Polar Air Cargo, Inc. (Polar) plans to broaden its market presence in Asia after the the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) has tentatively granted it the right to conduct six weekly flights into mainland China this year, which will expand to nine frequencies in 2005.
Polar intends to provide transpacific, all-cargo service on a round-trip basis with B-747 freighters between the U.S. cities of New York, Chicago, Los Angeles, Miami and Anchorage, on the one hand, and the Chinese city of Shanghai, on the other. The service would also operate through Polar’s hub in Seoul, Korea, permitting connecting service between China and multiple points in Asia, Europe, and South America served by Polar’s global network.
The new designation and frequencies were fiercely and broadly contested by seven U.S. air carriers due to the significant size of the China air-cargo market and the very restricted number of carriers allowed entry under the U.S.-China air service agreement. The next all-cargo designation will likely not become available until 2007.
“We are extremely gratified by the DOT’s decision,” said Jeffrey H. Erickson, President and Chief Executive Officer of Atlas Air Worldwide Holdings, Inc., (AAWW) Polar’s parent Company. “Both regionally and globally, China has become the market to serve. It is already the largest transoceanic trading partner of the United States, and all projections indicate that it will continue to be the fastest-growing U.S. airfreight market for the next two decades. The DOT’s tentative decision will allow Polar to serve China today and, as importantly, to grow with the market in the future.”
The DOT has indicated its intent to make its decision final promptly, subject to consideration of any objections that may be filed.
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