Liege Airport fire does not impact cargo
During the night of 23JUL20, a fire broke out at a Liege Airport facility, causing significant damage. The incident has had no impact whatsoever on the airport’s cargo operation, says VP Commercial Steven Verhasselt. “The warehouse B30, is used for the storage of spare parts and houses some offices. No cargo passes through that building. The airport had to close for 20 minutes only and eventually only 5 aircraft were diverted. Thanks to the speed of our teams.” A few days earlier a freighter of Ethiopian Cargo, which is also a customer of LGG, caught fire while loading at Shanghai Pudong.
Ethiopian B777 freighter on fire in China, 22JUL20
Reminiscent of the B787 fire incident in Heathrow back in the summer of 2013, which investigators eventually put down to a short circuit caused by the Honeywell Emergency Locator Transmitter’s positive and negative cables, too long to fit into the casing, touching each other and resulting in “a thermal runaway” – a first spreading from one lithium battery cell to the next, media was again filled with images of a rear fire on an Ethiopian plane. This time, it was a B777 freighter standing in Shanghai, China, having flown in from Brussels, Belgium, earlier, and due to head to Sao Paolo, Brazil. The fire began during cargo loading.
Ethiopian issued a statement on LinkedIn the next day, regretting the incident, grateful that there were no casualties, praising staff for their adherence to procedures, and with the following information: “Although proper investigation has been started by the country of occurrence and the country registration and operation, preliminary information revealed that in the final preparation for taxi out, fire was detected in the main deck. The crew report to ATC and the handling company and asked for help as per the procedure. Meanwhile, the fire spread in the cabin until the handling company and the airport emergency unit arrived at the scene of the incident. The fire damaged the upper structure of the aircraft before it was brought under control by the airport emergency service.
The aircraft, Boeing B777-200F with registration ET-ARH was original dedicated cargo aircraft acquired by Ethiopian Airlines brand new from the Boeing factory in October 2014. The aircraft had clear maintenance logbook since previous flights.
While authorities in China are investigation the cause of the incident, a team of experts has been dispatched from Addis Ababa to assist in the investigation.”
The internet is rife with debates on whether this fire was caused by lithium batteries (since there are unconfirmed reports of a 3-pallet shipment of these on the manifest), or ground handling staff smoking, or mishandling or non-declaration of dangerous goods.
dnata’s digital footprint goes blue
And that is a good thing, thanks to Unilode Aviation Solutions. The two companies have signed an agreement wherein all dnata’s warehouses will be equipped with Unilode's Bluetooth® readers. Unilode, has been set on digitally enhancing its world’s largest fleet of containers over the past years, and won the IATA Air Cargo Innovation Award in 2019 for its Digital Transformation program focused on using the Internet of Things to the best advantage for air cargo. The Bluetooth® Low Energy (BLE) 5 digital tags that are fully embedded into Unilode’s ULDs, require Bluetooth® readers to obtain detailed information on shipment status such as geolocation, temperature, humidity, shock and light. In APR20, already 160 global locations had these readers installed, providing visibility on c. 40% of Uniode’s ULD fleet. That figure is now set to increase with the latest signing with dnata.
Guillaume Crozier, dnata's Divisional Vice President for Operations and Product Development, said: "We are delighted to partner with Unilode to deliver more value for our customers by taking advantage of the latest technologies. Unilode's innovative solutions will further increase our digital footprint and help us efficiently manage and track ULDs across our operations. We continue to enhance training, processes and technology to provide the best possible services to our customers."
Mr. Benoît Dumont, Unilode CEO, said: "Unilode is currently digitizing its entire ULD fleet of 140,000 units with tags and is rolling out a Bluetooth® reader network infrastructure in over 250 locations worldwide. Our new agreement with dnata will help us accelerate the creation of Unilode's digital ecosystem and enable us to increase ULD visibility, data accuracy and asset stock control, in addition to providing our customers with important information on their cargo. We look forward to partnering with dnata in Unilode's innovative digital journey."
