IN BRIEF - THE LATEST AIR CARGO INDUSTRY NEWS
Royal Air Maroc to add more B767Fs
Casablanca-based Moroccan national carrier Royal Air Maroc (RAM) which operates a fleet of almost sixty aircraft covering over 100 destinations, is said to be looking at expanding their B767-300BCF freighter fleet.
The carrier introduced its maiden B767 freighter in mid-2018 and since then has been deploying it on cargo routes out of Casablanca to African destinations as well as to Brussels and Milan-Malpensa airports. The present cargo aircraft was once in a passenger version with Royal Air Maroc before being converted to a freighter by Boeing in 2017. They still have two aging B767 passenger aircraft in the fleet, one of which is said to be no more in active passenger service. Both these aircraft would basically give Royal Air Maroc the necessary feedstock for expanding their freighter fleet further. A conversion, whether by Boeing or other specialists, should not pose a problem at all.
RAM also operates seven B787 long-haul passenger variants which offer ample belly space for cargo. The European routes are mainly covered with their fleet of thirty-one B737-800s. They also have two B737MAX aircraft which are presently grounded because of the ongoing ban on their operation.
EgyptAir Cargo cancels USA cargo route
The Egyptian national carrier’s cargo arm, EgyptAir Cargo had earlier announced that they wanted to start a non-stop Cairo to Chicago freighter service. These plans have now been put on ice as the airline stated that their present EgyptAir B787-9 passenger aircraft which also operate on this route have ample belly space available for the carriage of cargo.
EgyptAir Cargo now has three converted A330s in their fleet, one of which was slotted to operate the new CAI-ORD service. The plans of the cargo management have in the meantime been put in the drawer after EgyptAir’s CEO decided that the B787s would suffice for the carriage of cargo on the route. EgyptAir still operates a further four A330 passenger aircraft which were originally planned to also be converted into freighters for the cargo division. It seems that these plans have also been put on hold due to the present decrease in cargo demand.
Jettainer to distribute squAIR-timber
Frankfurt-based Jettainer, a 100 percent owned subsidiary of Lufthansa Cargo and who specialize in supplying and managing Unit Load Devices (ULDs) for over 100 clients worldwide, has entered into an exclusive distribution agreement with trilatec technical solutions who produce the now well-known squAIR-timber.
squAIR-timber was developed by trilatec during the last couple of years (CargoForwarder Global reported) as a cost and weight saving replacement for wooden planks used as load distribution means for cargo loaded onto aircraft pallets. The squAIR-timber system seems to have caught on in the industry and is in the meantime being used by various carriers. These are innovative ultra-lightweight elements made up from special cardboard fiber and which weigh far less than wooden spreaders that have been the traditional means of distributing heavy loads. squAIR-timber managers are hopeful that the tie up with Jettainer will allow them better access to airlines around the world. Jettainer will, along with squAIR-timber, staff promote the product among Jettainer’s customers.
Hactl handles record number of freighters
Hong Kong Air Cargo Terminals Limited (Hactl) which is Hong Kong’s largest independent cargo handler recently announced that they have broken their own record for the number of freighter aircraft handled in a 24-hour period at Chep Lap Kok Airport.
On November 3rd, Hactl handled a total of 104 freighters, beating their previous record of 102 freighter aircraft which was set on November 5th, 2017. Between 0200 and 0300 hours alone they simultaneously handled 13 freighters. Of the total 104 aircraft handled, 88 of them were also fully handled by Hactl, both on the ramp and in their SuperTerminal 1 facility. Hactl’s CEO, Wilson Kwong is rightly proud of the team effort which enabled them to break the previous record. He stated: “to have successfully processes 104 wide body freighters in just 24 hours is a clear illustration of the immense scale of our operations and resources.”
Vietnam issues lithium battery ban
The Vietnamese port authorities which control goods entering and leaving Vietnam by air or sea, have been instructed by the country’s Civil Aviation Authority to crack down on the transport of suspect or damaged goods which contain lithium batteries.
An official ban has been placed on damaged and so called ‘recalled’ lithium batteries. This also applies to any such damaged devices which use lithium cells for power. The ban applies for transport out of Vietnam on the national carrier Vietnam Airlines as well as on other foreign carriers flying into or out of the country. Stricter controls are said to have been put into place in order to monitor air freight shipments as well as devices carried in passenger hand luggage.
Fraport’s cargo tonnages drop again in October
Germany’s Fraport Group traffic figures for October show a steady passenger volume but again a decline in cargo tonnages through Frankfurt Airport. Passenger figures at FRA rose by 1% during the month to reach a total of 6.4 million passengers. The cumulative passenger figures for January to October increased by 2.2% compared to 2018.
Cargo throughput at FRA in October dropped sharply by -7.3% to reach only 179,273 tons and year-to-date figures show a -3.4% drop to just about 1.7 million tons. Cargo tonnages at Lima Airport which is part of the Fraport Group portfolio also dropped by -10.5% to reach only 24,532 tons in October. In comparison, China’s Xi’an Airport recorded a cargo tonnage increase of 21.9% in October to almost 36,000 tons. Their year-to-date tonnage has reached 305,000 tons - a 21.3% increase.
Cargolux adds another JKT flight
Luxembourg’s national all cargo carrier, Cargolux, has launched a second weekly B747 freighter service from Luxembourg to the Indonesian capital of Jakarta. The first additional flight operated on November 14th. The second weekly rotation departs Thursday midday from Luxembourg, arriving early Friday mornings in Jakarta.
Demand on the route seems to have increased since Cargolux started their weekly operation in June of this year, thereby prompting the introduction of their second flight. Domenico Ceci, Executive VP Sales & Marketing at CV commented that: “this additional connection between Luxembourg and Jakarta provides further opportunities for our customers at both ends.”
CLA said to be ready to halve fleet
There have been some conflicting reports over the past weeks as to the future of UK-based CargoLogicAir (CLA) which presently operates a fleet of four Boeing 747 freighters.
A few weeks back it was rumored that CLA was looking to obtain more ‘second-hand’ Boeing freighters, something which many saw as being strange due to the published route cut-back issued by partner AirBridgeCargo Airlines.
Latest reports indicate that CLA will now retire two of their B747Fs in 2020 due to the slow demand and the global air cargo market slowdown. This would then leave the carrier with only two B747Fs. CLA has in the meantime stopped their Frankfurt to Chicago and Atlanta service as well as flights from Moscow to Hong Kong.
21 Air surprises with puzzling fleet policy
USA-based (Greensboro, Carolina) 21 Air which operates cargo charter flights, has now added a further B767-300 freighter to their fleet. The aircraft, a B767-300ERF version, has been obtained on an exchange basis with Mexico City-based Mas Air. It seems to be a confusing sort of deal as information shows that the aircraft will for the time being continue to operate Mas Air’s Mexico City and Guadalajara operations into various U.S. and South American cities under the Mas Air (previously operating as LATAM Cargo Mexico) code, with the aircraft also being available for 21 Air operations as well. 21 Air has two B767Fs on their books. One is on a long-term lease to AeroMexico Cargo and the second aircraft is presently not active. A strange combination!
John Mc Donagh
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