IN BRIEF, THE LATEST CARGO AIRLINE INDUSTRY NEWS.
Turkish Airlines to add three new B777Fs
Istanbul-based Turkish Airlines continues with their air cargo expansion programme by ordering a further three Boeing 777 freighters. With the two B777Fs already in service with TK, the cargo fleet will by the end of 2018 consist of five B777Fs, nine A330Fs, along with three aging A300Fs and three A310Fs which are used mainly as back-up aircraft or on shorter regional routes. Turkish Airlines also offers considerable additional long-haul belly capacity with their fleet of around 90 A330, A340 and B777 passenger aircraft.
November cargo figures break records
As we say goodbye to 2017, figures issued at years end by WorldACD show that the month of November turned out to be a bumper one for the air cargo industry. Tonnages moved in November were 1.3% higher than those of October, which itself was a record month. WorldACD also reports that revenues generated by airlines in this period were 26% higher than in November of 2016. It seems that yields are starting to stay firm and it is reported that especially those for air freight originating from the European area were up 19% year-on-year. All areas showed positive volume growth.
As the year drew to an end there was no sign of rates dropping as the peak season which usually tapers off around mid-December, continued unabated. Backlogs still need to be cleared and it is expected that capacity will continue to remain short up until this year’s Chinese New Year.
Dutch airports cargo up in Q3
Cargo traffic at Amsterdam Schiphol and Maastricht Airport has risen by 10.7% during the third quarter of 2017 to a total of 468.000 tonnes, the Dutch Central bureau of Statistics reports. With 22.000 tonnes MAA’s volume has more than tripled compared to Q3 2016. The main growth was reported in intra-Europe non-EU traffic, thanks to new routes to Azerbaijan and Russia.
Still, some 96% of the total Dutch air cargo volume was handled at AMS, which reported a growth of 7.1%. More than 25% of the volume was from and to Northern Asia. North America accounted for 19%, Europe for 16%. The latter volume showed the largest increase, i.e. by 22% to 70.000 tonnes. The total traffic to and from Asia grew by 7%. This was due to a 14% increase of the volume to and from West Asia. These figures however do not yet reflect the impact of the slot allocation problems at AMS.
Congo Airways on the lookout for a cargo cooperation
Kinshasa-based Congo Airways which operates with a fleet of four A320 passenger aircraft, has recently issued a Request For Proposals (RFP) for a possible partner to assist the carrier in setting up own air cargo operations. It is not yet clear what type of logistics partnership is foreseen by Congo Airways. The RFP points out however that suitable candidates must be approved by the Congolese (Democratic Republic) civil aviation authority and that they should be able to prove having at least five years’ experience in the air cargo sector.
The deadline for submissions was December 29th 2017. There are quite a few smaller independent air cargo operators within the Congo who mainly operate regional services with smaller cargo aircraft types.
Cologne reports stark cargo growth
Air freight volumes handled at Cologne-Bonn Airport (CGN) leapt last year, reaching 840,000 tons versus 786,000 tons in 2016. This is a record figure, cementing CGN’s third place in the German cargo landscape after Frankfurt and Leipzig-Halle.
2017 was the fourth year in a row that the airport was able to grow in both major business areas - passenger and freight. Growth in cargo (+7 percent y-o-y) and passengers, totaling 12.4 million (+500.000) was mainly driven by the integrators UPS, FedEx and DHL, but also by LH low cost subsidiary Eurowings that added a number of passenger and cargo-friendly long-haul services to its network such as Cape Town or Windhoek in the southern part of Africa.
CGN emphasizes that cargo figures were mainly boosted by e-commerce traffic, consolidating further the already dominant position of the aforementioned integrators at Cologne airport.
LATAM Group invests in GRU hangar
The new maintenance hangar to be built at Sao Paulo/Guarulhos Airport will offer 65,000 square meters of ground floor space and be able to simultaneously accommodate seven wide-body aircraft or up to 19 Airbus A320 family single aisle jetliners.
The facility, costing $40 mn, will become the airline group’s Line Maintenance Center.
The project is part of LATAM’s aim to consolidate operations at Guarulhos, its largest international hub, states the carrier in a release. "The construction of the hangar will mark a milestone in our efforts to develop a structure that enables even greater efficiency in our operations, while upholding the highest safety standards, a non-negotiable value for the company," emphasizes Sergio Novato, Senior Director of Maintenance, LATAM Airlines Brazil.
Once completed, 600-plus employees will work round-the-clock over three shifts to perform the ‘line’ aircraft maintenance, taking place between flights.
Atlas Air has taken yet another converted B767-300BCF aircraft into their fleet. The aircraft had been dry-leased to Amazon which returned it back in order for Atlas Air to operate it under Amazon’s Prime Air label.
Chinese express carrier, SF Airlines has taken an ex-American Airlines passenger B757-200 which will be converted by ST Aerospace into a B757 freighter.
Modern Logistics, a Brazilian air cargo operator has leased a second B737-400 freighter which previously flew as a passenger aircraft for Enter Air. The aircraft was converted by Aeronautical Engineers.
John Mc Donagh / Marcel Schoeters / Heiner Siegmund