Airbridge Cargo is operating a weekly flight from Hong Kong to East Midlands Airport for DHL. (Photo: East Midlands Airport)
DHL Express this weekend will launch a weekly freighter flight from Los Angeles International Airport to its U.K. hub at East Midlands Airport, in response to rising demand for e-commerce shipments and the lost airlift associated with the widespread grounding of passenger fleets due to the coronavirus.
A spokesman confirmed the start date to FreightWaves and said the route, which originates at Leipzig/Halle Airport in Germany, will be operated with a Boeing 777 aircraft.
East Midlands is second only to London Heathrow in terms of annual cargo volume among U.K. airports and has continued to see 60% of its scheduled traffic because of its high concentration of all-cargo activity. In addition to DHL, UPS, FedEx/TNT and Royal Mail have operations at the airport.
Retail giant Amazon, which has a fulfillment center near the airport, also operates several daily flights. East Midlands’ central location means about 90% of the country’s population can be reached by a four-hour truck drive.
DHL two weeks ago inaugurated a weekly flight from Hong Kong to East Midlands, via Moscow, with a Boeing 747-8 production freighter flown under contract by Airbridge Cargo, according to DHL and the airport authority. The flights, which depart on Fridays, have 130 tons of capacity for time-critical products such as medical and industrial supplies and consumer online purchases.
DHL also recently introduced a weekly flight from Miami to East Midlands and a new route from New York City’s John F. Kennedy International Airport to East Midlands.
All the flights are operated by partner airlines and, with the exception of Hong Kong, represent a combination of previously existing routes, the spokesman said.
On Monday, Israel Aircraft Industries said it would convert three Boeing 767 passenger planes into freighters for DHL.