IN BRIEF - THE LATEST AIR CARGO INDUSTRY NEWS
Unilode starts HKG repair centre
Zurich based Unilode Aviation Solutions, a global provider of outsourced ULD management and repair solutions has moved into a new ULD and galley cart repair centre in Hong Hong.
The repair facility will employ up to thirty technicians responsible for ULD assembly, ULD repair, pallet and net repair as well as the maintenance and repair of inflight galley equipment. Unilode’s Hong Hong facility offers 3,000 square metres of space and apart from being used for their own storage and repair work, also will act as a repair centre for Envirotainer.
Unilode is expecting full certification during the coming weeks for the new set-up from the Hong Kong Civil Aviation Department (HKCAD), as well as from the European Union Aviation Safety Agency (EASA). Hong Hong-based Cathay Pacific Airways is already a long-standing customer of Unilode.
LH Cargo cuts back on summer capacity
The general slowdown of the air cargo markets has also had its effect on Lufthansa cargo’s summer schedules. The German carrier has decided to introduce capacity cuts on some of their routes for the second and third quarters of this year. By cutting capacity LH Cargo aims to up their load factors and optimally deploy their freighters during the coming six months.
The airline offers much cargo capacity in the bellies of their extensive long-haul passenger destinations and the cutbacks will take place with the freighter fleet. Specific route changes or deletions have so far not been made known, but LH Cargo state that clients will be informed of these within good time. The changes are they say in keeping with the planned rollover from the MD-11F fleet to the newer and more efficient B777F aircraft of which a further two were recently added to the fleet.
April markets drop further
Less Freight Tonne Kilometers (FTKs), more cargo capacity and a continuing drop in load factors. That’s the picture painted by IATA and WorldACD in their recent publication of April 2019 air cargo results.
Actual flown FTKs fell worldwide (domestic and international) by 4.7% compared to April 2018. International FTKs which account for around 85% of total cargo flown went even further down to -5.4%. Capacity offered (AFTKs) on the market however rose by +2.6% (International +1.7%) - this resulted in load factors worldwide reaching only 46.3% (International 51.6%).
Average load factors have now reached a point where they are almost 4% lower than they were in April last year. The year-to-date cumulative figures show more or less the same percentage changes as in April. Most markets showed deterioration in April as far as FTK growth was concerned, with the weakest market segments being Asia Pacific (-7.4%), Europe (-6.2%) and the Middle East (-6.2%). North America (-0.1%) came out somewhat better. Africa (+4.4%) and Latin America (+5.0%) showed a plus in actual FTKs but both market segments showed the highest increase in AFTKs with +12.6% and +18.7% respectively.
It only remains to be seen how the general yield per kilo worked out for the carriers.
Jettainer: Sonntag to succeed Hernig
MD Carsten Hernig of ULD manager Jettainer steps down from his post after a five-year tenure on 30 June. He will be succeeded by Thomas Sonntag, VP Procurement & Infrastructure at Lufthansa Cargo.
Sonntag has a degree in mechanical engineering and has been acquiring comprehensive industry know-how in various management functions at LH Cargo for more than ten years. Previously, he held various management positions for Siemens and ABB.
Harald Gloy, Operations Director at Lufthansa Cargo and member of Jettainer’s Advisory Board, commented: “We thank Carsten Hernig for his sustained, successful work and appreciate that he will remain within the Lufthansa family.”
Gloy went on to say: “As a proven supply chain expert and experienced manager, Thomas Sonntag will further advance the success story of Jettainer. Digital topics, further international growth and the development of new business areas constitute a key element of Jettainer’s and Sonntag’s future tasks.”
Carsten Hernig will move to Sao Paulo, to become LH Cargo’s Latin American and Carribbean Regional Head.
Volga-Dnepr Technics gets B777 maintenance approval
Moscow-based Volga-Dnepr Technics (VDTM) continues to expand their MRO services further. They have recently been given the approval of the Bermuda Civil Aviation Authority (BCAA) to carry out maintenance on Boeing 777-200 / 300 aircraft types.
This allows VDTM to provide line maintenance of these aircraft types on the Bermuda Aircraft registry at the VDTM maintenance base at Moscow’s Sheremetyevo Airport. The certification process only took two months to complete with VDTM supplying the BCAA with all necessary documentation in record time.
SF Airlines looks at N. America services
Shenzhen, China-based SF Airlines which in the meantime operates a fleet of 58 freighter aircraft is said to be planning its entry into the North American cargo market later this year.
It is reported that SF Airlines has submitted a so called ‘application for exemption authority’ to the U.S. DOT. With this the carrier is applying for rights to operate a three times weekly B747-400F service between Hangzhou and New York (JFK) as of September.
The SF Airlines fleet is made up of a variety of B737-300 / 400Fs, B757-200Fs and B767-300ERBCFs as well as a solitary B747-400F. Flights operate on behalf of SF Express from their two hubs in Hangzhou and Beijing to many Chinese cities and destinations in India, Vietnam, Singapore, Hong Kong, Taiwan and Japan.
Amazon gets moving on new Cincinnati hub
The Amazon Prime Air fleet now consists of just under 100 aircraft and is expected to grow further in the near future. To cope for increased handling activities, Amazon recently started the construction of their new hub at Cincinnati International Airport.
The facility when completed at a cost of around US$1.5 billion, can offer 280,000 square meters of handling space and will have a total of 100 parking spaces for freighter aircraft on the apron at Cincinnati.
Prime Air operations are mainly carried out by ABX Air, ATI - Air Transport International, Atlas Air and Southern Air. The new hub when completed will also offer a further 2,000 new jobs in the area.
WFS wins four North American carriers
Worldwide Flight Services’ (WFS) U.S. organization has signed four new handling agreements with carriers in the U.S. and Canada. Allegiant Air has awarded WFS contracts at Tucson, Arizona, Albuquerque in New Mexico and Plattsburg and Albany airports in the state of New York.
Regional carrier Spirit Airlines has signed with WFS to support their A320 services from Plattsburg and JetBlue will be handled by WFS at Yellowstone Airport, Montana for the airlines’ seasonal flights to Long Beach, California. Canadian carrier, Flax Air has signed a three-year contract with WFS for its seasonal flights from Phoenix, Palm Springs and Las Vegas to Edmonton and Winnipeg.
time:matters starts customer-friendly registration
The Neu-Isenburg, German-based special speed logistics company, time:matters has introduced what they term as 'a more customer friendly registration process.’ This, they say will enable new customers to register with time:matters via their fully digitized system and cut out the need for any form of paper registration. The company has been studying for some time as how to optimize clients’ needs and offer a more efficient registration service by being able to capture all information needed in a short space of time.
At this year’s AKJ Automotive congress time:matters’ On Board Courier platform ‘airmates’ was presented with the “logistics tool award“ as a distinction for their innovative projects that combine logistics processes and information processing for the global automotive industry.
Aer Caribe introduces U.S. charters
Bogota, Colombia-based AerCaribe which operates with a fleet of two B737-400 freighters has along with their Peruvian subsidiary AerCaribe Peru, indicated that they plan to start cargo charter operations in the near future to the USA using Boeing 747-400 freighters. Both carriers have apparently made separate applications in this respect to the US Department of Transportation (DOT).
Ad-hoc charters are planned using a total of five B747-400Fs, three of which will be used by the Colombian registered airline and two by the Peruvian. It has not been revealed as to where the aircraft will be leased or bought from.
John Mc Donagh