Etihad automating cargo screening thanks to E2open app
Ensuring compliance to all kinds of regulations is highly complex in the cargo world. Etihad Cargo has partnered with E2open which provides intelligent supply chain solutions, to streamline regulatory compliance screening processes against 600+ Restricted Party Lists as well as Dual Use commodities and Military Regulations for 170+ countries. Planned to be fully operational by NOV20, the E2open app will enable automated cargo screening, simultaneously improving efficiency, streamlining workflows, minimizing the risk of fines and penalties, and reducing manual handling times for cargo screening. The app will not only include checks against global regulations, but will also be tailored to align strict Etihad Cargo protocols regarding the embargos on shipping endangered and threatened species, hunting trophies containing any animal parts, shark fins and live animals intended for use in scientific research.
Etihad Cargo’s Head of Operations and Delivery, Andre Blech, explains: “Aside from being labor intensive, navigating the constantly changing regulations and export/import requirements often requires coordination across multiple parties and compliance checks. Our partnership with E2open, which shares our vision for a truly digital logistics supply chain, increases Etihad Cargo’s service quality to customers, who benefit from the increased efficiency of real time verification.”
Santosh Nanda, General Manager of E2open's Logistics Service Providers business unit, adds: "As carriers move goods around the globe, they face major challenges navigating through relevant trade regulations, sanctions and embargoes. Together with Etihad Cargo, E2open is streamlining the process to dramatically simplify the complexity of staying abreast of ever evolving trade regulations, automating the screening of shipments, thereby providing best in class compliance safeguards for Etihad customers while reducing shipment processing costs. It will also “allow air cargo shippers to benefit from automated screening capabilities by simplifying global shipping and ensuring rapid screening so that products consistently arrive on time thereby increasing customers satisfaction."
What do 240 million surgical masks translate into?
Answer: 39 flight operations carried out by five B777-300 ER aircraft over a three-month “air bridge” that began on 06MAY20 between China and Brazil, involving more than 300 LATAM staff who handled 1,200 tons broken down over 146,661 boxes of N95 surgical masks from Chinese suppliers in Shanghai, Guangzhou and Xiamen to São Paulo-Guarulhos International Airport. Stacked together, all that medical cargo would fill five Olympic swimming pools. The 2,550 hours flown are equivalent to 106 complete days in the air, and the 1.9 million kilometers traveled – across 11 time zones – represent five times the distance between the Earth and the Moon.
This mega-mission, which marked the first time that LATAM Group has ever operated in China, has now come to an end. Flight JJ 9553, the 39th and last of the cargo-only passenger flights which saw cargo being stowed on seats and cabin floor space and overhead bins, in addition to the cargo holds, set off from Guangzhou (China) and landed in São Paulo-Guarulhos International Airport at 21:46 on 19JUL20, with the final 3.7 million N95 masks on board. As all other operations before, these were then distributed by Brazil's Ministry of Health to hospitals across the country. “Hundreds of professionals saw this unprecedented operation as a true mission for the country. Congratulations to LATAM and MInfra’s personnel, as they made it possible to successfully support the Ministry of Health over the last three months”, Tarcísio Gomes de Freitas, Infrastructure Minister applauded the operation.
Diogo Elias, LATAM Cargo Brazil’s Director, concluded: “It is a pleasure to know that the focus placed on such a challenging and unprecedented operation during the last months resulted in a rapid and efficient delivery for Brazil. We implemented all our logistics expertise to combat this pandemic and reinvent our operation in a very short period of time. We are proud of the results because they display the excellent teamwork of over 300 employees, all focused on a higher purpose.”
Less Airbus Deliveries… as Lufthansa focuses on paying off debt
156 of the 198 aircraft orders that Lufthansa currently has pending, are for Airbus. After intense discussions back in MAY20 between Airbus and Lufthansa wherein the airline was looking to reduce these orders, the German government acted as mediator, and the compromise result was that Lufthansa would not cancel any order and would agree to accept delivery of 80 aircraft between now and 2023. This was also a condition of the 9-billion-euro German government aid package, though the German government, which has a 10.9% stake in Airbus, agreed not to interfere with Lufthansa’s corporate strategy, though it does have the right to veto some corporate decisions.
Information leaked out last week, that Lufthansa, which has is looking to retire 100 of its 760-strong fleet, and is planning to halve expenditure on new aircraft, is unlikely to take delivery of all 80 aircraft by 2023. Instead, the airline’s focus is on repaying the bailout as quickly as possible, given that the interest rates starting at 4% in the first year, will increase to a painful 9.5% in 2027.
