Paul Gregorowitsch to leave Oman Air
Surprising news reached the aviation world this week when Oman Air’s CEO, Paul Gregorowitsch suddenly made it public that he will be leaving the carrier by the end of the year. It was only recently that Gregorowitsch informed CargoForwarder Global on his long reaching plans to further develop Oman Air as an important player in the Gulf region for both cargo and passenger business. One has to wonder, why this sudden move on his part? In a statement he says that his departure is for personal reasons and that he will leave the airline branch altogether and go into retirement.
A strange move considering his intensive involvement during the past months on Oman Air fleet revision and future strategy. Could there maybe other reasons behind his departure?

Alibaba Headquarters - courtesy Alibaba
Alibaba Headquarters - courtesy Alibaba

Alibaba has 5 year logistics investment plan
The Chinese e-commerce giant has made it known that they will invest up to US$15.2 billion during the coming five years with the aim of speeding up their national and international delivery process. Presently, Alibaba relies quite a lot on partner organisations to process and deliver their goods. It seems that the aforesaid investment will lead to a far more independent set-up and an almost 100% own control of their delivery service. Ultimate aim to have mainland China deliveries within a maximum of 24 hours and international ones within 72 hours.
It is expected that part of this investment amount will be used for Alibaba to take a majority control in their Cainiao logistics platform. They presently own 47% and a 51% major share is what Alibaba is striving for. Further investment in updating technology and infrastructure is also foreseen.

Vallair Capital logo - courtesy Vallair
Vallair Capital logo - courtesy Vallair

Vallair launches A321P2F with Precision
Luxembourg-based aircraft leasing company, Vallair Capital, has tied up with Precision Conversions to become the launch customer for Precision’s Airbus A321-200PC - passenger to freighter conversion programme. It is said that Vallair already has acquired their first A321 passenger aircraft and has given it to Precision for conversion. The aircraft in question was manufactured back in 1998 and has since flown for various airlines.
The Airbus A321PC conversion programme is operated jointly by Precision Aircraft Solutions and ATSG (Air Transport Services Group). It is expected that there will be numerous orders for this type in the coming years and first FAA certification is expected by early 2019.


Launch customer on hand for the B777conversion programme
It’s not only Airbus conversions that are in the news. A launch customer has been found for Bedek Aviation’s Boeing 777 passenger-to-freighter (P2F) conversion. Bedek, which is part of the Israel Aerospace Industries company, has been looking for some time at the possibility to convert B777-200ER (Extended Range) passenger aircraft into freighters. The programme which is dubbed as B777BDSF, is expected to start up within the coming months. One drawback is that the converted passenger version will definitely not have the range that the B777 pure freighter has. However, Bedek is convinced that it will be especially interesting for integrators.

David Kerr, Senior VP Etihad Cargo and VK Mathews, Executive Chairman IBS at iCargo signing - courtesy Etihad
David Kerr, Senior VP Etihad Cargo and VK Mathews, Executive Chairman IBS at iCargo signing - courtesy Etihad

Carr joins Etihad as Kerr readies to leave
The personnel carousel continues at Etihad Airways. As David Kerr, Etihad’s Senior Vice President Cargo prepares to leave the company by the end of this year to pursue another opportunity in the aviation business, Etihad announced that Justin Carr will step on-board as Vice President Cargo commercial.
Carr has been in the logistics industry for the past twenty years and joins Etihad Cargo from DHL where he was head of business development for the Middle East and Africa. In the meantime. Etihad stated that Mr Kerr’s successor will be made known within the coming months. It seems that the Abu Dhabi-based carrier already has someone to step into David’s shoes.
Etihad also announced last week that they have awarded IBS software with a multi-year contract to implement what they term as their award winning cargo management solution called iCargo. The iCargo system will manage all of the carrier’s air cargo sales and operations across the globe.

Cargolux passes ’Enhanced IOSA’ audit
Luxembourg’s all cargo carrier, Cargolux, announced on 19. October that they have successfully passed their sixth IOSA audit with “flying colours.“ The IATA Operational Safety Audit is designed to assess operational management and control systems of their member airlines and has in the meantime gained international recognition. The audit itself takes five days to complete and is carried out by five individual auditors. In total, they audited Cargolux on around 900 different standards. Cargolux’s internal preparation for the audit was set up beforehand with a team of 20 staff, allocated from all of the airline’s divisions who worked for many months on getting ready for the final audit. Cargolux had their initial audit back in 2007 and has been a leader in enhancing safety in operations and increasing standards.

Qatar Airways B747-8 freighter - courtesy Qatar Airways
Qatar Airways B747-8 freighter - courtesy Qatar Airways

QR Cargo to operate own B747-8F fleet
Contrary to what others may have thought, Qatar Airways has made it known that they will not leave the operation of their incoming Boeing 747-8 freighter fleet to others, but will operate  the aircraft themselves. The first of the type was recently handed over in Doha, Qatar and a second aircraft is expected shortly. Qatar Cargo will eventually cease operation of wet-leased B747-400 freighters once the 747-8s come on-line. This means that QR Cargo will then operate their total fleet of eight A330-200Fs and thirteen B777Fs and the new B747-8Fs by themselves.

John Mc Donagh

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