Sea-Tac gains another Asian freight airline customer

A Japanese air cargo carrier has begun new air freight service to Sea-Tac Airport carrying fresh Northwest fruit to Asian customers.

Nippon Cargo Airlines is the second Asian air freight carrier to begin all-cargo service this month from Sea-Tac. China Eastern Airways earlier this month inaugurated service between the local airport and Shanghai.

Both freight airlines have begun their service carrying Washington fresh cherries to Asia.

The airport has seen record air freight traffic in recent months. The airport handled 62,000 metric tons of freight last year. For this year’s first five months, cargo traffic is up 33 percent, the airport said.

The Port of Seattle, which owns and operates Sea-Tac, is spending $20 million to expand two parking bays in the airport’s cargo area to handle larger aircraft. Nippon Cargo Airlines is using a Boeing 747-8F for its new service.

The 747-8F is the latest model of Boeing’s long-lived 747. Both its wings and its fuselage are longer that prior versions of the 747. The 747-8F is equipped with four engines similar to those Boeing uses to power its new Dreamliner. Those engines use less fuel than the engines powering the 747-400 Freighter, the plane that the 747-8F replaces in Boeing’s model lineup.