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Moving packages through one of the world's busiest airports


How we pulled together a massive supply centre in just two days

As anxiety surrounding the pandemic rose, queues formed across the world for toilet rolls, face masks and hand sanitiser. Back in February, Hong Kong was no exception: as supplies in town dried up, residents started ordering their own PPE (personal protection equipment)  from suppliers across the globe.

The result of that surge in purchasing power? A huge influx of packages and parcels arriving at one of the world’s busiest airports. The scale of it threatened to overwhelm the postal system.

We were able to help, working alongside Hongkong Post’s own facility at Hong Kong International Airport.  In just two days we set up a dedicated area in Cathay Pacific Cargo Terminal, and diverted 30 personnel to create a temporary mail-handling centre to deal with the volume of incoming packages. 

‘It was heartening that in Hong Kong’s hour of need, we were able to work with our partners to help deliver these essential goods to the people of Hong Kong, said James Conlin, Cathay Pacific Head of Cargo Global Partnerships.

The effort paid off. Over the four weeks in February and March the centre was in operation, more than 90,000 shipments that arrived on 232 large cargo pallets and in 1,693 cargo bins -- the kind used to carry baggage on passenger flights – were processed. This alleviated the intense pressure on the air mail system, ensuring the prompt delivery of goods. 

‘Furthermore, through our cargo operations we were able to support the Hong Kong Hospital Authority to equip its frontline workers with vital protective equipment needed to fight the virus,’ adds Conlin. ‘In all, we delivered around 2,900 cubic metres of PPE to the city’s hospitals.’

Since then, we've been at the forefront in delivering vital PPE to customers and governments across the globe, using our 20-strong Boeing 747 fleet, the ‘bellyholds’ of our passenger fleet on around 1,500 cargo-only flights, and removing the seats from some of passenger aircraft to add additional, vital cargo capacity.