UK retailer turns to Singapore Airlines to overcome capacity crunch
MANCHESTER's online retailer The Hut Group (THG) is to charter two cargo aircraft and launch a partnership with Singapore Airlines to secure scarce air cargo capacity, reports London's Air Cargo News
MANCHESTER's online retailer The Hut Group (THG) is to charter two cargo aircraft and launch a partnership with Singapore Airlines to secure scarce air cargo capacity, reports London's Air Cargo News.
THG said that since the start of 2020, it had been running successful trials, using dedicated cargo flights to service its global operations, especially across the Asia region. By the end of October 2020, THG plans to have purchased two of its own cargo planes, which a spokesman said are likely to be A330-200s, branded with the THG Air livery, operating out of Manchester Airport.
In the meantime, it will also charter more than 100 flights from Singapore Airlines.
The beauty and lifestyle retailer explained the partnership with Singapore Airlines will remove its reliance on belly-hold capacity scheduled passenger services, swathes of which have been axed in response to the coronavirus outbreak.
'This is in response to both recent unprecedented disruption across the airline industry and THG's strong international sales growth,' the company said.
In recent months, THG has opened three new centres in the US, Singapore and India. A further six overseas distribution centres are planned before the end of the year.
THG founder and chief executive Matthew Moulding said: 'The recent disruption across the airline industry has brought huge challenges in the movement of goods across the globe. This led us to accelerate our trials for dedicated cargo planes to link together our own global manufacturing and distribution centres.
'The partnership with Singapore Airlines places us in the strong position of having secured routes from the UK to Asia for the foreseeable future, enabling us to keep our supply chain moving and delivering goods - including essential items such as vitamins, personal care and hygiene products.'
The move is not unprecedented among online retail brands: Amazon and Alibaba also have their own air cargo operations to allow them to meet customer demand for quick delivery.
However, THG's move is significant, as it is a much smaller business than the two retail giants. Its sales totalled GBP916 million (US$1.14 billion) in 2018, compared with revenues of $233 billion at Amazon and $40 billion at Alibaba.