South African Airlines gets further cash injection
As CFG reported on 26JAN20, SAA’s future is precarious and dependent on funding to remain operational. The SAA press department confirmed this week, that on 28JAN20, the government-owned Development Bank of Southern Africa will release a further 3.5 billion rand (USD 240 million) in post commencement funding.
This comes with the requirement to structure a Business Rescue Plan to be presented to the creditors towards the end of February/early March, and will include a number of cost reduction measures as well as restructuring plans, in order to ensure a solid foundation for future business.
To this end, the Business Rescue Practitioners are examining all existing third-party contracts with a view to renegotiating or cancelling them as necessary, and flight demand is also being monitored. Flights with insufficient bookings in February, will be cancelled and consolidated. In addition, Routes published today, that, for example, on the daily Frankfurt-Johannesburg route, SAA will now be operating the more fuel-efficient A350-900XWB aircraft on this route, instead of the A340-600.
InstoneAir’s Collapsible Airstable receives EASA approval
With more than 35 years of experience in animal transportation, InstoneAir has developed a range of collapsible stables, all designed and built in the UK, and fitting all wide-bodied freighters, including B747, B777, MD11, A310 and B767 aircraft. This Airstable has now been approved by the European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) and awarded the European Technical Standard Order (ETSO) authorization, enabling empty units to be transported in the lower decks of freighter and passenger aircraft.
Just two people can assemble or collapse the airstable within 15 minutes. It is durably constructed and fits on a standard 125/96 pallet (PMC/P6P). “In terms of positioning or repositioning units before or after each horse transportation, our new unit gives customers far greater flexibility and cost efficiency by enabling three or four collapsed Airstables to be stacked on a lower deck pallet, depending on the model”, says company Managing Director, Jeremy Instone, stating that InstoneAir will be annually producing 50-100 fully-collapsible airstables at its UK manufacturing plant, and either selling or renting these out to airlines and bloodstock shipping agents.
Testing is ongoing, as 777X takes to the skies again on 29JAN20.
Just days after the successful first flight reported in CFG on 26JAN20, FlightRadar24 registered the second successful test flight on 29JAN20 (with initial plans for 28 and 30JAN20, too). This time, the plane remained mostly at an altitude of a little above 19,000ft, and stayed airborne for 4 hours and 43 minutes.
If testing continues as planned, this August, a 777X will be headed to Dubai, where – according to Sir Tim Clark, Emirates president and design influencer of the 777X (with Emirates being one of Boeing’s largest customers), speaking at the Dubai Airshow back in NOV19 – the aircraft will “go through hell on Earth basically to make sure it all works.“ Emirates had originally placed an order for 150 777X back in 2013 but had reduced that to 126 in NOV19, following Boeing’s production delays, and instead announcing a $9 billion order for 30 Boeing 787 Dreamliners.
Avia Solutions Group buys Bluebird Nordic to offer narrow-body cargo operations
Bluebird Nordic, who celebrated their 20th Anniversary last year, will shortly become a 100% member of the Avia Solutions Group, alongside Chapman Freeborn (acquired in OCT19) and Magna Aviation, as per an agreement signed between Avia Solutions Group and the BB Holding ehf. On 24JAN20. This latest addition rounds off the Group’s cargo offer with the inclusion of Bluebird Nordic’s 6 narrow body freighters.
In the press statement, Gediminas Ziemelis, Founder and Chairman of the Board of Directors of Avia Solutions Group said: “I am utterly pleased to have had an opportunity to acquire such a competent and reputable company. With this new acquisition, Avia Solutions Group steps into the narrow-body ACMI cargo business. Being the biggest passenger ACMI group with one of the largest corporate airlines in Europe, we were actually missing cargo operations. Differently from long-haul wide-body cargo business, narrow-body demand is growing fast, driven by electronic trade and others. Today, we own 7 AOCs in various countries and our plan is to achieve synergy between pilots’ pool, maintenance and lease costs”.
Steinn Logi Björnsson, Managing Director of Bluebird Nordic, stated: “We are happy that Bluebird is now a member of Avia Solutions Group and look forward to working with the new owners to grow and strengthen the company. We are certain that the company, its employees and customers will feel the benefits of belonging to such a strong aviation industry player”. Bluebird Nordic currently serves over 100 global destinations in cargo export and import, using leading airline networks, and with its own fleet, also operates scheduled and charter flights under its own brand. The acquisition by Avia Solutions Group, will lead to Bluebird Nordic further developing, improving, and expand its current service portfolio.
Moldovian Cargo Operators are banned from the UAE
In effect since 01FEB20, cargo operators from Moldova such as Aerotrans Cargo, Air Stork and Global Air Transport, are no longer permitted entry to UAE airports. Reasons for this are safety concerns. Earlier this month, on 19JAN20, the UAE’s General Civil Aviation Authority informed the MCAA, Moldova Civil Aviation Authority, that “in the interests of aviation safety and in accordance with Article 4 of the Air Service Agreement […], the UAE GCAA has decided to ban all operations of cargo aircraft from the republic of Moldova to/from UAE airports, until further notice”. It is not the first time that safety issues have been taken up, since the UAE had sought improvements from the MCAA back in 2013 already. Since there had been “no significant improvement of safety standards of the cargo operators, or in adoption of long-term measures by MCAA, since the first safety consultation meeting in 2013”, and instead a number of new safety issues had been registered since July 2019, the UAE saw fit to impose stricter measures.
Air Stork was banned back in September due to non-reported safety violations by the operator, including deviation from ATC clearance, a taxiway incursion and three problems caused by the in pilot each case.
Aerotrans Cargo operates its four 747 freighters out of Sharjah, though it is headquartered in Moldavia, and flies for Global Air Transport and Bismillah Airlines. Since February 2018, at least 3 aircraft safety issues have incurred – all within Europe.
The UAE claims that some cargo operators are contravening aviation agreements by basing aircrafts in the UAE and exercising the seventh freedom with no continuation of service to or from Moldova.
Unilode partners Freshworks
Top ULD management and repair solutions company teams up with customer engagement software provider. Why? Because Unilode Aviation Solutions, which won the IATA Air Cargo Innovation Award last year for its digital transformation program, is always on the lookout for frontrunning digital tools to improve its business processes. As Unilode’s CEO, Mr. Benoît Dumont, confirmed: “We are excited to work with the Freshworks team. Similar to our award-winning digital program, this is another example of Unilode’s investment and never-ending commitment to continuously improve our ULD solutions and provide the highest level of service to all our customers.”
So what is it that Freshworks does? It provides scalable customer engagement software that facilitates effective customer communication for customer support, marketing, sales, and customer success professionals. Its full suite of SaaS (Software as a Service) products enable a 360-degree view of the customer to offer quicker and better service, and improves customer experiences.
Mr. Joseph P Jensen, Unilode Managing Director Customer Experience, said: “Our partnership to use Freshworks software is a great example of how artificial intelligence, intelligent automation and customized services can be combined into one platform to enhance the customer experience. The implementation of Freshworks’ software at Unilode’s Customer Control Centre will start in March this year.”
Freshworks’ automated and AI-driven software will be implemented at Unilode’s Global Customer Control Centre (GCCC) in Bangkok, Thailand, and used to streamline the handling of internal and external communications there. 80 agents in the GCCC will be able to coordinate logistics activities much more quickly with ground handlers, airlines and freight forwarders. Freshworks software will dramatically improve the quality and response times for all customer contact methods.
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