IN BRIEF - THE LATEST AIR CARGO INDUSTRY NEWS
Atlas to build new facility
New York-based Atlas Air has made it known that they will enlarge their air cargo set-up at Cincinnati Airport by adding a new cargo handling terminal in the city of Erlanger in Kentucky. The new location is not far away from Atlas Air’s Cincinnati base.
The carrier is said to be investing just over US$34 million into Erlanger and will create another 600 new jobs in the area once the terminal is completed. Atlas is aiming to open the new facility sometime in 2021. It remains to be seen whether they will then close the present Cincinnati terminal and transfer all staff over to the new one in Erlanger.
Western Global being sued by Flexport
Fort Myers, Florida-based Western Global Airlines has had a lawsuit issued against them by the San Francisco-based cargo forwarding company Flexport.
Western Global had a four-year contract with Flexport to operate flights for the forwarder between Los Angeles and Hong Kong with a B747-400 freighter. In the lawsuit, which was filed in New York, Flexport claims that Western Global did not honour the contract as the aircraft freed up for the service continually had mechanical problems which resulted in it being out of service for almost three months. Instead, Western Global offered Flexport an MD-11 freighter with a far lower payload and less cargo volume. This aircraft, Flexport claims, also suffered numerous mechanical delays.
The carrier has 16 freighters on its books, of which only two are B747Fs and the remaining 14 are MD-11Fs.
News is that Atlas Air has now taken over the service using a B747-400F.
Air Dispatch sets new record
The dnata subsidiary Air Dispatch has produced its five millionth load sheet since its inception in 2007. The Prague-based service provider concentrates on providing centralized load control (CLC) services. According to the company, the five millionth electronic document was issued by its Prague office, submitting weight and dimension data of a shipment flown from the Czech capital to Hong Kong, this way ensuring safe and efficient operation.
Air Dispatch’s core business is calculating the weight of shipments and the resulting balance conditions for aircraft prior to takeoff. It complements the activities of traditional loadmasters or even substitutes them. Further to its CLC bread-and-butter activities the company also provides carriers with other value-added services, including flight data warehousing and ULD tracking.
On the occasion of the five millionth load sheet, CEO Nick Yeadon of Air Dispatch outlined the remarkable development of the company since its inception twelve years ago. Starting with 11 employees accommodated in a small office in Prague “we have expanded our staff with over 250 professionals, opened new stations (Ostrava, Czech Rep. / Warsaw, Poland) and launched new services, while never losing focus on quality and innovation.”
In 2016, Emirates Group member dnata acquired a majority stake in Air Dispatch.
Swissport refinances debt
Zurich-headquartered aviation service provider Swissport Group has successfully settled its debt refinancing, the company announced in a release. This way, the agent confirms key messages published on 4 August by CargoForwarder Global, indicating the forthcoming refinancing of outstanding debt with new senior credit facilities and new notes.
The now announced settlement includes €410 million of senior secured notes, €250 million of senior notes and a €850 million term loan B facility.
Swissport is using the net proceeds from the refinancing to repay outstanding borrowings and remaining debt, reads their note.
“The successful refinancing significantly increases our cash position and enables us to further enhance our leading global market position through organic growth opportunities and selective bolt-on acquisitions”, says Eric Born, President and CEO of Swissport International AG. “At the same time, we continue to focus on improving our customer service delivery and reducing our cost structures across the globe.”
Amazon to get B767Fs faster
Amazon’s Prime Air has an agreement with Air Transport Services Group (ATSG) to provide them with additional B767-300 freighters in the near future.
ATSG has a deal with Amazon which stipulates that they will deliver five of the freighters in 2019 and a further five in 2020. At Amazon’s request the delivery dates have now been changed to six B767Fs this year and the remaining four in 2020. Of the six slated for 2019 handover, two have been delivered with a third coming online by the end of August with the remaining three to be in service before this year’s peak business period commences.
All the aircraft are leased by ATSG’s daughter company, Cargo Aircraft Management (CAM) and are operated by ABX Air and ATI-Air Transport on behalf of Amazon.
JAL starts codeshare with Kalitta
Tokyo-based Japan Airlines which for many years no longer has an own freighter fleet has signed a deal with U.S. cargo carrier Kalitta Air for a codeshare service between Chicago and Tokyo’s Narita Airport. The thrice weekly operation uses a Kalitta Air B747-400F which also makes a stop in Anchorage.
This new codeshare agreement means that JAL can once again offer a scheduled cargo service between Japan and the USA. The capacity on these flights is sold by JAL’s cargo department. The carrier which ended all cargo operations in 2010 is said to be looking at signing codeshares with other airlines as well for dedicated cargo services. They have often made it clear that there are no plans to restart with an own freighter fleet again.
China Postal gets first B737-800F
Tianjin, China-based China Postal Airlines which operates a fleet of almost thirty passenger converted Boeing freighters, has announced that they have received their first Boeing 737-800P2F freighter.
The aircraft which previously flew in passenger configuration for China Southern Airlines was converted into a freighter at China’s Taikoo Aircraft Engineering Company, under license from Boeing and is being leased to China Postal. The Chinese carrier which operates postal services throughout China, as well as into Korea, Taiwan and Japan has ten -800F conversions on order with Boeing. They also have twenty-one B737Fs in service of the -300 and -400 types as well as seven B757-200 freighters.
Qantas to be first A321P2F operator
The Australian national carrier which also runs its own domestic cargo division operating with three Boeing 737-300Fs on behalf of the Australia Post is going to be the first operator of the Airbus A321P2F freighter. Delivery of the first aircraft is planned for October 2020 with a further two of the type to follow. These new freighters will take over the role of the aging B737Fs and also offer a far better payload as well as being more fuel efficient.
The Airbus P2F programme for the conversion is being run by the Dresden, Germany based Elbe Flugzeug Werke (EFW). The main deck will be able to accommodate fourteen pallets or containers and the bellies have space for a total of ten LD3 containers as well. Total payload is expected to be around 29 tons.
In other news it was revealed that Australia Post and Qantas have renewed a seven-year contract to carry parcels on the Qantas freighter flights as well as giving Australia Post a priority for the same traffic on the numerous Qantas and Jetstar passenger flights. The deal is estimated to be in the region of A$1 billion.
Fraport ups cargo tonnage in July
For the first time this year Frankfurt Airport operator, Fraport can report an increase in cargo tonnages through the airport. A total of 178,652 metric tons were handled at FRA during July. This represents an increase of 1.5% over the same month of last year. Year-to-Date (YtD) cargo figures still show however a minus compared to 2018. January to July tonnages amounted to 1,244,238 metric tons - a drop of 2.2% on the previous year.
The Fraport Group figures for their other activities, mainly in passenger handling, continued to show good results also in July. A major exception being the two Brazilian airports of Fortaleza (FOR) and Porto Alegre (POA), which together reported an almost 10% drop in passengers handled. This has been attributed to the bankruptcy of Avianca Brasil.
John Mc Donagh