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DHL and JAL team up on 767-300F operations

DHL Express and Japan Airlines (JAL) have signed a long-term contract to utilise JAL’S Boeing 767-300 freighters.

The companies said in a press release that they aim to use the new partnership to leverage “growing customer demand in the expanding international express and e-commerce shipping market in the East Asia region”.

JAL’s partnership with DHL will support previously announced plans to connect Japan, Seoul, Shanghai, and Taipei using Boeing 767-300ER freighters.

Earlier this month, JAL said it would launch freighter operations on February 19. It has already taken delivery of one 767-300ER freighter converted from its passenger fleet, and is due to add a further two 767-300 freighter conversions.

The airline first announced it would return to the freighter market after an absence of 13 years in May.

In response to the growth of cross-border express shipments, DHL has strengthened its infrastructure network, including the recent inauguration of its expanded Central Asia Hub, its largest hub facility in Asia Pacific.

The companies said DHL will further strengthen its intra-East Asia network using the routes which JAL will inaugurate in February.

Yuichiro Kito, executive officer, Cargo & Mail of Japan Airlines, said: “We view this agreement as further solidifying the longstanding partnership between JAL and DHL. As we operate our own freighters for the first time in 13 years, we will contribute to solving social issues and also position it as the driver of our company’s dramatic business growth in addition to meeting the growing needs of our customers.”

Tony Khan, president and representative director of DHL Express Japan, commented: “This new agreement with JAL is an important milestone for DHL as we continue to strengthen our air network between Japan and East Asia.

“By ensuring the stability of our air network, we can also provide a more flexible and stable response to shipment growth and demand changes, especially between China and Japan, which is one of the most important routes.”

In addition to JAL’s 767 freighter venture, German freighter conversion firm Elbe Flugzeugwerke (EFW) has recently delivered the first of three Airbus A321P2F (passenger to freighter) aircraft to Japan, ahead of its use by JAL and Yamato Holdings on a domestic freighter network next year.

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