First European Airport to close temporarily
As more European countries are closing their borders, and airlines are reducing or even stopping operations, airports are struggling.
Earlier this week, Kuwait International Airport became the first airport worldwide to announce that it would be closing for passenger services indefinitely, in an effort to curb the corona pandemic. The closure came into effect on 13MAR20, with Kuwait Airways shutting down completely.
The 13MAR20 saw rumors starting that Vienna International Airport would become the first European airport to shut down, but airline press staff were unable to confirm these rumors. Instead, Austria’s largest airport is preparing to send its staff into short-time work, as is the national carrier, Austrian Airlines.
Instead, Austria’s neighbor, Slovakia, announced that its Letisko Bratislava Airport was closing 13MAR20 for all passenger flights. Only cargo flights, emergency landings and medical emergencies would be permitted for an undisclosed period of time.
China’s first chartered flight for aid missions landed in Italy 13MAR20
While sarcastic jokes have been going around in social media along the lines of Corona being the first time where China produced the original and Italy the copy version, the Italian Foreign Minister, Luigi Di Maio, yesterday expressed his sincere gratitude to China for helping where he and many Italians feel the EU has failed so far. “Many foreign ministers offered their solidarity and want to give us a hand ... and this evening I wanted to show you the first aid arrived from China,” he said, showing live pictures of the China Eastern A350-941, registration B-306Y, which landed in Rome Fiumicino at 22:24 on 12MAR20. On board, were 9 medical experts and 31 tons of aid sent by the Chinese Red Cross to the Italian Red Cross. The 9 aid pallets included 40 pulmonary ventilators, respiratory equipment, electrocardiographs, tens of thousands of masks and other medical devices.
The experts, six men and three women, led by the Vice President of the Chinese Red Cross, Yang Huichuan, and a distinguished professor of cardiopulmonary resuscitation, Liang Zongan, are resuscitators, pediatricians, nurses, and people who were instrumental in managing the Coronavirus emergency in China. Speaking on behalf of the Italian Red Cross, which will be in charge of distributing the items and hosting the team, its president, Francesco Rocca, said. “The International Red Cross Movement has once again demonstrated the importance of networking. Thanks to the generous donation of the Chinese Sister, we can give a first concrete response to the needs of our hospitals and health workers in great suffering. The ventilators and thousands of masks are available to allow our volunteers to work safely. We are not solving everything, of course, but it is a concrete and rapid response, activated within 48 hours.”
Outside China, Italy is the second largest affected country, counting over 15,000 infected people and an unusually high mortality rate at over 1,500 deaths thus far. It has been on complete lockdown since 10MAR20. Italy's EU ambassador Maurizio Massari wrote in POLITICO at the start of last week: "Italy has already asked to activate the European Union Mechanism of Civil Protection for the supply of medical equipment for individual protection. But, unfortunately, not a single EU country responded to the Commission’s call. Only China responded bilaterally.”
“Logistics that speaks eCommerce” Tigers claim – and go Europe
Hong Kong-based Tigers, which calls itself “a 50 year old start up that specializes in technology enabled supply chain solutions,” provides bespoke supply chain solutions, e-fulfilment and transportation by air, sea, rail and road, and has branches across the world. This week, it announced that its Tigers Netherlands branch was deepening its collaboration with Swiss-based eCommerce and postal solutions company, Asendia, in order to establish a postal service for the European B2C market. The core focus: customers with small sized, low value orders. The two companies already work together in Australia, where Tigers' extensive warehousing network is used as the local logistics partner for Asendia's new Oceania e-commerce and mail solutions subsidiary.
In Europe, the partnership is based on Tigers using Asendia's Standard Goods and Fully Tracked Goods services (track and trace solutions) to enhance customer requirements across Europe with the new postal solutions for low value products. “Through our co-operation with Asendia we are now able to provide an additional layer of service to our customers' ever-evolving e-commerce requirements,” said Shahar Ayash, Regional Managing Director Tigers, Europe. Lennart Otte, Sales Manager Tigers Netherlands, added: “We have seen a growing number of new customers moving towards this Postal Solution and I believe that it will continue to create interest in the market.” Tigers aims to expand its postal solution to other hubs, soon. A solution that could see a move away from traditional courier companies.
