which serves as a market for everything from electronics to lobster to milk powder.