Time-definite international shipments
In the Express division, we transport urgent documents and goods reliably and on time from door to door. International time-definite shipments are our core business. The division's main product is Time Definite International (TDI). Our TDI services enable delivery at predefined times, and our expertise in customs clearance keeps shipments moving as a prerequisite in ensuring fast and reliable door-to-door service. We also provide industry-specific services to round out our TDI product. For example, our Medical Express transport solution, which is tailored specifically to companies in the life sciences and healthcare sector, offers various types of thermal packaging for temperature- controlled, chilled and frozen contents.
Our virtual airline
Our global air freight network is operated by multiple airlines, some of which are wholly owned by the Group. The combination of our own and purchased capacities allows us to respond flexibly to fluctuating demand. The following graphic illustrates how our available freight capacity is organised and offered on the market. Most of the freight capacity is used for TDI, our main product. If any cargo space remains on our own flights, we sell it to customers in the air freight sector. The largest buyer of remaining capacity is the DHL Global Forwarding business unit.
Keeping our customer service promise
In order to keep our commitments to our customers as a global network operator, we monitor their ever-changing requirements, for example through our Insanely Customer Centric Culture programme and with Net Promoter Scores. At our quality control centres, we track shipments across the globe and adjust the processes dynamically as required. All premium products are tracked until they are delivered. We conduct regular reviews of operational safety, compliance with standards and quality of service at our facilities in co-operation with government authorities. Approximately 370 locations have been certified by the Transported Asset Protection Association (TAPA), making us a leader in this area.
Continuing to expand and modernise network and intercontinental fleet
In 2018, we contracted with Boeing to purchase 14 new B777F aircraft as part of the upgrading of our intercontinental fleet. By the end of 2021, all of the new aircraft ordered were delivered and entered service. In 2020, we placed an order with Boeing for an additional eight new B777 freighters; four of these aircraft are scheduled for delivery during 2022.
In Europe, all critical hubs have optimally utilised their capacities. Brexit and VAT22 transitions were successful. One important event was the opening of the new hub at Paris Charles de Gaulle Airport. During 2021, two Airbus A321 conversions and two A330-300 conversions entered service. We have also committed to seven B737-800 aircraft which will be delivered during 2022. Moreover, we founded the new company DHL Air Austria as our second European airline, along with European Air Transport Leipzig
Major projects in the Americas region include the expansion of our hub at Miami International Airport and of our gateway at Ontario International Airport. In the US, three additional converted Boeing B737-800 aircraft entered service. In Latin America, a converted Boeing B767- 300 was introduced. In addition, dedicated flights from Miami to Santiago de Chile were introduced. We are expanding our retail footprint, adding 56 new retail service points and more than 700 retail partners.
In the Asia-Pacific region, we added several new intercontinental connections, whilst also expanding our air freight capacity to keep pace with the strong intra-Asia trade. Of the three previously acquired Airbus A330-300 aircraft for conversion, the third unit entered service in early 2021. Another two converted aircraft of this model are planned for delivery during 2022. The additional aircraft enabled the introduction of a direct flight between Hong Kong (HKG) and Penang (PEN). In October, we opened the expanded Bengaluru Gateway in India.
Also in the MEA region, we are accelerating our regional ground and air investments, with new facilities in Qatar, Bahrain and the United Arab Emirates. Furthermore, we acquired seven B767-300 aircraft for conversion, of which six entered service in 2021. The additional delivery is planned for the start of 2022. With these extensions, daily network flights have been added between Bahrain (BAH), Hong Kong (HKG) and Bangalore (BLR). In sub-Saharan Africa, we committed to four converted ATR72-500 aircraft with the intention these will replace existing older aircraft.
Impacts of the pandemic on our business
The pandemic had a direct impact on demand for our network capacity, as it accelerated online sales growth. In almost all regions, the shipping volumes of the B2B and B2C e-commerce sectors increased considerably and exceeded expectations. The drastic increase in shipment weights due to the recovery of B2B was also significant. At the same time, the pandemic seriously impacted the supply of air cargo capacity; particularly passenger airlines were impacted, with many flights cancelled and aircraft grounded. Our ability to purchase cargo capacity on commercial flights was curtailed - and, for some lanes, this impact has continued through 2021. To address the increased demand and protect service to destinations to which commercial flight services were reduced or suspended, we have adapted our air network operations by adding more of our own dedicated flights.
During 2021, we expanded our air network with the addition of several new direct services, for example, between East Midlands (EMA) and Miami (MIA), Hong Kong (HKG) and Miami (MIA), Singapore (SIN) and Melbourne (MEL) and Shenzhen (SZX) and Los Angeles (LAX). In addition, we have introduced the first direct flight from Guangzhou (CAN) to the Americas.