IN BRIEF, THE LATEST CARGO AIRLINE INDUSTRY NEWS.
Unilode completes Bluetooth tracking with CX
Zurich-based ULD management company Unilode Aviation Solutions announces that they successfully completed Bluetooth tracking trial with Cathay Pacific who is one of their major clients. The tracking enables an end-to-end visibility of cargo shipments between Hong Kong and Melbourne. The trials took place led by a project team consisting of members from CX Cargo, OnAsset, Nexiot and Unilode who were able to deliver what they term as a flawless capture of data for all relevant supply chain events into Cathay Pacific’s cargo management systems. Unilode state that the trial also included the world’s first deployment of Bluetooth Low Energy version 5 technology which they say has a far better range over any other Bluetooth deployment previously used. The trials will continue for some time before Unilode makes it known on a general rollout schedule for the complete ULD fleet.
Alibaba boss intends to leave
Jack Ma, the Chinese founder of giant internet express and e-commerce concern Alibaba has made it known that he will leave the company in the near future.
His departure will however not be a sudden one, but rather more in separate stages. In one year from now Mr Ma will hand over his position as chairman of the board to Daniel Zhang who has been acting as boss of the Alibaba daily business for some years already. Mr Ma intends to remain on the Alibaba board until 2020 and it is stated that he will still hold a considerable amount of the company’s shares afterwards. This probably, so that he can still have considerable influence on future strategy. The Alibaba share price has come under considerable pressure since the introduction of the increased U.S. customs charges on many Chinese goods. Alibaba’s share price which some months back traded at an all-time high of around €180 has in the meantime dropped in the region of €135.
Swissport opens Stuttgart hub
Swissport International (SWP), one of the leading suppliers of airport ground services and cargo handling has expanded in Germany by acquiring Stuttgart-based Apron GmbH which is a cargo handler at the South German airport.
The move ensures that Stuttgart, next to Frankfurt, will be Swissport’s second largest cargo hub in the country. The takeover of Apron GmbH will see Swissport then handling the majority of the cargo passing through Stuttgart Airport and also increases their German cargo handling by a further 20 percent per annum. Stuttgart Airport record a total of 27,000 tons of air cargo handled during 2017 with a further increase expected for this year. Swissport announced earlier this year that they are also investing in a new 16,000 sq m cargo handling facility at Frankfurt Airport. Willy Ruf, SWP Senior VP for Germany, Austria and Switzerland commented: “with the addition of Stuttgart to our global network, our clients will now be able to rely on our high-quality cargo services at eleven airports across Germany.”
jetBlue enters air cargo market
New York-based passenger carrier jetBlue Airways has signed a deal with Miami-based FlyKargo whereby jetBlue will carry freight generated by Syargo between Fort Lauderdale and San Juan, Puerto Rico. Both parties state that in the initial stages the deal is for normal air-to-air services, but they intend to expand this for direct shipper pic-up and on forwarding from San Juan to other destinations. This deal follows on jetBlue’s decision in 2015 to cease accepting cargo on their flights and it will run for a three-month trial period. If it is successful, then both parties intend to expand it to other destinations within jetBlue’s network. There will be enough belly space on offer for SkyKargo as jetBlue operates almost thirty flights per week between Fort Lauderdale and San Juan.
ACI opens cargo in Switzerland
UK-based aircraft charter specialist, Air Charter Service (ACS) has opened a cargo department office in Geneva, Switzerland in addition to ACS’s private jet and group travel operation there. The company has seen the need for a separate cargo division in Switzerland and has chosen Geneva as they are already well established there. ACS claims that they have already started booking cargo charters from the new location which was officially opened in August.
ACS runs five other separate cargo teams in the UK, France, Spain, Germany and Russia, who concentrate solely on full and part charter aircraft cargo sales.
Etihad Cargo commits B777F on core routes
There has been a lot of discussion during the past days as to whether Etihad Airways will cut flights or other services even further due to the continued losses that the carrier is making. There was also a recent Bloomberg report which suggested that Etihad is now in direct negotiations with Emirates to determine whether a fusion of both carriers would make sense. Emirates and Etihad have so far denied that any such discussions are taking place.
In the meantime, Etihad has reconfirmed its adjusted cargo flight schedule which is geared towards utilization of their remaining freighter fleet. Etihad Cargo now operates with only five B777Fs, the A330Fs having been sold off to DHL. Etihad Cargo means to continue operations on their core routes within the Middle, Far East, Europe and the USA. There are also recent reports that at least three of the top Etihad Cargo executives have left the carrier.
New York-based Atlas Air has made a deal with China’s SF Express to lease and operate one of their B747-400 freighters for SF on Trans-Pacific routes. The operation is expected to start in October.
Italian-based (Rome) Mistral Air has taken delivery of their first B737-400 freighter which was recently ferried from Florida to Rome. Mistral belongs to the Italian Post (Poste Italiane) and has a fleet of seven B737 and ATR aircraft.
John Mc Donagh