Cargo carriers in the Gulf region suffer under the U.S.-Iran conflict
Ongoing or even escalating tensions in the Gulf region will threaten the performance of Middle East-based airlines, leading to uncertainty among passengers and shrinking cargo volumes, the International Air Transport Association (IATA) has warned.
This risk scenario would reinforce an effect that has been apparent since last fall, with freight volumes to/from the Middle East decreasing 5.7 percent in October and 3 percent in November compared to the previous year.
If the geopolitical tensions do not decrease or even worsen, freight carriers based in the Gulf region will face very challenging months, IATA estimates.
Airbus welcomes first BelugaXL
Airbus’ latest variant, the BelugaXL, has entered into service, providing the European aircraft manufacturer with 30% extra transport capacity in order to support the on-going production ramp-up of the company’s commercial aircraft programs. The 63-meter-long and 8-meter-wide new transporter, which made its maiden flight on 9 January, will replace its slightly smaller predecessor, the BelugaST, by 2023.
In total, six BelugaXL will be built to ensure the transport of aircraft components and fuselage segments between Airbus' European production facilities. It has the largest cargo hold cross-section of all existing cargo aircraft worldwide.
According to the manufacturer, the BelugaXL can carry two A350 XWB wings, compared to the BelugaST, which can only carry one per flight. With a maximum payload of 51 tons, the BelugaXL has a non-stop range of 4,000 km (2,200 nm).
ESR and GIC edge closer together
ESR, one of the leading Asia-Pacific focused logistics real estate platforms, has inked a strategic partnership with Singapore’s wealth fund GIC Pte. Ltd., to set up a joint venture encompassing a total equity of US$500 million. The JV will focus on the development of institutional grade, state-of-the-art logistics facilities in key cities across China. It complements former investments in modern logistics facilities that have led to a strong portfolio of logistics properties in the APAC region. This applies particularly to Japan, where the two players have jointly invested in logistics facilities across the country.
The duo has targeted China because it is home to the world’s largest e-commerce market. Therefore, “demand for logistics properties will continue to thrive in China as infrastructure such as modern warehousing will be a backbone of the new economy, serving the online and offline needs of retail businesses,” Jeffrey Shen, Co-founder and Co-CEO of ESR, explained.
The announced transaction is subject to regulatory approval.
QR Cargo targets Osaka
Qatar Cargo is launching twice weekly freighter flights to Osaka, Japan, starting tomorrow (14 January), complementing the belly-hold capacity of the Arabian carrier’s passenger services. The flights, operated with Boeing 777 freighter aircraft, will depart Doha on Tuesdays and Fridays, arriving in Osaka the next day. The return flights go via Hong Kong, offering the market 200 tons each way per week. Qatar Airways Chief Officer Cargo, Mr. Guillaume Halleux said: “We are glad to start 2020 with the announcement of freighters to Osaka, a major financial center in Japan. Japan is an important part of our network where we already operate daily passenger flights to both Haneda and Narita airports in the capital city, Tokyo. With direct flights to Osaka, our customers are offered dedicated freighter capacity for their cargo to and from Japan.”
The new freighter services to Osaka will boost cargo capacity to over 450 tons weekly in and out of Japan. General cargo, hi-tech goods, electronics, pharmaceuticals, and perishables will form the majority of exports and imports on the route.
Further to this, Qatar Airways has announced a codeshare partnership with Deutsche Bahn, one of Europe’s largest railway operators. DB will provide Qatar Airways passengers with connections to eight key cities within the DB network such as Stuttgart, Nuremberg, Hannover, Leipzig, Cologne, Dusseldorf, Munich, and Hamburg from the Qatar Airways’ German gateway in Frankfurt.
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