Halifax Stanfield Attracts Additional Cargo Flights to China

Local Companies First Catch and Gateway Cooperating with SkyLease Cargo

 Halifax, N.S. – Halifax Stanfield has recently realized additional cargo flights to China as a result of continued demand for Nova Scotia’s premium seafood in Asia.

First Catch, a Chinese-owned seafood freight forwarding company based at Halifax Stanfield, is currently offering two flights per week from Halifax to Changsha, the capital of Hunan province. The flights are operated by SkyLease Cargo utilizing a Boeing 747-400 freighter aircraft, which has the capacity to carry up to 120 tonnes of Nova Scotia seafood to China.

Nova Scotia lobster continues to be in high demand in China, the fastest growing seafood market for the region and the airport’s top market for live Nova Scotia lobster. Last year, the volume of exports to this country increased by 63 per cent over the previous year, double the average growth of all export destination countries.

Growth is expected to continue this year with these additional cargo flights to China. The new flights are offered in partnership with locally-owned and airport-based Gateway, which is performing airport logistics and ground handling services at Halifax Stanfield.

China is of increasing importance given our role as an economic enabler that facilitates trade and investment in our region through export activity,” says Bert van der Stege, CCO of Halifax International Airport Authority (HIAA). “We’re grateful for the confidence of our partners in bringing these flights to fruition, and are thrilled that two local airport-based companies are participating in the continued growth of seafood exports to China.”

According to the results of the latest economic study released by HIAA last week, cargo-based activities at Halifax Stanfield have a substantial impact on the provincial economy. For example, every fully-loaded Boeing 777 cargo freighter to Asia created 16 person-years of employment in Nova Scotia and contributed $1.5 million to the province’s economic output.

These new flights are complemented by existing services to Asia, including Korean Air Cargo, operating the longest-standing regularly scheduled cargo charter flights to Asia, and Suparna Airlines, a Chinese cargo carrier that began service earlier this year. Several other cargo operators offer connections to China and multiple destinations throughout Asia from Halifax Stanfield including Cargojet, DHL, FedEx, Air Canada, and Qatar Airways via their respective gateways.

In 2017, 34,051 tonnes of cargo were processed at Halifax Stanfield, an increase of 2.2 per cent over the record set the previous year. This was the fourth consecutive year of cargo volume growth at the region’s air gateway. The Canadian dollar value of cargo exports was close to $446 million, up 10.2 per cent over the previous year, an increase of $41 million. High-demand, high-value seafood products, including Nova Scotia lobster, accounted for approximately half of the value of all exports shipped, valued at $220 million and equating to 10,234 tonnes.

The inaugural flight from Halifax was greeted with a water cannon salute upon arrival in Changsha.