IN BRIEF - THE LATEST AIR CARGO INDUSTRY NEWS
Russia’s Nordstar aims to add cargo operations
Is AirBridgeCargo going to get some competition in Russia in the near future? This may well be the case as Russian passenger charter carrier Nordstar is said to be planning their own independent cargo operation.
Reports out of Russia say that Nordstar is planning to add up to five Boeing 767-300 freighters into their fleet. The carrier which was founded in 2009 has its main base in the city of Norilsk in the Siberian Krasnoyarsk region. It, along with sister company Nordavia belongs to the MMC Norilsk Nickel company.
Nordstar presently operates a fleet of nine B737-800 aircraft along with five ATR42-500 turboprops. The plan is to lease the five B767Fs and start services within Russia as well as to China and Europe, from early 2020.
Swissport fights global warming
The Zurich-based ground handler intends to increase the share of electric powered vehicles in its fleet to at least 50 percent until 2025. This is an important contribution to further reduce the company’s carbon footprint and to better the working environment of its own staff, states the agent in a release. It is in line with measures already implemented between 2016 and 2018. During this period, Swissport increased the number of e-vehicles from 925 to 2,420, among them electrical cargo lifters and battery-powered aircraft pushback tractors, pictured here.
The company is currently preparing the implementation of a new group-wide environmental management system ready for 2020 including a telematic system to optimize equipment utilization and to lower fuel burn. Next to the obvious environmental benefits, this will support Swissport in creating value. The continuous improvement of a sustainable service delivery also benefits Swissport’s corporate airline clients and their sustainability profile.
“As a signatory to the UN Global Compact, Swissport is committed to responsible business principles. We integrate sustainability into our decision-making,” said Eric Born, President & CEO of Swissport International AG, as the company published its 2019 Sustainability Report last week.
In its Sustainability Report 2019, Swissport highlights the achievements with which the company contributes to safeguarding the environment, its commitment to adopting and fostering industry innovations and its ambition to be a socially responsible employer.
In parallel, Swissport has been awarded a 5-year contract to perform load control services for all continental flights of carrier Swiss. Swissport’s “Centralized Load Control” unit (CLC) will provide the carrier with some 21,000 load-sheets yearly across 47 airports.
Skyline Air Services wins SF Airlines as customer
The GSA has been nominated to represent SF Airlines in Europe with immediate effect. The Chinese carrier currently operates a mixed freighter fleet of B747s, B767s, B757s and B737s. With its main operational base in Shenzhen Bao'an International Airport, it has built a transportation network leading to all part of the country. On Sunday (15 Sep), SF Airlines has started their first operation to/from Europe using Frankfurt-Hahn Airport (HHN) as their gateway to connect Wuxi (WUX) three times per week with B747-400ERF. Wuxi is located 100 km off Shanghai.
Daily RFS from WUX to Shanghai (PVG), Beijing (BJS), Tianjin (TSN), Guangzhou (CAN), Nanjing (NKG), Hangzhou (HGH), Qingdao (TAO) compliment the wide range of possible connections.
The 2011 established Skyline Air Services represents Egyptair Cargo, MNG Airlines and Cargojet in Europe, among other freight carriers. The GSA has offices in Germany, The Netherlands, Belgium and France.
Saudia Cargo ups frequencies
Jeddah-based Saudia Airlines Cargo announced last week that they will be increasing their cargo capacity from the Kingdom of Saudia Arabia on various routes as of September.
A second weekly B747-400 freighter service on Tuesdays and Thursdays will be introduced on the Jeddah - New York (JFK) route with an intermediate stop in Liege. They will also add a further four weekly freighters between Nairobi and European destinations, totaling eleven flights per week. A further weekly B777F service to Khartoum will also be added.
In other news Worldwide Flight Services (WFS) announced that Saudia Cargo has awarded them a multi-station contract in Europe and the USA for the handling of around 160,000 tons of cargo each year. The contract also includes ramp handling for air cargo shipments onboard over 5,000 passenger and freighter flights per year. The three-year contract covers the present WFS - Saudia Cargo agreements in France, Frankfurt, New York (JFK) and Washington Dulles airports. New contracts were signed also for London Heathrow, Manchester, Brussels and Amsterdam airports.
EC okays flight moves from Amsterdam to Lelystad
The European Commission has approved the designation of Lelystad Airport as a coordinated airport allowing it to accommodate some operations moving from Amsterdam Schiphol. This will create more space for air cargo at AMS, the industry stakeholders claim.
The EC ruling states that there will be no more restrictions on destinations served from Lelystad. Airlines who voluntarily move point-to-point operations from Amsterdam will have priority in obtaining slots at Lelystad. Slots relinquished at Schiphol as a result of such a move, have to be used at Schiphol as a transfer service. According to Air Cargo Netherlands, evofenedex (shippers) and Transport & Logistiek Nederland (TLN) the latter fact will enlarge the cargo capacity at Schiphol. “These transfer flights carry a lot of belly cargo,” they claim.
The three organisations conclude that the EC decision also offers some perspectives for cargo flights at Schiphol. “In its decision the EC suggests that it is possible to make a distinction between different types of flights, such as transfer and holiday flights. Apparently, it would also be allowed to create a distinctive status for cargo flights at AMS, securing their important position. Until now there had been a lot of uncertainty in this respect,” their joint communication points out.
