IN BRIEF, THE LATEST CARGO AIRLINE INDUSTRY NEWS.
Airbus looks at A330neo freighter
Recent reports state that the Toulouse-based aircraft manufacturer is looking at the possibility of offering the market a freighter version of the A330neo aircraft. There is said to have been interest shown for this type by Amazon International and UPS Airlines. This would basically mean that Airbus would deliver with a stretched A330-900 fuselage which would enable UPS and Amazon to carry more cargo on short to medium haul routes. Both carriers have so far not confirmed their interest in this new A330F type, but if it came on line then it could be a future replacement for some of their older Boeing 767 freighter fleets. Airbus has been lagging behind Boeing in their freighter production. So far only about 40 A330-200 freighters have been delivered compared to the numerous B777F and B767F variants.
French air cargo industry creates ACFA as umbrella organisation
The French air cargo community has set up its own umbrella organisation named Air Cargo France Association (ACFA). Its aim is to promote French air cargo and to reinforce the attractiveness of the national airports. The parties involved are the Paris airport group ADP, Air France Cargo, the professional organisation of transport and logistics - TLF Overseas, the organisation of French cargo airlines SYCAFF, WFS, SODEXI, Cargo Information Network France (CIN France), the customs organisation of Roissy, the Civil Aviation Authority and the ‘airport prefecture’ of Roissy-Le Bourget. They aim for joint efforts to support all air cargo related projects. One of the ACFA’s aims is in strengthening cooperation concerning competition legislation. Another is in the adoption of Pharma CEIV at Paris-CDG. The participation of CIN France is meant to speed up digitalisation and paperless data exchange. ACFA also hopes to develop quality services, operational resilience and land-side tarmac security through geolocation technology. Last but not least, the umbrella organisation wants to invest in air cargo training to support employment.
China's express sector earns US$20b in 1Q
China's express sector maintained strong growth in the first quarter of this year lifted by booming e-commerce, a Xinhua report said referring to official data from the State Post Bureau (SPB).
The sector raked in more than 127.1 billion yuan (US$20.2 billion) of revenue in the January-March period, up 29.1% year on year, SPB said.
A total of 9.92 billion parcels were shipped during the period, up 30.6% from a year ago, part of which were created by online sales worth 1.5 trillion yuan.
Over 3.94 billion parcels were delivered in March alone, and the SPB expected 4 billion deliveries to be shipped in April.
Boosted by China's Belt and Road Initiative and expanding cross-border e-commerce, cross-border express services have been growing at a faster pace than the average growth of the sector for 10 consecutive months.
With average annual growth of 42% in the past decade, the country's express sector has topped the world for four straight years in terms of business volume.
A Xinhua report said that as the sector grows quickly, government oversight has been reinforced. A new regulation on express delivery services, the first of its kind, will go into effect on May 1.
Johannes Riege hands over to younger generation
Riege Software founder Johannes Riege has stepped into retirement after 40 years at the helm of the successful provider of software solutions and services for the cargo industry. The company which in the meantime provides its services to more than 350 clients across around the globe, was founded by Johannes in 1985 in a small office in Germany. Today, Riege Software has branches throughout Europe, the Americas and Asia. He now feels it is time to step down and hand over the reins as CEO to his eldest son Tobias who until now was acting as COO. He will be supported by his brother Christian who has also spent many years with the company as SVP Software Development.
Johannes Riege is going into retirement, but that does not mean that he’ll disappear from the scene altogether. He’ll always be on hand to advise the new generation when and where needed.
FRA Airport launches Smart Air Cargo Trailer project
In a move aimed at increasing process efficiency at Frankfurt’s CargoCity South, the airport has launched what they term as a “Smart Air Cargo Trailer” project. In their word this is “a project to provide solutions for autonomous needs-based shipments and minimize wait times at ramps.” The problem to be solved lies with the amount of single shipments which are transported within CargoCity South, hence putting extra pressure on processing capacity and the internal transport system. The research now in progress is aimed at finding a solution with different partners to optimize the use of resources and in the future be able to handle so called short-distance shipments automatically by using a cloud-based platform. On the face of it, a rather complex issue. However one which Fraport is taking seriously by using what they call ‘smart trailers’ equipped with a camera system which records how full a trailer is and once a certain loading level has been reached a message goes out for it to be taken to a pre-assigned ramp position for handling by a freight agent or handling company. Relevant information can be found on the airport’s website.
The AN-225 returns to service
The massive Antonov AN-225 Mirya transporter which has six engines has been in the air for almost the past 30 years, transporting very heavy and bulky machinery across the globe. Flown by Antonov Airlines, the only remaining aircraft of its type in service has recently returned to the skies after having undergone major maintenance and modernization of many of its cockpit and other components. The aircraft positioned on 3. April from Kiev to Leipzig where it took on a load of cargo destined for Athens, Greece. The An-225 can carry up to 250 tonnes of cargo over long distances and among others, is in great demand from the mining and heavy machinery industry for the speedy transport of equipment. There is hope within Antonov that after the cancellation in 2015 of the cooperation contract with Russia’s United Aircraft Corporation (UAC), that a deal can be done with China in order to restart production of the type.
Airbus and Luxembourg join forces
The Luxembourg government has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with Airbus aimed at setting up a framework for a long-term cooperation in the fields of space technology, rotary wing aircraft development, cyber security and remote pilot aircraft systems. Many may think that this is a strange move on the part of Airbus. In a statement issued by Etienne Schneider, Luxembourg’s Deputy Prime Minister, he says: “The collaboration with Airbus is in line with the Luxembourg Defense Guidelines for 2025 plus establishing the framework for the development of Luxembourg’s Defense.” It was further stated that the cooperation is also aimed at strengthening Luxembourg’s future NATO support and EU defense capabilities.
There is of course a commercial aspect to all of this, as Airbus has indicated that they have agreed to provide training sessions to Luxembourg-based companies which could in turn become potential suppliers for cyberspace innovations and helicopter production.
Kale Logistics launches RIGEL
At the recent WINGS INDIA 2018 event in Hyderabad, the Indian branch of Kale Logistics Solutions launched what they term as India’s first online e-Booking platform for the air cargo industry. It has been dubbed RIGEL and Kale Logistics state that the new system is a one-stop online booking platform in India which is meant to gradually replace cumbersome manual air cargo booking processes which exist in the country.
The new e-Booking platform is said to give users a much faster access to routes, rates and schedules for cargo bookings and also ensures that compliances for further processing of shipments are taken care of at the point of booking. Prior to officially presenting the new system, Kale said they ran a successful pilot project with one of India’s largest freight forwarding and customs brokerage companies as well as with a leading airline in the country.
John Mc Donagh / Marcel Schoeters / Nol van Fenema