August 18 - Air Charter Service's Hong Kong office anticipates another strong peak season for shipments out of Asia, with signs that it could be better than the final quarter of last year, itself the office's busiest period in its history.

Stephen Fernandez, cargo manager ACS Hong Kong, commented: "Last year October and November were extremely busy charter-wise with large freighters mainly to supplement scheduled capacity to Europe and the U.S. It came as a pleasant surprise after turbulent economic times worldwide and the lack of a peak season in 2008.

"In early October last year there was a sudden lack of availability on scheduled service B747s, which caused many forwarders to look at chartered flights to secure additional capacity. This year we have already seen clients booking a large number of charters - generally running from the end of September - in preparation for the upcoming peak season. So far we have mainly contracted B747 freighters, and have pre-booked more than 4,000 tonnes of cargo". Fernandez continued: "Judging by the number of forward bookings, a very busy peak season is expected.

"Last year we wondered whether it was bit of a false peak season created by capacity that had been taken out of the market by airlines parking up some of their fleets, but demand this year already seems to be high."