Eastern Air Holdings and Flexport, a platform for global logistics, announced a multiyear contract on Tuesday for cargo services that will bring much needed net-new capacity to the global air freight market.
Eastern is expected to begin flying its B777 Express Freighters, once approved by the Federal Aviation Administration, twice weekly between Chicago International Airport (ORD) and Hong Kong International Airport (HKG), as well as ORD and Saigon’s Ho Chi Minh City Airport (SGN) on behalf of Flexport.
The companies said the Eastern B777 Express Freighter is the first of its kind to market designed specifically for e-commerce goods and provides much needed cargo capacity to the global supply chain with its low-cost, reliable solution. The innovative design converts the main deck cabin of the wide-body B777, traditionally a passenger aircraft, into a true cargo aircraft that will enable Flexport clients, which includes many global brands and fast-growing e-commerce companies, to fulfill consumer demand and keep goods moving.
The soon-to-be launched service will join Flexport’s extensive tech-enabled global airfreight, container freight station and trucking network. With all shipments managed through the Flexport Platform, clients utilizing the Eastern B777 Express Freighter service will benefit from end-to-end control of their shipments and continuous milestone visibility, Flexport noted.
Part of a comprehensive supply chain strategy, Flexport clients shipping from Asia hubs into the United States Midwest can use Flexport Platform data to determine high value SKUs and prioritize shipments to control costs and maximize the value of Eastern’s innovative solution.
“There is an urgent demand to develop new solutions that alleviate the constricted global cargo market,” said Steve Harfst, Eastern Air Holdings president and CEO. “Our partnership with Flexport, combining the large volume of our B777 Express Freighter with Flexport’s leading edge e-commerce technology and logistics platform, will fill that unmet need and add new capacity to the global cargo market.”
As passenger travel remains depleted, the cargo constraints impacting the global supply chain continue to persist, the companies noted. Eastern has purchased five Boeing 777s for cargo conversion, with an option to acquire 30 additional Boeing 777s.
“Eastern has developed new, creative solutions to help solve the global airfreight capacity crisis,” Neel Jones Shah, executive vice president and global head of air freight at Flexport, said. “Flexport client demand for airfreight has roughly doubled while global capacity has remained approximately 10 percent below pre-pandemic levels. Our strategic agreement with Eastern will provide critical net-new capacity to the market and bring our two innovative companies together to help meet demand and fuel growth.”
Eastern Air Holdings is a privately held parent company of three operating subsidiaries–Eastern Airlines, an air carrier operating scheduled and non-scheduled international and domestic air transportation with a fleet of B767 and B777 aircraft; Alta Aero Technic, a repair station providing aircraft maintenance services to a variety of Boeing and Airbus widebody and narrowbody aircraft types based in Kansas City, Mo., and Foxtrot Aero, providing development and engineering services.
Companies of all sizes, from emerging brands to Fortune 500s, used Flexport technology to move nearly $19 billion in merchandise across 112 countries in 2021.