IN BRIEF - THE LATEST AIR CARGO INDUSTRY NEWS
Cargolux looks closer at ACMI business
Maybe not a bad move considering the continued slowdown in air cargo volumes, but also in some areas a lack of full freighter capacity to care for uplift. This was maybe the thought behind Cargolux’s CEO, Richard Forson’s statement a little while ago to our colleagues at Loadstar.
There is a distinct move by airlines which operate both freighters and long-haul passenger aircraft to combine more cargo capacity in the belly holds of the passenger aircraft, which with uprated engines and superior aerodynamics, manage to uplift between 25-30 tons on an average flight. Therefore, the move to cut pure freighter capacity and hence cost, is in many cases a wise one. Cargolux has seen that due to the above, the B747 freighter fleets are becoming smaller and may well have opened a niche market for the Luxembourg-based all cargo carrier which recently also leased in a further three elderly B747-400 freighters and it seems it plans to offer them for ACMI charter work to airlines who don’t wish to invest in the larger freighter anymore but who could easily use their services on routes where they have ample volumes suitable for this type of aircraft. CV has a total of twenty-four B747 freighters in service, of which only one so far is leased out - to partner carrier Emirates SkyCargo.
Parchim Airport insolvent
The airport of Schwerin-Parchim, situated in the eastern part of Germany, not far from Hamburg, once had grand ambitions to become a freighter hub in Germany.
It all started with the local government being convinced that Chinese investor Jonathan Pang would pump millions into the airport infrastructure and entice Chinese cargo carriers to operate daily flights into the airport. Pang apparently made many promises, of which very few actually came about. The promised financial investment never materialized, and the end of the story is that the operator, Baltic Airport Management has officially declared bankruptcy. This after most of the airport’s staff had been laid off. Who only knows how many millions of public money have been put down the drain during the past years since Mr Pang promised Parchim a place on the aviation map.
IAG cargo Q1 revenues down
IAG Cargo, the British Airways, Iberia Cargo and Aer Lingus Cargo consortium joins a number of other carriers in reporting disappointing first quarter results.
Combined revenues for the first three months of this year totaled UKP275 million, a drop of 2.5% on Q1 2018. However, it is interesting to note that traffic increased by 2.6% to a total of 1.39 billion tonne kilometers. The increase here was attributed to a high demand for space from Africa and South America. Actual volumes also rose by 2.5% to 174,000 tonnes but yields went down by 5%. This drop can partly be attributed to the almost 5% increase in capacity that IAG Cargo put on the market in Q1.
IAG Cargo’s CEO, Lynne Embleton commented on the Q1 results that: “As expected, the international airfreight market has declined this quarter. A weak Asia-Pacific market has been partially offset by strong performance from South America and Africa, helping us to steadily grow volumes.”
Fraport cargo drops considerably in April
April was another weak month for Germany’s largest airport’s cargo operation. A total of 178,342 tons moved through the airport during April. This was a dramatic 6% drop compared to April 2018. The loss of cargo traffic in April comes on the heels of Fraport’s recent report that 2019 first quarter cargo tonnages also had dropped quite a bit compared to the previous year.
The drop in cargo tonnages and revenues is in stark contrast to Fraport’s passenger development which showed a 2.5% increase to 14.8 million passengers in Q1 and this trend continued in April with a total of 6 million passengers handled - an increase of 6% over April 2018. The Fraport Group revenues for the month continued to increase with most of their airport handling partners reporting positive passenger figures.
Kerry Logistics expands Cold Chain in China
Hong Kong-based Kerry Logistics has made an important move in their China investments by expanding into the food-related cold chain capacity in mainland China. A new company named Kerry Cold Chain Solution Ltd has been formed in order for the company to try and gain a firmer foothold in the fast-growing domestic Chinese food products market.
Kerry Cold Chain is a joint venture with Shanghai Zhizhen Logistics, a company in which Kerry Logistics already has a majority holding. The new company will operate out of their own cold chain facilities and intends to handle a wide range of food products, from raw ingredients to finished dairy products.
Kerry also announced the appointment of Martin Stoekenbroek to the position of Managing Director for Europe, Middle East and Africa. He was previously Senior Vice President Global Airfreight at Geodis and he will be based in Amsterdam.
Neutral Air Partners adds new member
Hong Kong-headquartered Neutral Air Partners (NAP) which was founded in 2016 with what they term as their aim “to inject air cargo expertise into the logistics industry” - has announced that they have added India’s TCI Express as their latest member. TCI Express employs more than 3,000 staff in India and offers express delivery services to many of the country’s leading companies.
NAP which boasts more than 250 air cargo specialists as members, also works closely with airlines and prominent airline partners are AirBridgeCargo, Etihad Cargo, Coyne Airways and Kenya’s Astral Aviation.
Oslo Seafood Centre on the back burner
What has happened to the wonderful sounding plan of Worldwide Flight Services (WFS) and airport operator Avinor to erect and manage a new seafood terminal at Oslo Airport?
The deal was announced a couple of months ago and was seen as being a major step by Oslo Airport to increase the throughput of Scandinavian seafood products by erecting state-of-the-art facilities there. According to the statement made by Avinor managers, they decided to pull the plug on the whole thing because in their view WFS had after signing the letter of intent introduced changes to the plans which Avinor could not sanction under their existing procurement regulations. WFS managers are keeping quiet on the issue. There has been considerable criticism from other Oslo Airport cargo managers who have maintained that there is already more than enough cold warehouse cargo space on hand in order to cater for future seafood growth.
Could it be that WFS had initiated changes which may well be seen as counter-competitive moves against other handlers at the airport? Wait and see if they themselves wish to comment on the close-out.
Taiwan-based China Airlines will order three Boeing 777 freighters from the Seattle aircraft manufacturer. A letter of intent has been signed by Boeing and China Airlines for the three freighters with an option for a further three of the type. The carrier already operates 18 Boeing 747-400 freighters, of which some are approaching retirement age.
Qatar Airways confirms that four of the five Boeing 777Fs which were ordered last year will be delivered to them by the end of this year. The carrier already has 16 B777Fs in the fleet along with 2 B747Fs and 5 A330Fs. It is expected that the additional B777Fs will eventually replace the Airbus freighters.
A majority stake in the Provo Utah, USA-based regional cargo carrier Alpine Air Express which operates a fleet of more than forty Beech turboprops to destinations throughout the western part of the USA, has been taken by the USA based equity house AE Industrial Partners. The amount paid has not been disclosed, but the company states that Alpine Express CEO Michael Nancy will continue to run the company.
John Mc Donagh