Air Cargo Global launches direct OSL-TSN route for seafood, Tianjin elbows into regional market

Yesterday, Slovakia-based airfreight company Air Cargo Global launched its new direct route connecting Norway’s Avinor Oslo Airport (OSL) and China’s Tianjin Binhai International Airport (TSN). The route will support Norway’s export market as China’s demand for seafood grows.

Initially, Air Cargo Global will operate the OSL-TSN route twice weekly on Thursday and Saturday, which will leave Oslo at 7:15 am, aboard a Boeing 747-400F. The route will serve Air Cargo’s agreement with Fish Forever, a major Chinese trading company that specializes in fish, to import fresh Norwegian seafood directly to China to serve increasing demand for high quality, fresh fish. Air Cargo Global plans to increase the service to operate three times weekly from March onward, should the market respond well to the increased capacity.

Clearly, short routes for Norwegian seafood has taken off in recent years, given that Hainan airlines also announced the start of its thrice-weekly direct passenger service between OSL and Beijing (PEK) using an Airbus A330-300, in October last year.

“A direct route to China is extremely positive for the export of fresh Norwegian seafood to the quickly expanding Chinse market. Fresh fish has a short shelf-life, and faster transport times will help ensure the product’s quality,” Martin Langaas, director of cargo at OSL, said at the time.

However, given capacity constraints at China’s major airports, like PEK, which will remain tight until Beijing’s second airport, Beijing Daxing International (BJB), opens, secondary airports like TSN are gaining popularity with general cargo and express carriers. Tianjin, keen to develop into a sizeable cargo hub, is working to support this shift and elbow its way into the “JingJingJin” market, an economic zone that encompasses the metro areas surrounding Beijing, Tianjin and Hebei, in northern China.

TSN is located in Tianjin, a port city 110 km south of Beijing. TSN has two runways, a cargo warehouse area of 74,000 square meters, access to multi-modal transport, and serves as the central hub for Tianjin Airlines and Tianjin Air Cargo, a jointventure between the Tianjin Aviation Logistics Development Co. (itself a partnership between the Tianjin Bonded Zone Investment Holding Group Co., Ltd,., Tianjin Airlines, Capital Airport Group and China Post Group), Tianjin Holding Co., Ltd. (a subsidiary of HNA Group) and Suparna Airlines (an affiliate of HNA Group). TSN has recently seen an influx of freighter flights, including, Air China Cargo, Nippon Airways, Asiana Airlines, China Postal Airlines, Hong Kong Air Cargo, Korean Air, SF Airlines, SilkWay West Airlines, Suparna Airlines, Tianjin Air Cargo, Uni-Top Airlines and YTO Cargo Airlines, as reported by our sister site, Cargo Facts.

In March 2018, TSN-based Tianjin Air Cargo outlined plans to become a major Chinese integrator, by acquiring  two 737-400Fs, valued at US $14.5 million from its sister carrier, Shanghai-based Suparna Airlines. The aircraft transfer was completed in August 2018, according to ch-aviation, bringing Tianjin Air Cargo’s total aircraft to three, whereupon it commenced its commercial operations. The carrier also revealed its plans to add seven additional freighters, which will contribute 15,000 tonnes of new cargo capacity to TSN, within one year of operation.

In MRO activity at the airport, in 2017 IAI’s Bedek Aviation Group selected Haite Tianjin Aircraft Engineering Co. Ltd. as a conversion center for its 737-700 and 737-800 passenger-to-freighter conversion program. The first aircraft to be converted in Tianjin is nearly complete, and redelivery is expected shortly.