Finnair Cargo's New Capacity 2018: Japan, China and the US


Finnair is adding new routes in 2018 and increasing frequencies to several long-haul destinations like Chicago (pictured) and Nanjing. The expansion reflects an increasingly healthy passenger demand and follows the most successful year in Finnair's history

The addition of Nanjing in China as a completely new destination on the Finnair schedule is especially significant. This is Finnair’s seventh destination in greater China, with a three-weekly schedule through the summer reduced to twice a week in winter. Nanjing is capital of the Jiangsu province in eastern China, some 300 kilometers inland from Shanghai, another vast metropolis on the Finnair destination roster. Nanjing has a population of over 8 million, making it the second largest city in the region after Shanghai.

In 2015 Nanjing’s large industry sector accounted for 35 percent of the city’s GDP, with heavy industries such as electronics, steel and automobile production figuring strongly. There are also important service and financial sectors. 

The city is home to sizeable Industrial Parks and Development Zones targeting electronic information, bio-pharmaceutical and machinery investment. 

Investing in the new destination is a shrewd move, bearing in mind that China is by far the world leader in annual export freight tonnage, which totaled 3.1 million tons in 2016. Economic forecasts also suggest that China is likely to avoid the sharp downturn in 2018 that had been feared. Finnair’s cargo loads to and from China commonly include high-tech products, electronic components and clothing.

Healthy market in Japan

Elsewhere in Asia, Finnair is adding services to Japan, boosting the Tokyo route from 10 a week to 14 for the busy summer season. Seasonal flights to Fukuoka are launched again, while Osaka and Nagoya will both be served daily. 

Japan’s appeal as a tourist destination shows no signs of waning and the country is also demonstrating renewed economic health. The island nation anticipates a growth in exports, but also an increase in imports meeting domestic demand, with economic expansion over the coming year. This means increased potential for what was already a relatively healthy air cargo market. Growth in Japan’s GDP rose at an annual rate of 2.5 percent in the July–September quarter – the economy’s seventh consecutive quarter of expansion. 

As Japan’s leading industrial center, Tokyo has a very diverse manufacturing base. Heavy industries are located in the surrounding Chiba, Kawasaki, and Yokohama conurbations, while Tokyo itself is concentrates on light industry, such as the production of electronic equipment. 

International air cargo logistics at Tokyo’s main Narita Airport offer fast and state-of-the-art cargo handling with some 40 companies running at least as many international logistics facilities in and around what is the largest international air cargo logistics center in Japan. 

Finnair’s other Japanese destinations are similarly placed to the advantage of Finnair Cargo. Fukuoka City is a hub for transportation and information throughout the Kyushu and Yamaguchi Prefectures, serving a population of 15 million. Markets in China's coastal regions and Korea are also conveniently close. 

Midwest hub

Across the Atlantic, Finnair has increased frequencies to Chicago from five a week to daily and is operating three weekly summer flights to San Francisco. From a cargo point of view, Chicago is the more significant of the two, and the city’s massive USD 600 billion Gross Metropolitan Product would place it around 20th in global DGDP rankings. 

Strategically located in the US Midwest, Chicago is a natural hub for cargo, with quick and easy connections to rail and highway routes. It also boasts one of the country’s most diverse economies, hosting the headquarters of over 400 major corporations. O’Hare Airport, Finnair’s Chicago base, recorded an annual freight tonnage of 1.5 million in 2016. Manufacturing, wholesale and retail sectors are dependent on the Midwest’s freight industry and Chicago’s place at its heart.

Text by Tim Bird
Photo by iStock

Published April 24, 2018

Category: Local features, Finnair Cargo, Economy