First ever Cargo Hangar opens at Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky International Airport (CVG)
Wednesday, 15JAN20, saw the grand opening ceremony of CVG’s first ever, 103,000m², cargo hangar for the repair, maintenance and overhaul of widebody 747 aircraft, run by the American aircraft maintenance and engineering company, FEAM. The USD 19 million project, developed for FEAM by the Lynxs Group, officially kicked off on 24 SEP 18 and was secretly nick-named “Grindstone” by CVG, (after a racehorse that unexpectedly won the Kentucky Derby in 1996) because of the unusual location choice for the hangar, though the decision soon became clear when Amazon Air also confirmed CVG as the site for their USD 1.5 billion Prime Air hub, due to open next year.
It was FEAM customer, Atlas Air, currently also flying on behalf of Amazon, who convinced CVG and FEAM to build the hanger. “Atlas Air manages a diverse, complex and time-definite global network for an elite customer base with extensive operations in CVG. Our team is committed to the highest levels of safety, reliability and customer service. The new FEAM maintenance facility in @CVGairport will greatly enhance our ability to support our fleet and deliver the highest levels of service for our customers,” John Dietrich, President and CEO, Atlas Air Worldwide, confirmed. Candace McGraw, CEO of CVG Airport, underlined the airport’s cargo-focused strategy: “Among CVG’s strategic goals are to grow air cargo operations, and develop available airport land, both of which are achieved with this project.” The project has already generated over 200 new jobs at FEAM in the region, and Atlas Air stated plans to employ a further 600 staff over the next year.
CSafe Global opening expanded service center in Incheon
The growing demand for CSafe’s specialized temperature-controlled ULDs in South Korea and APAC, led to the company’s decision to operate a large, new service center in INC, where it can carry out its strict and industry-unique Preventative Maintenance Rebuild (PMR) process, while setting INC up as an APAC region gateway hub.
Tom Weir, VP of Global Operations at CSafe Global, commented on the latest enhancement in the company’s global set-up: “We’re excited about our best-in-class service center in Incheon. This new facility will ensure that our active containers are operating at top system performance, keeping temperatures precisely where they need to be for transports of crucial medications. Our service team has been trained and is well prepared to address the significant volume demand for CSafe RKN and CSafe RAP containers from the Incheon station. With the expanded warehouse space and increased repair service throughput, not only can we easily accommodate the increasing product demand from South Korea, but we also strengthen our ability to flex as needed for repositioning large numbers of our temperature-controlled containers to other CSafe hubs within Asia Pacific to meet unexpected or immediate surge demand from our customers and partners across the region.”
A340s up for sale at SAA
Though the airline rejects claims that the sales are to compensate for the current lack of funds, the facts are that SAA has not flown a profit since 2011 and the company was placed on bankruptcy protection at the end of last year, following a spate of strikes.
It issued a tender document on 10JAN20, in which a total of 9 aircraft - Airbus A340-300s and A340-600s (over half of the airline’s A340 fleet) – as well as 15 spare engines and 4 auxiliary units are up for sale, and for which tenders will be accepted until 30JAN20.
SAA’s official explanation for the sale, is that to the arrival of their new Airbus A350-900s which will take up operations on SAA’s international route network next week, means that these older aircraft are no longer required. "It has become necessary for us to sell our older models to accommodate the new models with superior features," SAA acting CEO, Zuks Ramasia, stated. She added that SAA had already planned to phase out 5 A340s at the end of 2017/early 2018, at the time when the airline received five A330-300s, but that this had been postponed at the time since the operational fleet undergoing maintenance. “Now is the time to sell the aircraft,” she said.
Whether the sale will be successful, remains to be seen. There is not much demand for the A340s, since they are not very fuel-efficient and are between 14 and 22 years old.
