The Cathay Pacific Cargo Terminal at Hong Kong International Airport (HKG) is now fully operational. Effective 3 October, it began handling all cargo at the airport for Cathay Pacific Airways (including subsidiary carrier Dragonair), as well as for Air Hong Kong (a 60/40 joint venture of Cathay Pacific and DHL Express). The terminal is operated by (and was designed and built by) Cathay Pacific Services Ltd, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Cathay Pacific Airways.
The US$760 million terminal was completed in February of this year, but Cathay took a phased approach to operation.
- Phase 1 began on 21 February with the terminal handling valuable cargo, transit civil mail and interface transfer transshipments for Cathay and Dragonair.
- Phase 2, which began on 19 August, saw the terminal handling transshipment and import cargo for the freighter fleets operated by Cathay Pacific and Air Hong Kong.
- And finally, Phase 3 was launched on 3 October, at which point the terminal took over the handling of the entire cargo operations of Cathay, Dragonair, and Air Hong Kong.
As much as this is good news for Cathay/Dragonair and Air Hong Kong, it is something of a blow to Hong Kong Air Cargo Terminals Ltd (Hactl), which has long been the biggest cargo handler at HKG, handling between 70% and 80% of the freight moving through the airport. Cathay was, by a considerable margin, Hactl’s biggest customer. However, given that Cathay first applied for permission to build the terminal in 2005, Hactl is undoubtedly well-prepared for a future without Cathay.