Despite the current coronavirus epidemic’s impact on the air cargo industry, Silkway West Airlines has maintained its normal scheduled and charter flights “throughout those challenging and turbulent times, in order to maintain the business of customers”, the Baku-headquartered cargo carrier has pointed out.
With more than 20 flights weekly connecting China with its global hub in Baku, Silkway said it was still performing its operation through a mix of charter and scheduled flights, “operated in accordance with recommendations from the WHO and other regulatory bodies as well as Silkway’s own restrictions – including no crew layovers in China”.
Wolfgang Meier, CEO and president of Silkway West Airlines, commented: “We have decided to honour the loyalty of our BSA (blocked space agreement) customers also throughout difficult times. Therefore, we have not followed the way (of other carriers) in cancelling all our scheduled flights by operating just charters – as we think that on the long run it will bring us even closer to our partners. We are a forwarders’ airline and we will further expand on those relationships by enhancing the group of close partners.”
He continued: “In addition, we would like to thank our pilots and the entire team in being cooperative in finding the right pattern to keep up the operation throughout. Together with our international teams, we have managed to demonstrate a solidary unity towards our colleagues and customers, which I am really proud of.
en before the airline’s offices in Shanghai, Zhengzhou and Tianjin could be reopened, the company’s employees worked from home office “to ensure that the airline could offer its services with as few restrictions as possible”.
Meier continued: ““Of course, it is currently a daily challenge to manage the imbalances of the various trade lanes; but we do count on the understanding of our partners, as this is a real special situation. And, of course, we are very much focused on our operations to and from China; but I shall emphasize that our global network is up and running. Markets in North America, Europe, The Mideast, South Asia, South East Asia, Japan and Korea are been served on fully fledged bases.”
Silkway West Airlines’ fleet consists of 15 Boeing 747 full freighters, two of which Boeing 747-400F are leased to its strategic partner Sky Gates Cargo Airlines in Russia. The carrier operates a global network of more than 50 destinations along the ancient Silk Road with an enhanced network through Baku connecting China, Central Asia, the Middle East, Europe, Africa and North America.