AEI now authorized to carry out p2f conversions for B737-800
Earlier this week, Aeronautical Engineers, Inc. (AEI) announced that it had been issued a VSTC (VSTC0933) by the CAAC authorizing it to carry out passenger-to-freighter conversions on B737-800 aircraft. The AEI had already received a FAA Supplemental Type Certificate (ST02690LA) at the beginning of 2019 – this was now validated through the VSTC.
According to AEI, around 750 B737-800s are forecast to be converted over the next 40 plus years, of which AEI expects to secure 400 conversions. It has already received 111 firm orders and commitments for the B737-800SF.
Once converted, the B737-800SF freighter will offer a main deck payload of up to 52,700 lbs. (23,904 kg), will eleven full height 88” x 125” container positions along with an additional AEP/AEH position. It will additionally have a large 86” x 137” Main Cargo Door with a single vent door system, a flexible Ancra Cargo Loading System. rigid 9g barrier, up to five supernumerary seats, a galley and lavatory.
Swissport goes Down Under
Melbourne will be the first (air)port of call in the third quarter of this year, as Swissport kicks-off its Down Under operations with the signature of an initial seven-year lease on a new, state-of-the-art office and warehouse building capable of storing general cargo, pharm, perishables and live animals. More Australian locations are planned and will be communicated during the early part of this year.
“We are pleased to welcome Swissport to Melbourne Airport’s Business Park. The new facility joins other industrial leaders in benefiting from 24/7 air freight opportunities, round the clock security and unrivalled proximity to arterial road networks,” Melbourne Airport’s senior property development manager, Gavin Potts, stated.
Glenn Rutherford, Swissport executive vice president Asia-Pacific, announced: “With this launch, we bring a fresh approach and a more competitive offer to a market that has not seen a new entrant for more than 20 years. Swissport has industry-leading processes, training and systems built up across more than 300 sites worldwide over our 25-year history and we will provide a nimble service model designed to better meet customer requirements and deliver on both price and service. We are excited to serve new customers in Australia and look forward to adding Australia to our global cargo network for our existing global customers.”
China and Italy agree to boost air traffic
According to a Memorandum of Understanding signed by representatives of both nations last week in Beijing, freighter flights connecting China and Italy will be upped successively to 14 frequencies per week by 2022, tripling current numbers. The intended increase is in line with passenger traffic that will also be substantially expanded, both sides emphasize. The MoU provides for a considerable enlargement of a previous agreement from 2015.
Italy’s Minister of Infrastructure and Transport, Paola De Micheli, commented: "Italy becomes the European nation with the highest number of air connections with China, thanks to the agreement signed by Ente Nazionale Per L’Aviazione Civile - ENAC – (Italian Civil Aviation Authority) with their Chinese counterpart.”
ENAC President Nicola Zaccheo added to this: “The liberalization of passenger and cargo traffic between a number of Italian and Chinese cities will open up enormous opportunities for commercial, tourist and industrial developments for our country within the next three years."
$5 billion airport for Ethiopia
Ethiopian Airlines is growing and has big plans. Having improved its net profit from $207.2 million in 2017/18 to $260 million in the 2018/19 financial year, its CEO, Tewolde Gebremariam, recently announced plans to construct an airport larger than France’s Charles de Gaulle, and with more passengers than Dubai international airport. Talk is of an airport covering an area of 35 km² in Bishoftu, 39 km southeast of Addis Ababa, and capable of handling 100 million passengers a year. Construction is due to begin in the next six months.
Although Addis Ababa’s current airport, Bole International, inaugurated a Chinese-funded, $225 million terminal in January 2019, and a further $138 million project to expand and renovate Terminal 1 is underway, Tewolde Gebremariam feels that the airport is unable to keep up with Ethiopian Airlines’ forecasted growth: “Bole Airport is not going to accommodate us; we have a beautiful expansion project. The airport looks very beautiful and very large but with the way that we are growing, in about three or four years we are going to be full.”
Bole International Airport has a passenger capacity of about 19 million passengers annually. No cargo plans were disclosed as yet.
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