DUS Airport gets busy with PPE cargo
Dusseldorf, normally Germany’s third busiest airport after Frankfurt and Munich, and which can look back on a decade of healthy passenger growth before COVID-19 hit, has recently joined a growing number of PPE distribution hubs around the world. Lately, DUS handling teams have been busy with flights coming in mainly from China and carrying medical equipment and other life-saving goods. Managing Director of Cargo Operations, Gerton Hulsman reports: “We are pleased to be able to play a part in distributing this much-needed PPE. Düsseldorf is well placed to serve a large area of Germany and also Netherlands and Belgium. Like many other handling companies at other airports, we have had to deal with some of these unusual commodities, very often in unorthodox ways. We have had a variety of aircraft to handle, including 185 tons on 22 flights for Condor with a B767 passenger aircraft, 9.1 tons from Sky Up airlines with a B737/900 passenger aircraft, and 53 tons from Emirates Sky Cargo with a B777 freighter. Over the next couple of weeks, we will receive additional flights which will include AN124 and B777 freighters. We have always had excellent freighter handling facilities at Düsseldorf, but unloading from passenger aircraft is clearly a challenge, but we are delighted to be able to do this invaluable work and help to save lives. We have all learned a lot from this pandemic and now look forward to happier times when air travel resumes to some degree and we can say goodbye to COVID 19.”
Dusseldorf in Germany’s North Rhine-Westphalia, made wearing masks on public transport and in shops obligatory from 27APR20 onwards, and – like many regions – has strict contact regulations which led to sad events such as local club Fortuna having to play Paderborn in a completely empty football stadium on 16MAY20, but also to creative solutions: Dusseldorf recently saw the opening of a second drive-in cinema (08MAY20) and these drive-in cinemas (which are seeing a revival in other countries) have been used as concert venues and even to host a wedding!
The positive spread of Online Learning
The free online COVID-19 course that CFG reported on in our 03MAY20 publication, has meanwhile been taken in 143 countries. Airport College International was already offering online-training courses prior to the pandemic and has recently published a white paper looking at the impacts of COVID-19 when it comes to developing staff competencies in Ground Handling. As the crisis pushes companies to find contactless solutions, and with ever-decreasing budgets given the current financial constraints, online training methods are a growing solution possibility. The white paper written by Teemu Patala, focuses on what needs to be considered in future, in order to provide proper training the Ground Handler’s workforce. It outlines what online training possibilities are on offer and how these can be utilized and proposes a set of solutions aimed at guiding companies through these challenging times. A worthwhile information support for managers and Human Resource responsibles at a time when training is possibly more relevant than ever, and time and resources are strained.
Airport College International states 4 good reasons for online training on its website: 80% reduction in training costs, zero-emission training solution, 24/7 availability and training courses that are kept up to date at all times.
14 days to take off: Lufthansa Cargo’s new SZX “Preighter”-connex
18MAY20 saw Lufthansa’s first A330-300 “Preighter” (Passenger aircraft freighter) take off from Shenzhen with around 3 million respiratory masks and other PPE on board, after a preparation time of just 14 days. It was the first in a new schedule which includes 14 additional cargo flights every week from Shenzhen to Frankfurt, and bringing the total number of weekly “Preighter” China flights up to 49. In addition to Lufthansa Cargo’s 17 freighters, the passenger-cargo flights each offer an average cargo capacity of 30 tons each. Ten A330-300s have been partially stripped of their cabin equipment, to accommodate a larger cargo volume.
The first SZX Preighter was flown on behalf of Fiege International Freight Forwarding, whose CEO, Michael Völlnagel, had this to say: "As a reliable partner, Lufthansa Cargo has played an important role in the stable supply chain from Asia to Germany in recent weeks. The new cargo flights from Shenzhen ensure that we can make this supply chain even more flexible, so that urgently needed goods arrive quickly in Germany".
Achim Plücker, Managing Director International Cargo Center Shenzhen, commented: “For Shenzhen Airport and the International Cargo Center Shenzhen, the launch of the Lufthansa connection is a further step in the internationalization of Shenzhen Bao'an Airport. We are very pleased to be able to participate in supplying Germany with urgently needed medical goods such as masks. It was an energetic effort on the part of everyone involved, especially the airport, to launch this new connection in just fourteen days."
DHL GF kicks off its omniscient digital logistics portal
In line with its “Delivering Excellence in a Digital World” Deutsche Post DHL Group Strategy 2025 goal, DHL Global Forwarding officially launched the pilot of its latest digital innovation on 19MAY20 with selected customers on 5 continents: a comprehensive portal called myDHLi. Offered free of charge to DHL Forwarding customers, myDHLi, which the press release refers to as “the only fully integrated online platform for freight forwarding customers,” allows users to select which of its modular features they want to see on their screen and can use immediately following a single sign-on registration process. It combines existing booking and tracking facilities for complete, 24/7 shipment visibility, a number of features for data analysis and integration, and offers a “unique follow + share function” similar to social media principles, so that shipment information can easily be shared between customers and suppliers. Simplicity is key, according to Tim Scharwath, CEO DHL Global Forwarding, Freight, who says: “Despite accelerating digitalization and super-fast connectivity, customers have a need for reduced complexity. And that is exactly what our tool does. We have created a one-stop customer portal that is tailored to the needs of our customers. By combining services like online quotation and booking with shipment tracking, document accessibility, and data analyses we are creating not only 360-degrees visibility, but also have laid the foundation for customers to manage their logistics – anytime and anywhere. We strongly believe that digitalization bears the potential to ease and improve the daily business of shippers and freight forwarders simultaneously. This is even truer during unpredictable and challenging times such as those we are currently facing with COVID-19, and which might now act
as an accelerator for digitizing the industry. That is what digitalization means to us and why we made it a cornerstone of our strategy 2025.”
