PITTSBURGH, Pennsylvania – Cathay Pacific Airways has launched a temporary expansion of its operations in the Americas, with a 12-week cargo service linking Pittsburgh International Airport (PIT) with Southeast Asia. The first arrival touched down in Pittsburgh on September 21, carrying consumer goods from Asia.
The expansion adds to the airline’s existing network of 19 cargo stations throughout the Americas, including East Coast cargo services to Boston, Newark, and Washington, Dulles, and a dedicated freighter port at New York (JFK).
The temporary service will originate in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam (SGN), stopping at Cathay Pacific’s Cargo Terminal at Hong Kong International Airport, and landing in Pittsburgh every Monday and Thursday until November 26, 2020.
Reconfigured passenger aircraft
Flight CX8800 will use a reconfigured Boeing 777-300ER passenger aircraft instead of Cathay Pacific’s go-to ultra-long-haul freighter, the Boeing 747-8, of which there are currently 14 in its fleet. In an effort to introduce additional cargo capacity, Cathay Pacific reconfigured two Boeing 777-300ER passenger aircraft into ‘preighters’. With seats removed in the Economy and Premium Economy cabins, the aircraft can to carry 12 tons of additional cargo under extra safety and security measures.
A bright spot
“Cathay Pacific is excited to link Hong Kong, one of the world’s key intermodal airfreight hubs, to Pittsburgh. The city is ideally placed between the Eastern Seaboard and the Midwest, home to more than 50 percent of the population of the United States,” said Fred Ruggiero, vice-president cargo, Americas at Cathay Pacific Airways.
“Cargo remains a bright spot for the airline during this challenging time. This temporary expansion underscores Cathay Pacific’s commitment to our freight forwarder partners, who requested an expanded cargo service to meet heightened demand. We are pleased to join forces with Pittsburgh International Airport and Unique Logistics and look forward to assisting with future freight needs.”
Cargo is currently the stronger performer for Cathay Pacific, which is operating over 436 pairs of cargo-only passenger flights. The airline carried more than 102,122 tons of cargo and mail in August 2020.