IN BRIEF - THE LATEST AIR CARGO INDUSTRY NEWS
Alaska Airlines wants more freighters
Seattle-based Alaska Airlines which operates a fleet of almost 240 passenger aircraft on more than 300 routes is looking to add more B737 freighters to their fleet. In addition to the cargo capacity offered in the belly holds of their passenger fleet the carrier also operates three B737-700 freighters on inner-Alaskan routes. These are all P2F conversions taken from their own passenger fleet.
The Alaskan Airlines management sees the need to increase freighter capacity and would like to convert two of their -800 series 737s to freighters. This aircraft offered a better payload that the B737-700 freighter. This move could prove to be difficult as before Alaskan Airlines can free-up any of their B737-800s for conversion, they need them replaced by the B737-900 MAX of which the airline has thirty-two on order, but due to the grounding of the MAX, does not know when the first ones will be delivered.
After long battle EIAC gets first freighter
Emirates International Air Cargo (not to be confused with Emirates SkyCargo), has after a long legal battle finally taken delivery of their maiden B737-400 freighter. The carrier which has its base at Abu Dhabi’s Al Ain airport received the aircraft on October 19th. The 24-year-old B737F was once operating for Qantas in passenger configuration before being converted to a freighter and was acquired by Emirates International Air Cargo from Aero Acquisitions in 2013.
Since then the aircraft was stored at San Jose’s Juan Santamaria airport because of a legal battle between EIAC and Aero Acquisitions. The latter failed to deliver the aircraft to EIAC although they had been paid almost 7.5 million dollars for it. Eventually a U.S. court of law dictated that the aircraft must be delivered to EIAC and that Aero Acquisitions should also refund the 7.5 million dollars to the carrier as well.
It will get the UAE registration number A6-EAC and plans are to start operations within the Arabian Peninsula in the coming weeks.
Emirates experience cargo decrease last six months
The Emirates Group recently published their results for the six-month period from April to September which show a drop in revenues but a rise in net profits across the Group.
On the cargo side Emirates Airlines recorded an 8 percent decrease in cargo volumes. These dropped to a total of 1.2 million tons. This decrease is all the more noticeable due to the fact that the carrier reduced their overall capacity for the six-month period by 7 percent. Emirates, as have other carriers, put the majority of the blame for the cargo downturn to the continued trade recession which is continually being fired by increased tensions between the USA and China. Cargo flights were also somewhat affected by the closure of one runway at Dubai Airport during this period which restricted traffic movements at the airport. Net profits for the first half of the fiscal year went up however by an enormous 282 percent over the same period in 2018. They amounted to US$235 million resulting from a revenue of US$12.9 billion which in turn was itself 3 percent less revenue than the previous year. A major contributing factor to the good net results was that operating costs went down by 8 percent, due also to the decrease in the aforementioned capacity in the first six months. dnata, Emirates in-house ground handler increased their revenues by 5 percent to US$ 2.0 billion but net profit for the period went down by 64 percent to US$85 million based on a 6 percent less tonnage (1.5 million tons for Emirates and other carriers) handled.
Virgin Australia adds Tokyo as cargo destination
Virgin Australia plans to add Japan to their network as of 29. March next year. The carrier will launch a daily Brisbane to Tokyo-Haneda Airport using an Airbus A330-200 aircraft which can carry between 15-20 tons of cargo on each flight.
Virgin Atlantic Cargo will be responsible for the sales and marketing of the new service. This will be Virgin Australia’s first ever service to Tokyo. The carrier will also suspend their present Melbourne to Hong Kong flights as or early February due to the softening passenger demand on the route. Virgin Atlantic Cargo also markets all cargo capacity on Virgin Australia’s direct service connecting Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane with Los Angeles.
Fraport Group confirms 2019 targets
Frankfurt-based Fraport Group last week issued a release whereby they confirm their previous outlook for 2019 despite a noticeable slowdown in passenger movements.
The positive performance for the first nine months were to large part driven by the solid traffic growth at Frankfurt Airport as well as at most of the Fraport Group’s airports in other countries. For the period January to September the Fraport Group revenues went up by 12 percent to €2,852.2 million. This was due to higher revenues attained from handling services as well as airport and infrastructure and security services offered by Fraport. The Group net profit for the first six months rose by 9.4 percent to €413.5 million. There is regretfully no mention in their release as how the cargo results have contributed financially (up or down) to the first nine-month results. However as previous monthly figures have shown, cargo throughput at Frankfurt has continued to decline this year - negatively affecting overall results at the airport.
Fraport sees the first nine-month development as proof that their overall full year target prognosis will be achieved.
Antonov Airlines gets the AN-22 back in the air
‘An oldie - but goody!’ That’s how many would describe the venerable Antonov AN-22 freighter. Originally developed and built as a military transporter for the Russian army, this aircraft which was dubbed by some as the world’s first wide body freighter dropped out of sight for some time.
Antonov Airlines which also operates a mixed fleet of AN-124, 225 and 226 variants, has a single AN-22 on their register. The aircraft has been out of service for some time undergoing heavy maintenance.
The world’s largest propeller driven freighter is now back in the air and operated its first two flights between Madrid and Bagdad on the 27th and 31st of October. The ugly, but somehow beautiful aircraft is ideal for the carriage of heavy and outsized cargo into remote areas as it is able to operate from short and unprepared airstrips. It can carry a 60-ton load in its large 550cbm main deck and also has an own on-board loading crane. The two first flights which were operated on behalf of Spain’s Ministry of Defense carried helicopters and spare parts. These were loaded easily due to the aircraft having a cargo compartment which is 4.4 metres in height. Vitaly Shost, First Deputy Director of Antonov Airlines is happy to see their single AN-22 back in service and commented: “we are pleased to announce that the AN-22 is back in the commercial market of outsized air transportations after scheduled maintenance.”
AirBridgeCargo carries record number of Envirotainers
Moscow based AirBridgeCargo Airlines (ABC) which has also made a name for itself as a widely chosen pharmaceutical carrier, has announced that they have successfully completed the record transportation of 27 RKN Envirotainer containers full of pharmaceuticals onboard a single flight. The flight from Milan, Italy to Beijing, China carried much needed vaccine products as part of ABC’s “abc pharma” service. The flight from Milan operated via Moscow where all 27 Envirotainers were transferred to another ABC B747-8F for the onward trip to Beijing. This is the first time that the Russian carrier has carried that number of RKN containers on a single flight.
Cargonaut launches customs Compliance Checker
Amsterdam Airport’s community system Cargonaut has introduced a first live version of its Compliance Checker. It will enable the air cargo stakeholders to check their consignments against customs regulations. The Compliance Checker can be used in two ways. The user can either log into an interface or check the results in his own application through an electronic interface (API). The system verifies if the Master Airways Bills and House Airways Bills are compliant with customs regulations, such as the US Customs and Border Protection regulations. It depends on the route whether the rule apply or not.
The user is given an insight into both the source and the reason of a mistake. On top of this, the system also assesses consistency checks, e.g. does the total weight on the HAWB add up to the weight noted on the MAWB? Based on these checks, errors are generated, stating precisely what needs to be corrected. The Compliance Checker has been set up as a ‚living' system, built in different stages. In the near future other export controls such as ‘dual use’ and sanction lists will be added. The Compliance Checker was developed in close collaboration with Air Cargo Netherlands (ACN), Schiphol’s Airport Smart Cargo Mainport programme and other stakeholders in the air cargo industry.
John Mc Donagh / Marcel Schoeters
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