The new service, which launches yesterday, will fly six round trips a week between Tianjin and Guangzhou using a dedicated freight Boeing 737 aircraft branded with the JD Logistics logo.
Transportation and delivery will be faster than when JD relied on shared aircraft and ground transportation.
“With more, dedicated capacity, JD will be able to continue its unparalleled service of delivering orders same- or next-day, nationwide,” the company said.
JD.com said it had decided to use a dedicated all-cargo aircraft because it would be more reliable than the common alternative of bellyhold capacity on passenger aircraft because flight times can be adjusted according to industry demand, as opposed to having to comply with commercial airline schedules
JD and Tianjin Air Cargo will be looking closely at how to expand the new service, with further routes planned between northern and southern China.
“The addition of freight by dedicated cargo aircraft brings the strength of JD’s nationwide logistics network to even greater heights,” said Hui Wang, head of the express business unit at JD Logistics.
“We look forward to expanding our relationship with Tianjin Air Cargo in the coming months and we are sure that the resulting expedited delivery speeds will be welcomed by individual consumers as well as the businesses we work with as part of our Retail as a Service strategy.”
“This new service sets a new industry milestone. The combination of Tianjin Cargo’s breadth of experience in freight and JD’s expertise in supply chain makes this partnership a force to be reckoned with,” added Yi Zhang, chairman and president of Tianjin Air Cargo.
“As China’s largest retailer, online or offline, JD’s resources across the e-commerce and logistics industry will be of great assistance to our company’s development going forward.”
The partnership is the latest move by JD to ramp up its abilities to open its technology and infrastructure to other companies and industries, part of its “Retail as a Service,” or RaaS, strategy
“JD’s unrivalled guarantee of same or next day delivery for 90% of orders is a key reason why millions of consumers flock to the platform every day,” the company said.
JD.com follows in the footsteps of Amazon which also has a dedicated air cargo operation running in the US. Amazon recently expanded its airfreight operation to include Miami.
Tianjin Air Cargo is a subsidiary of the HNA Group and was launched earlier this year with an initial fleet of three B737 freighters.
The airline launched flying routes between Tianjin and Zhengzhou, Xi’an, Chongqing, Shenzhen, Urumqi, Shanghai Pudong and Guangzhou.
It claims to be the only all-cargo-operator located at Tianjin, which is to the south-east of congested Beijing Capitial International airport.
The airline hopes to add B767 and B747 aircraft in the future and expand its fleet to between 50 and 100 aircraft over the next five years.
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