Switzerland-based Panalpina added Querétaro International Airport (QRO) in Mexico to its Charter Network, in the “Speedy” loop connecting Mexico City (MEX) and Guadalajara (GDL) with Panalpina’s Alabama air freight gateway in Huntsville (HSV). The addition of QRO to the Panalpina Charter Network included adding QRO to the 747-8 compatibility list, as Panalpina’s network includes a 747-8 freighter (37570) on ACMI lease from Atlas Air.
Querétaro is in Mexico’s Bajio region, with key industries including automotive and manufacturing, alongside a fast-growing aerospace sector – sectors which make the 747-8 production freighter’s nose-loading capabilities particularly appealing.
Panalpina’s air freight sector was the strongest of its operating sectors during the first quarter of 2018, when air freight volumes increased 3% year-over-year and recorded EBIT nearly eight times as high as Panalpina’s logistics sector. The company’s air freight operations in Mexico were a major contributor to the sector’s success in 2018 and 2017. During 2017, twenty-five of the 100 extra flights Panalpina pre-procured as regular charters during the peak season were aboard 747 freighters flying into Mexico. So far during 2018, Panalpina has arranged eleven ad hoc charters operating in Mexico, with ten more scheduled for the weeks ahead.
Panalpina’s interest in expanding operations relates to its logistics network and ability to provide overland services from its offices in Mexico and its air freight gateway in Huntsville. There is also steadily increasing demand both for imports to support the country’s growing manufacturing, automotive, and aerospace industries, and for exports of perishables out of Guadalajara on Panalpina’s trans-Atlantic flights.
“This unique combination of scheduled and ad hoc charter flights, as well as overland services, means that we can efficiently and reliably distribute imported products to Mexico City, Guadalajara, Querétaro, Puebla, Monterrey, San Luis Potosí, Aguascalientes, and elsewhere,” said Matthias Frey, global head of the Panalpina Charter Network.
The flight schedule for Panalpina’s Charter Network aboard the 747-8F between Europe and the US and Mexico now includes:
- Luxembourg Airport (LUX) to Huntsville International Airport (HSV) to Querétaro (QRO) to Guadalajara (GDL) to HSV to London Stansted Airport (STN) to LUX once per week, with the Mexico loop on Fridays and a new QRO stop.
- LUX to HSV to Mexico City (MEX) to GDL to HSV to STN to LUX, once weekly with the Mexico loop on Mondays.
- LUX-HSV-LUX twice weekly.
Panalpina also offers another trans-Atlantic LUX-HSV-LUX round trip using a Cargolux charter, which like all its inbound flights to the Huntsville center, can connect with its trucking service into Mexico.