May 18, 2023

Startup CMA CGM Air Cargo expands network to India


The startup air cargo division of ocean shipping giant CMA CGM continues to slowly build out its network with the launch of service between Paris and Mumbai, India, while apparently exiting the U.S. market.

CMA CGM Air Cargo announced Wednesday that it is operating an Airbus A330 freighter four times per week to Mumbai. 

CMA CGM Air Cargo owns four A330-200s and two Boeing 777 cargo jets.

The airline’s network is a work in progress as management tries to settle on the optimal markets for its limited fleet. In April CMA CGM began scheduled service to Abu Dhabi in the United Arab Emirates and Guangzhou, China. Its primary routes are from its base at Paris Charles de Gaulle International Airport to Hong Kong and Shanghai. 

The French airline also appears to have again stopped serving the U.S. market with its own equipment. It suspended scheduled service to Chicago and Atlanta late last year so two planes could temporarily provide contract flying for Qatar Airways and DHL, although the company said the decision had more to do with steps required to register the aircraft in France. 

Flights to Chicago and Miami resumed in January or February, but the website no longer shows those cities as destinations. Meanwhile, the last time a CMA CGM aircraft departed Chicago was on April 29, according to flight tracking site Flightradar24. The freighter deployed on the Chicago route is now being used on the Mumbai route.

Email to CMA CGM’s U.S. air cargo sales address bounced back, suggesting the email may no longer exist. CMA CGM’s media department did not respond to messages seeking clarification. 

In early April, CMA CGM and Air France-KLM kicked off their 10-year alliance under which they will jointly market freighter capacity and combine networks and dedicated services to increase scale and competitiveness. 

CMA CGM used its ocean shipping war chest to establish the airline division 18 months ago as part of its strategy to provide integrated logistics services to multinational companies. The carrier group also owns Ceva Logistics, a large provider of international freight management and warehouse distribution services.

It has two more 777s on order from Boeing and an order with Airbus for four all-new A350 freighters.

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