The come and go of cargo at American Airlines
Since American Airlines’ first cargo-only flight since 1984 left Dallas-Fort Worth International Airport (DFW), USA, on 20MAR20 on its way to Frankfurt Airport (FRA), Germany, the airline has resurrected its cargo history with a massive focus. On 12MAY20, it announced a cargo schedule expansion numbering some 140 weekly flights to 15 cities in Asia Pacific, Europe, and the Caribbean – and increase from 80 flights in the previous week.
Thirty-six years after its last freighter flight, the corona crisis has brought cargo-only flights back to AA, which looks back on a 75-year cargo history, starting with 6 tons of perishables on board a DC-3 from BUR to LGA back in 1944. American was also the first airline with dedicated cargo terminals, operating 747s from the mid-1970s onwards. Yet, as its passenger fleet increased in size, cargo moved to being transported in its passenger holds (AA annually carried roughly 1 million US tons in recent years), and from 1984, the freighters were sold off. One was even bought by NASA and converted to piggyback the space shuttle.
In the recent release, American Airlines’ President of Cargo and Vice President of International Operations, Rick Elieson, stated: “Why we fly hasn’t changed, but out of necessity how we care for people on life’s journey has had to change. Cargo-only fights have allowed us to transport medical equipment, communications and technology tools, pharmaceuticals, and food supplies. Air cargo is uniquely positioned to connect the world at a time when barriers and distance threaten to separate us. I’m immensely proud of our teams and business partners who have come together to make these flights possible.”
American Airlines is one of a number of airlines currently using their passenger aircraft as cargo-only. CargoFacts counted 1,300 of these aircraft in service on 14MAY20: the highest such number in the history of aviation.
ACB honours members and partners in remote ceremony
The first ever edition of the Air Cargo Belgium Awards had to be organized as a 30- minute remote event with 80 participants. The Awards were set up to honor those members and partners most committed to the community and who contribute most to the ACB projects. The criteria are threefold: attendance of meetings and events; commitment to the various ACB projects (digitalization, operational excellence, niche markets, etc.) and a voting by the 9 members of the ACB staff. All ACB members are automatically eligible for the awards. Neither the ACB members, nor the Board or the Executive Committee had been previously informed of the identity of winners.
Swissport came out best in 2 categories: Ground Handler of the Year, and Highflyer (overall engagement in ACB projects and activities). Aviapartner won the Ahead of Curve Award (Involvement in innovation regarding ACB projects), LCAG was elected Airline of the Year, and DHL Global Forwarding Forwarder of the Year. Gregory Moriau of Hazgo was awarded ACB Ambassador of the Year. Besides being an ACB Board Member, Mr Moriau also sits in the Operational Efficiency, Pharma, and the Forwarding cluster working groups. He also actively participates in digital and innovative projects and teaches at the Aviato Academy.
Dutch aviation policy recognises importance of air cargo, stakeholders claim
Air Cargo Netherlands, evofenedex (shippers) and TLN/Fenex (logistic companies), are satisfied that the updated Dutch aviation policy recognises the social and economic importance of air cargo. Even if the share of air cargo within the aviation industry is small, in the Netherlands, AMS Schiphol and Maastricht Airport together generate an added value of 2.7 million euros.
The three organizations appealed to the government to turn this recognition into action by planning the gradual development of Schiphol in such a way as to enable cargo flights to recover their position.
On 15MAY20, the framework of the Aviation Policy 2020-2050 was presented by the Dutch government. It will allow a maximum of 540,000 movements for Schiphol, compared to 500,000 today.
The government intends to finalize the policy by the end of this year.
Audiovisual Social Distancing in Warehouses – future norm?
How do you ensure social distancing in a warehouse environment? Why not work on a principle similar to a car’s audible parking assist system? Air Cargo Netherlands recently sought a solution to a safe working environment and approached local company Dutchband, known for producing identification wristbands and payment tokens for festivals, to help out. Maarten van As, Managing Director Air Cargo Netherlands, explains: "We approached Dutchband with a very specific question: Can you develop something that helps colleagues in the air cargo chain to keep 1.5 meters away? A simple, autonomous system without pitfalls in the area of data protection sensitive information. Dutchband developed a system very quickly and easily that warns employees in busy working environments when they get too close. It works surprisingly simply and effectively. Thanks to the WATpod, employees can fully concentrate on their important work."