GAMECO starts converting first B737-800
7 months after Boeing and GAMECO (Guangzhou Aircraft Maintenance Engineering Company) agreed to establish a third China-based B737-800BCF conversion site in Guangzhou, the first 737 is now ready for conversion. An AeroMexico plane bearing the registration N520AM left Anchorage on 15MAY and flew to Guangzhou, China, via Tokyo in the night of 17-18MAY20, and was towed into the GAMECO hangar there.
Though it is not clear at the moment for whom the conversion is being carried out, the aircraft had previously been leased from BBAM, who – in turn – had already placed an order earlier this year (11FEB20) for 3 737-800BCF to focus on eCommerce in the pre-COVID-19 market. At the time of that Boeing press release, the Guangzhou inauguration was also mentioned. A second 737-800 conversion is expected to start in the second half of this year.
GAMECO General Manager, Norbert Marx, said back in FEB20: “Passenger-to-freighter conversions give us the opportunity to demonstrate our skill and expertise. Boeing Converted Freighters are the market leader – we are proud to partner with Boeing on this program.” The interest in 737 conversions was already strong prior to corona. The trend looks likely to become even more attractive now, in the search for smaller, flexible cargo aircraft, given that the eCommerce driver has increased even further due to the lockdown in many countries.
9000 jobs to go at Rolls Royce
In a statement issued on 20MAY20, Rolls Royce announced that it would be cutting around 9000 jobs from its total of 52,000 staff in a reorganization predominantly affecting its Civil Aerospace business. Already in a restructuring process since mid-2018, COVID-19 has led to the company setting its focus on medium-term structural changes in order to adapt to changed customer demand.
Warren East, Rolls-Royce, CEO said: “This is not a crisis of our making. But it is the crisis that we face, and we must deal with it. Our airline customers and airframe partners are having to adapt and so must we. Being told that there is no longer a job for you is a terrible prospect and it is especially hard when all of us take so much pride in working for Rolls-Royce. But we must take difficult decisions to see our business through these unprecedented times. Governments across the world are doing what they can to assist businesses in the short-term, but we must respond to market conditions for the medium-term until the world of aviation is flying again at scale, and governments cannot replace sustainable customer demand that is simply not there.”
The reorganization should generate annualized savings of over GBP 1.3 billion, of which the headcount will contribute around GBP 700 million. Warren East pointed early action already taken to strengthen RR’s financial resilience and reduce 2020 cash expenditure, and added confidently: “The strategic choices that we have made over the last few years have helped us to respond rapidly to COVID-19 and the synergies between our divisions leave us well placed to capitalize on the long-term potential of our markets. The world on the other side of this pandemic will need the power that we generate to fuel economic recovery. I absolutely believe the call for that power to be more sustainable will be stronger than ever. This plays to our strengths. We must ensure that we are able to continue to innovate and play our leading role in enabling the vital sectors in which we operate achieve net zero carbon emissions. We have emerged from troubled times before, to achieve incredible things. We will do so again.”
Industry-first digital partnership between WebCargo and IBS Software
In a press release on 19MAY20, WebCargo (Freightos Group company), and IBS Software announced an industry-first partnership providing an off-the-shelf solution to air carriers wanting to become fully digital, quickly and inexpensively. Smooth supply chain processes and digitalization are all the more important in today’s pandemic world, so transparency over rates and routes are key in moving bookings online. IBS Software’s iCargo platform already has a large customer base of more than 30 airlines, including American Airlines, Etihad Cargo, IAG Cargo, Korean Air, whilst WebCargo is a platform where these IBS airlines can now offer real-time eBookings to WebCargo’s 18,000 users at 1,900 freight forwarding companies.
Ashok Rajan, SVP & Head of Cargo & Logistics at IBS Software, said: “The digital evolution across the air freight industry is gaining significant momentum and at IBS Software we are convinced that over the next few years it will transform the way we do business. Digitalization in the sales and quotation function facilitated through digital sales channels will bring in greater transparency, improve responsiveness, and bring better value to the end customer. We are delighted to partner with innovative providers such as WebCargo to make such capabilities easily accessible to our airline customers.”
WebCargo’s CEO, Manel Galindo stated: “35% of all global imports by value arrive by air, yet the vast majority of airlines don’t have automated prices today. WebCargo has been transmitting air cargo rates globally for over a decade, giving us access to the largest network of airline rates in the world,” Partnering with industry innovators like IBS Software is part of our comprehensive strategy to digitize the entire air cargo value chain and make air cargo better and quicker.”
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