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Singapore Airlines to fly 777 freighters under DHL’s wing

Express carrier reinforces Asia fleet to meet US import demand

The DHL-Singapore Airlines freighters will combine the brands of their parent companies. (Photo: Flickr/Aero Icarus & Tristar 1011 CC BY-SA 2.0)

Singapore Airlines will operate five Boeing 777 freighters for DHL Express under a long-term deal to expand the express carrier’s intercontinental air network and meet high demand for express shipping between Asia and the U.S.

Under the outsourcing arrangement announced Thursday, DHL will provide the aircraft and Singapore Airlines will be responsible for the crew, maintenance and insurance. The planes will wear a dual white-and-gold livery similar to other DHL contract carriers such as Southern Air, Kalitta Air and Polar Air Cargo. 

DHL (OTCUS: DPSGY) will transfer the first 777 to Singapore Airlines in July followed by another one in October. The remaining three aircraft are scheduled for delivery in 2023. Last week, the express delivery company placed an order with Boeing (NYSE: BA) for six additional 777 freighters. It has 15 of the twin-engine widebodies in its airline, with six more scheduled to be delivered from a previous order.

DHL officials said the new aircraft will support e-commerce growth in the trans-Pacific trade lane. 

The planes will fly out of DHL’s South Asia hub at Changi Airport, picking up cargo in North Asia on the way to U.S. destinations. The initial service agreement is for more than four years, with an option to extend. 

“This new agreement guarantees capacity on our critical routes out of Singapore as we gear up for ongoing growth in Asia-Pacific trade,” said Ken Lee, CEO of DHL Express Asia Pacific, in a news release. “It gives us greater flexibility to add new routes and optimize our aircraft utilization in the face of unpredictable changes or sudden increases in demand.”

Singapore Airlines Cargo operates seven Boeing 747-400 freighters in addition to utilizing space in Singapore and Scoot passenger aircraft. It has supplied air cargo services to DHL for many years, but the new deal takes the partnership to a new level. Singapore Airlines Cargo has indicated its intent to buy the all-new Airbus A350 large freighter when it is ready for production instead of Boeing’s next-generation plane, the 777-8.

DHL has steadily increased aircraft and suppliers for its in-house airline, which now totals 320 aircraft.

The 777 is popular as a long-haul, heavy-freight aircraft because of its capacity and lower fuel burn than four-engine aircraft.

Click here for more FreightWaves/American Shipper stories by Eric Kulisch.

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Eric Kulisch

Eric is the Supply Chain and Air Cargo Editor at FreightWaves. An award-winning business journalist with extensive experience covering the logistics sector, Eric spent nearly two years as the Washington, D.C., correspondent for Automotive News, where he focused on regulatory and policy issues surrounding autonomous vehicles, mobility, fuel economy and safety. He has won two regional Gold Medals from the American Society of Business Publication Editors for government coverage and news analysis, and was voted best for feature writing and commentary in the Trade/Newsletter category by the D.C. Chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists. As associate editor at American Shipper Magazine for more than a decade, he wrote about trade, freight transportation and supply chains. Eric is based in Portland, Oregon. He can be reached for comments and tips at [email protected]