New Cargo Airline to take off in Kyrgyzstan
At a time when many airlines face unsure futures given the current corona crisis, a new carrier is preparing to take to the skies come spring. Now that the Kyrgyz government has lifted its ban on aircraft older than 25 years for cargo planes (the ruling remains in effect for passenger aircraft), the new carrier going by the name of KAP.kg (standing for Kyrgyz Airlines Plus), is ready to commence operations with an Airbus A300F dating back to 1982, and is hoping to start flying in April. The plane, still bearing its previous owner’s registration 4L-BAK (Global Charter Air Services, Georgia), has yet to obtain its airworthiness certificate, is heading into a difficult future. Its base hub, Bishek airport, has seen a decrease in cargo volumes over the year, whilst its competitor hub, Almaty, Kazakhstan, 210 km away, reported an 18% improvement on 2018, handling around 70,000 tons of freight in 2019. In comparison, Kyrgyz Airlines flew just 300 tons of cargo in 2019, whilst 2018 figures still stood at 1,000 tons. Nevertheless, KAP.kg’s Commercial Director, Arsen Tabyldiev, looks forward to the April launch: “We’ll be using Bishkek airport as hub. But we’re ready to just carry freight into and out of Kyrgyzstan. It will depend on the customers.” The cargo airline founders are Almaz Matmusayev and Aijan Kerimkulova, while Dzhamil Abdubekov will head the management. Commercial director, Arsen Tabyldiev, previously held the post of Executive Director at state-owned Air Kyrgyzstan.
Kerry Logistics UK moves to Skyport Heathrow Site
Asia-based, global 3PL, Kerry Logistics Network Limited, moved its UK branch into the new London Heathrow facility last week, in line with its current expansion in air freight volumes. Its new office and warehouse in Feltham are located at the Skyport Heathrow site, where it operates a fully temperature-controlled bonded warehouse on 24/7 basis. The facilities include deep frozen storage, pick and pack machinery, vacuum cooling and other operations assisting in meeting tight delivery schedules and product shelf life requirements, and has achieved a rating of AA+ under the new BRC Global Standard for Food Safety Issue 8. Kerry Logistics now occupies 40,000 ft² of warehouse space in the facility, as it gears up to manage the continued growth of its air freight division. Kerry Logistics has recorded strong growth in air freight export volume from the UK in 2019 and aims to continue this growth with pharmaceuticals and perishables, including shellfish and seafood.
David Mallinson, General Manager - Air Division, Kerry Logistics (UK), said, "Located at the heart of London Heathrow Airport, the new facility will allow us to accommodate the growth in our air freight volumes and help us grow our presence in different verticals. At the new site, we have access to 24/7 operations offering full Customs clearance, real-time tracking, perishable handling and cold chain facilities, where we are serving customers including a UK retailer, for whom we ship perishables to China.”
Jettainer awarded “Best Service” by Oman Air Cargo
Oman Air outsourced its ULD management to Jettainer back in OCT17. Jettainer’s dedicated team in Abu Dhabi and Muscat, manages almost 20,000 standard and special ULDs for international airlines in the Middle East, among them, the ULDs required for the over 100 belly-hold daily flights operated by Oman Air Cargo. This, it does with success, as, in line with Oman Air Cargo’s growth strategy as one of the Middle East’s leading air cargo carriers, Jettainer increased Oman Air’s ULD fleet by around 20% in 2019. Its regional office also manages the complex coordination of temperature-controlled containers for Oman Air, and is the only company offering this kind of service, managed globally from Abu Dhabi. In addition, Jettainer works together with two local, certified, repair shops when it comes to ULD damages and operates a JettLease station at Abu Dhabi Airport to complete the service portfolio in the Middle East.
The “Best Service” award to Jettainer, was handed over by Oman Air Cargo on 04MAR20 at a gala event in Muscat, Oman, and was the second year in a row that Jettainer was accorded the honor. Oman Air Cargo holds an annual event to honor partners with a Certificate of Appreciation, whose support and cooperation were of particular note the previous year.
"We are very pleased that we were able to convince with our work again. Receiving the award the second time in a row underlines our excellent relationship with Oman Air Cargo," Thomas Sonntag, CEO of Jettainer GmbH, said upon receiving the award. Mr. Mohammed Al Musafir, SVP - Oman Air Cargo, stated: “We thank our cooperators for the outstanding work in 2019. With Jettainer, we can count on a reliable partner for over two years already and we are looking forward to a fruitful long-term cooperation.”
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