IN BRIEF, THE LATEST AIRLINE INDUSTRY NEWS.
Korean Air Cargo shows good Q1 results
The Seoul-based Korean national carrier ended the first quarter 2017 by boosting its Freight Tonne Kilometers (FTKs) to just over 2 billion. This represents an almost 8% year-on-year increase. Actual cargo load factors rose to 78.2% - a 3.4% increase on Q! 2016.
The carrier was also happy with cargo yields which rose by 10.6%, which represents a yield of US$0.25 per RTK. Korean Cargo’s most important routes - namely Europe and the Americas saw revenue growths of 12% and 11% respectively. Korean Air which operates over 30 freighters alongside their belly capacity expects this trend to continue throughout the year.
Volga-Dnepr helps out Canadian mining company
The Russian based heavy lift specialists who operate a fleet of AN-124 and IL-76 freighters came up with an idea to help Baffinland Iron Mines, a Canadian mining outfit, to increase their iron ore production for this year. The carrier operated a total of 20 flights from the beginning of April, carrying special trucks and trailers which are used to transport the iron ore from the mine to the sea port site 100km away.
Initially, the trucks were too high to fit into the IL-76 freighters and VD’s engineers came up with the idea of placing smaller tyres on them in order to reduce height.
Another problem was the relatively short runway at the Mary Riverside. This is only 6.500 feet in length and fuel supplies there are limited. Both problems were also solved by carrying minimum, but safe operational fuel loads.
Vx Capital Partners starts own equity fund
The US based lessor and aircraft managers, Vx Capital Partners has come up with its own first private equity fund. It raised a total of US$107 million for the Vx Freighter Investment Fund. The capital is to be used solely for acquiring older narrow body passenger aircraft and converting them into freighters. The company is heavily involved in the leasing out of narrow body converted aircraft such as the B737 and B757 to carriers around the globe.
Qantas Freight signs mail contract in China
Sydney based Qantas Freight has signed a contract with the Chinese Sai Cheng Logistics International company which will allow the Australian carrier to transport airmail into the United States from China. The agreement allows for Qantas to uplift airmail shipments from Shanghai with their B747-400 freighter and from Hong Kong by utilising the Qantas belly capacity via Australia.
Qantas operates four B747F flights per week from Shanghai to the United States, serving Los Angeles, Dallas, Chicago and New York.
Sai Cheng Logistics is a joint venture company founded by China Post and Australian Post.
Turning B737s into Firefighters
It’s well known that Boeing 737 passenger aircraft are being snatched up for conversion into freighters.
Now, Coulson Aviation the Portland, Oregon-based firefighting company, has received six B737-300 aircraft from Southwest Airlines and plans to have them converted into “Fireliner” firefighting tankers. Each aircraft will be able to carry up to 4,000 gallons of fire suppressant liquid and can carry enough fuel for a 4.5-hour operation. The first aircraft conversion has already started and the installation of special tanks is the next step. Coulson Canada will then start installing the retardant system by the middle of this year with completion expected by late December.
Coulson Aviation presently operates a fleet of three Lockheed Hercules C130 firefighters and would be interested in obtaining a few more of this type also.
Hanover Airport hopes to attract China cargo flights
It was recently reported that Germany’s Hanover Airport is hoping that soon there will be direct freight flights calling there from China. It is rumored that the China Post is looking at a suitable German airport in order to build its European HQ and start operating a twice-weekly Shanghai - Germany operation. Hanover seems to be high on the list after a recent visit to China by the Lower Saxony Prime Minister, Stephan Weil.
HAJ offers carriers 24/7/365 traffic options.
The operation still has to be confirmed, however, it is said that Hanover came out on top against competition airports in the Netherlands, France and the United Kingdom.
If Hanover gets the deal then they will have to start employing extra customs staff to cope with the extra workload. The flights will carry goods ordered online in Europe with Chinese companies. The Hanover managers are hoping that the e-commerce boom may well mean that up to three daily flights would be possible in the future.
ECS realigns top management to meet future market demands
The Paris-based ECS Group, now one of the world’s leading GSSAs, has announced changes in their top management structure in order to better align themselves to the needs of their partners and clients, specifically in the field of digital economy.
Adrien Thominet, the group COO has been nominated to the position of CEO, a position which until now was held by Bertrand Schmoll. Schmoll will continue to act as Chairman of the group. ECS is aiming to become a world leader in the fast growing global digital economy and to achieve this must effect various changes throughout its customer network. This is one of the main challenges facing Mr Thominet as CEO to strategically move ECS forward in line with future customer needs.
Qatar Cargo joins pharma network with Dublin and Colombo
Doha headquartered Qatar Airways Cargo which serves more than 50 freighter destinations worldwide and which has established itself as a premium carrier for the carriage of pharmaceuticals, has announced it is adding Dublin and Colombo to their Pharma Network.
This move will give QR cargo a total of 73 global pharma destinations.
The Colombo service commenced in mid-May and Dublin will follow as of 12 June when Qatar Airways starts Boeing 787 Dreamliner services to the Irish capital.
Ireland and Sri Lanka have established themselves as leading global hubs for the pharma industry.