IN BRIEF, THE LATEST CARGO AIRLINE INDUSTRY NEWS.
Unilode and CX Cargo trials on next-generation Track & Trace
Zurich-based ULD management specialists, Unilode Aviation Solutions, has been working for some time with Cathay Pacific Cargo and OnAsset Intelligence to set up an end-to-end shipment tracking system which provides real-time information. CX Cargo has been using their Hong Kong Cargo Terminal for a so-called proof of technology trial of Bluetooth low-energy (BLE) beacons.
The trials have concentrated on how practical it can be to use these wireless devices in CX Cargo’s multistory facility which has mainly large concrete walls. Unilode and CX Cargo state that the trials have been successful, and the next step is for the carrier to get ready for a proof of concept on actual cargo shipments. Cathay Pacific is pushing ahead with its digital strategy and the next generation track and trace system. This, they state is essential in order to push the industry’s need for better transparency throughout the supply chain. The ultimate aim is that their customers can receive real-time tracking of their shipments and in this respect the BLE will enable data to be automatically captured.
Unilode CEO, Benoit Dumont stated that “it’s important to explore technologies that our approach to digitalisation, including benefit realisation and technology choices, is on the right track to provide the industry with sustainable and compliant unit load devices (ULD) tracking data and services.”
AirBridgeCargo adds Ho Chi Minh to its network
Moscow-headquartered AirBridgeCargo Airlines (ABC) has added Vietnam’s Ho Chi Minh City Airport as its 12th online destination in Asia to its network. The carrier will use one of its B747 freighters, of which it now operates eighteen aircraft, to connect customers in Ho Chi Minh and Singapore with a 48-hour guaranteed delivery time to other ABC destinations via its Moscow hub.
Sergey Lazarev, General Director of ABC Airlines commented at the inauguration ceremony in Ho Chi Minh that “on the back of economic growth of more than 7% and increasing export volumes, Vietnam seems like the right place to offer direct freight services to other regions, especially Europe and North America.”
Liege Airport has 800,000 tonnes within reach
Liege Airport has handled 409,916 tonnes over the first six months of 2018. Hopes are high that the record volume of 717,000 tonnes handled in 2017 may be broken and 800,000 tonnes are within reach. This would be the highest ever air cargo volume of a Belgian airport. The introduction of three weekly flights by Chinese carrier Uni-Top to Wuhan can be seen as another contributor to the airport’s growth ratio, which is 16.5%over the first semester of last year. Uni-Top does not deploy its own aircraft but uses a B747 of Aerotrans Cargo instead. The new connection is expected to bring in an extra 1,000 tonnes a month, adding to the ongoing growth of the Asian volume from 34% to 36%.
ASA worried about Brexit backlash
Jon Conway, Director General of Airport Services Association (ASA), has voiced his concern as to how the airport ground handling industry will be able to tackle the challenges ahead once the UK leaves the European Union at the end of March 2019. He poses three main questions on this issue. How big is the risk of severe disruption in operational circles due to a lack of legal basis? Secondly, what will be the drawback for British registered carriers? And last, but not least, will the UK remain part of European agencies?
ASA’s concern for its members is that there are so far no real guidelines or firm solutions being put forward on the above, and other, issues and that there is a real danger that as of April next year there will be total chaos in the handling scene. Some might say that this feeling may well be somewhat pessimistic, however, considering the lack of progress made so far between UK and EU politicians - he may well be right.
Mr Woo Kam Weng, CEO of Kuala Lumpur based POS Aviation, will join the ASA Board as of September this year.
BCS joins ECS as GSSA
The Paris, France-based ECS Group who term themselves as being the global leader in GSSA services, has won Brazilian GSSA, BCS Air as a partner in Latin America. The partnership between both companies will enable the ECS Group to further strengthen their position as a GSSA in the South American market by offering airlines a complete range of quality cargo outsourcing solutions.
BCS Air which has its headquarters in Sao Paulo has had strong connections to the local airfreight community for the past 20 years and offers a portfolio of GSSA services at Brazilian airports for various regional and international airlines. Both companies are no strangers to each other as they have been cooperating together for the past five years already.
CEVA second quarter shows good results
Switzerland-based CEVA Logistics AG has rounded off the first half year by showing also good results for the 2nd Q 2018. Revenues for Q2 totaled US$1,848 billion compared to US$1,721 billion in Q2 of 2017. This was a 7.3% increase on last year’s figures. First half-year revenues went up by almost 10% on last year and Adjusted EBITDA for Q2 was US$ 77 million and US$ 143 million for the January to June period.
CEVA states that the positive results were helped by good business generated following the IPO, their partnership with CMA CGM which came online after regulatory approval and the company’s continued refinancing programme which will be completed by August of this year.
DHL Express has placed a firm order with Boeing for the delivery of fourteen B777 freighters along with an option for a further seven of the type. The first four B777Fs will join the DHL Express fleet in 2019. The triple-seven freighters will be used to gradually replace older aircraft in the DHL fleet.
Doha-based Qatar Airways has also ordered further B777Fs. They gave Boeing an order for five aircraft at the recent Farnborough Airshow. Insiders are stating that these additional B777Fs are meant to replace some of the carrier’s Airbus A330-200Fs. Whether all eight of QR Cargo’s A330Fs will leave the fleet, remains to be seen. The carrier already operates thirteen B777Fs.
Korean Air has started B777F services to New Delhi. The Seoul-based carrier will operate three weekly services between Seoul’s Incheon Airport and Delhi.
Hilarious - new cargo door openers
The crew of a recent Aeroflot B737-800 flight between Saint Petersburg and Moscow got a fright when a cockpit indication showed that the forward cargo door had opened in-flight. They landed safely at Moscow’s Sheremetyevo Airport and when military personnel inspected the door they found that it had opened by 15-20 cm. The reason was that a dog being carried in the belly had broken free from his cage and with continual paw-scratching, had somehow managed to activate the inside door opening mechanism. Crew and dog came through the incident in good shape.
John Mc Donagh / Marcel Schoeters