The WATpod is now entering a pilot phase at two cargo handling locations in Schiphol at the end of this month, and is a device that can be worn on the shoulder, and programmed for the appropriate distance that colleagues need to remain apart (between 1.5 – 3 m). It beeps and lights up if employees get too close. “WATpod works straight from the box, is fully autonomous and does not store any personal information,” is stated on the wat-pod.com website. Remains to be seen how staff take to the idea in an already noisy warehouse environment.
Kuehne and Nagel keeping up the spirits in Italy
On 15MAY20, Kuehne + Nagel Sea Logistics announced the opening of a new 27,000 m² VinLog temperature-controlled warehouse in Oppeano, Verona, Italy. Nestled in the heart of northern Italian wine districts, the warehouse is dedicated to handling spirits and wines, and is within easy reach of the northern Italian ports of Trieste and Venice, whilst also able to offer an attractive rail connection to the European market. Horst Mueller, Global Head of VinLog, says: “Our newest facility supports the Italian wine industry with storage, co-packing, labelling and consolidation for road and sea freight export. The Verona warehouse acts as a direct link between producers and importers, significantly improving order and inventory management with expertise and innovative technology. We provide much needed storage capacity as the Italian wine industry recovers from the challenges of Covid-19.”
The VinLog fully customs-bonded, temperature-controlled facility boasts a customized, real-time order and inventory management system aimed at supporting all those in the supply chain in optimizing production and supply levels in line with wine and spirits demand. Horst Mueller’s sights are also set on improving transport times to the North American and Asian key markets: "VinLog’s commitment is to bring its expertise and infrastructure closer to the wine communities we serve. We currently explore further own sites in the global key countries of origin and import of wine and spirits."
eFreight pilot kicks off at central China’s busiest airport
Almost 10 years to the day that IATA declared eFreight’s go-live in China on 27MAY10, the Civil Aviation Administration of China announced China’s approval for a two-year eFreight pilot project at its busiest airport in central China: Zhengzhou Xinzheng International Airport – An airport which has grown into an impressive trade zone and logistics metropolis, handling over 515,000 tons annually recently, making it China’s 7th busiest airport in cargo terms.
Starting on 08MAY20, the pilot is aimed at facilitating the airport’s development into an international air cargo hub and is part of the central government's move to improving the logistics industry.
Zhengzhou Xinzheng International Airport, in China’s Henan province, is the first of the country's five cargo-oriented airports to be developed into an airport logistics hub. The eFreight pilot project includes testing integrated digital technologies such as an electronic freight information platform, smart security check information system and an air logistics public information services platform and will service to set standards based on the airport’s experiences, optimizing processes and connecting information. The project is also expected to improve air-ground and air-rail multi-modal transportation.
Caribbean Airlines Cargo has a cargo premiere
Having launched its cargo-only charter service on 28APR20 to alleviate the cargo capacity loss to many of the Caribbean islands due to the grounding of passenger flights, and offering its passenger Boeing 737s and ATR fleet, its first cargo-only Boeing 737-800 passenger aircraft cargo-only charter service took to the skies on 08MAY20. The aircraft flew from Guyana to Cuba, carrying essential supplies.
Marklan Moseley, general manager of cargo and new business at Caribbean Airlines, said: “These are very challenging times and we are sensitive to the need for trade and commerce to continue within the region. We continue to support the supply chain within the Caribbean and are offering our charter services which supplements our current weekly scheduled freighter flights.”
The charter service, offering capacities of up around 8 tons, complements the carrier’s all-cargo B-767 freighter (c. 55.5 tons of capacity) service operating weekly out of its Miami hub to destinations within the Caribbean, such as Barbados, Grenada, Guyana, Jamaica, St. Lucia, St.Vincent, Suriname and others. These connect to interline partners on board of which Caribbean Cargo is able to offer services to international destinations beyond Miami.
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