The EC’s green light for the opening of Lelystad Airport is not the last hurdle for Transport Minister Cora van Nieuwenhuizen to overcome. Her coalition partners advocate the exclusive access for Schiphol-based airlines at Lelystad. However, barring new entrants would violate the EU’s competition legislation. Apart from this, residents in the provinces of Overijssel and Gelderland oppose the nitrogen emissions the Lelystad traffic would bring over their heads.
CEVA expands in Vietnam
Swiss-based CEVA Logistics has opened a brand-new facility in Vietnam’s Ho Chi Minh thereby doubling the size of their operation in the southern Vietnam city.
The new warehouse is located near the cargo terminals of Ho Chi Minh’s Tan Son Airport which is located near the Cat Lai container port.
CEVA Logistics have been active in Vietnam for many years with terminals in both the capital Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City. During the past two years the company’s business in Vietnam has grown considerably in both the contract logistics and freight management sectors. This success prompted the decision to add a further terminal in Ho Chi Minh.
Astral Aerial promotes Kenyan drone deliveries
Nairobi, Kenya-based Astral Aerial Solutions which is an affiliate company of Kenya’s Astral Aviation, has signed a contract with the Japanese drone manufacturer Yamaha Motor Company to provide last mile air cargo delivery and crop spraying solutions in Kenya.
Astral Aerial Solutions aims to start drone services in Africa for the transport of medical items, humanitarian services and agricultural and oil & gas spare parts into outlying regions of the continent which are not reachable by normal air or road services. Astral Aviation’s founder and CEO, Sanjeev Gadhia has been keen to initiate drone delivery services for some years already. His plan is to start services within Kenya by supporting agricultural production services as well as remote deliveries into outlying areas where civil engineering projects are under way.
Kerry Logistics has bumper first half-year
Hong Kong-based Kerry Logistics Group recently published their first half-year 2019 results. These show that the logistics giant had a bumper first six months.
Total Group turnover reached HK$19,810 million - an increase of 13% over the same period last year. Kerry’s core operating profit went up by 9% to HK$1,330 million but the core net profit fell by 4% to reach HK$669 million.
The first half year report shows that the profit attributable to the Shareholders, including the gain from disposing of two warehouses in Hong Kong for HK$1,958 million, increased in total by 194% to HK$2,790 million. Most of Kerry Logistics operations areas performed well despite a noticeable softening of growth within Asia this year.
The company has also appointed John Parkes to the position of Managing Director for their successful Integrated Logistics sector. Mr Parkes will be based in Hong Kong and will oversee all of Kerry’s IL business interests. Before joining Kerry, he was Executive Director - Head of Hong Kong/Taiwan and Global Business Development for LF Logistics.
Bombardier CRJ as a short-haul freighter?
Canadian aircraft manufacturer Bombardier is well known for its series of CRJ single aisle short haul passenger aircraft which are in use with many of the world’s regional operators. However, orders for this type of passenger aircraft have been dwindling over the past few years. This has resulted in Bombardier’s CRJ programme being taken over by Japan’s Mitsubishi Company which intends to integrate production of the remaining CRJ orders into their own system.
There seem to be plans on the table to convert more used CRJ aircraft into small regional freighters. Aeronautical Engineers Inc (AEI), the U.S.-based aircraft conversion specialists have been cooperating with Bombardier since 2013, to set up a P2F conversion line for CRJs. Despite the events of the past weeks, AEI still intends to continue with their conversion programme which is presently based on the CRJ-100 and CRJ-200 models. AEI has since 2016 converted eleven CRJ-200s into freighters and claim that they have an order backlog for 45 aircraft and see potential for a further 100 of the type. The CRJ has a relatively small cabin which is not ideal for some types of cargo. The CRJ-900 aircraft which is Bombardier’s latest version of the type offers much more space and non-stop distance and AEI is looking at getting a license to convert these as well.
Canadian North wins large contract
Canadian North Airlines which is based in the northern city of Yellowknife offers passenger and cargo services into the outlying Nunavik settlements in the remote northern Canada region. They operate with a fleet of fifteen aging B737-Combi aircraft as well as some so called “Quick-Change” 737s. The carrier is presently also in the process of merging with First Air, an airline also based in Yellowknife and which operates with B737-400 freighters.
Both carriers are owned by the Inuit population of the Nunavik region which has a total population of only around 40,000. Canadian North along with Calm Air, another Canadian regional carrier, has won a lucrative contract worth C$100 million to supply the region with air cargo services as well as passenger and duty travel for residents. The three-year contract will start in 2020 and includes a further two-year option. Canadian North will be the name of the new carrier once the Calm Air and Canadian North merger is completed.
Taiwan’s China Airlines has finalized their order for six Boeing 777 freighters. The initial order was made public at this year’s Paris Air Show. China Airlines has eighteen B747-400Fs in their fleet and the B777Fs will replace some of the older jumbos on a one-to-one basis.
The Philippine carrier PSI Air 2007 which is based at Clark Airport has now taken delivery of their first B737-300QC (Quick Change) aircraft. This is more than thirty years old and previously flew for Thai Express Air. PSI Air also operates one very old B727-200F.
Air France-KLM-Martinair Cargo will reintroduce a B747-400 freighter on the Amsterdam to Lusaka, Zambia route. The carrier ceased cargo flights to Lusaka three years ago.
John Mc Donagh / Marcel Schoeters