The pressure of cancellations and delivery delays on Airbus, which is expecting a pre-discounted USD 23 billion from Lufthansa overall in orders, is immense since similar negative decisions from other airlines will see Airbus deliveries freefall over the next two years.
Yet, Sanford C. Bernstein analyst, Daniel Roeska, speaking in a Bloomberg article, said that: “Realistically, Lufthansa will not need any new jets over the next four years. Investors would rather see them buying no planes at all for some years and use the funds to delever the balance sheet. The trouble between Airbus and Lufthansa will start if demand remains subdued and Lufthansa will try to push out those deliveries further and further,” yet “It will take Lufthansa a decade to get over this crisis.”
So far there have been no comments from Airbus or the German Ministry of Economy on the news.
23JUL20 saw the first Amazon air cargo lift-off at Florida airport
The first of “many daily cargo flights” heralded the start of Amazon Air’s new eCommerce cargo hub on 23JUL20. Landing at 15:04 at Lakeland Linder International Airport (LAL), located midway between Tampa and Orlando, from Sacramento International Airport, California, the B767-300 parked up in front of Amazon’s largest and newest hub in the Southeast. The c. 87,000m² cargo complex which houses a sorting facility and a 7-jet hangar, cost around USD 100 million, was constructed in record time in less than a year, and Amazon has a 20-year lease deal, paying the City of Lakeland USD 80,000 per month (with an option to renew three times for up to a total of 50 years), along with the possibility to expand its existing 47 acres on to an adjoining 62 cares. expand on an adjoining 62 acres. The airport will receive 85 cents per 1,000 pounds of cargo landing there, plus a 3-cent surcharge per gallon of fuel.
“We are excited to launch our Amazon Air operation at KLAL so we can continue to deliver the fast, free shipping our customers in Florida and across the country depend on during this time,” Sarah Rhoads, vice president of Amazon Global Air, said in a release, referring to the airport by its navigational code.
Airport director, Gene Conrad, stated: “Amazon has been phenomenal to work with. We appreciate their belief in us to be here. There were several other airports in the state they could have landed at and we appreciate their faith in us.”
Gebrüder Weiss grows in Graz
22JUL20 finally saw the corona-delayed ground-breaking ceremony for Gebrüder Weiss’ new 70,000 m² terminal which is planned to start operations in Spring 2021. Located in Kalsdorf near Graz, Styria, Austria, work had already begun in APR20 on the new. 26-million-euro location. It will replace the company’s current facility in Alte Poststraße, which is already bursting at the seams, having handled some 670,000 shipments in 2019, and seen particular growth in its home delivery business: a dozen vehicles are in daily operation, distributing up to 300 consignments to end customers.
"After nine months of construction, we have a 16,500 m² logistics hall, 6,500 m² for handling and 4,000 m² of office space at our disposal - a state-of-the-art logistics location for our customers and our 180 employees. With this facility, we will also be able to bundle orders that were previously distributed over several operating locations in the region," says Gerhard Haas, Branch Manager Gebrüder Weiss Graz. "Conveniently located near the A9 motorway and the Graz-West junction, we will be able to reach shippers and their customers even faster. The new facility enables more efficient processes and a further development for the Styrian market – also in consideration of home delivery. Despite the Corona crisis, we have decided to take this important development step for Graz".
Delta Cargo flying into a greener future
On 22JUL20, Delta Cargo followed up on its pledge to become the world’s first carbon-neutral airline, announcing that it has joined the Sustainable Air Freight Alliance (SAFA), a business-led collaborative initiative of shippers, freight forwarders and airlines, aiming to reduce its members' environmental footprint.
"We are very pleased to welcome Delta Cargo to SAFA," said Angie Farrag-Thibault, Director, Transport & Logistics at BSR (Business for Social Responsibility - a global nonprofit business network and consultancy dedicated to sustainability, which facilitates SAFA). "When airlines, shippers, and freight forwarders collaborate, they can accelerate the development of new solutions and the implementation of best practices. By joining SAFA, Delta Cargo will contribute to an ambitious collective effort to reduce emissions from air freight, which is necessary to meet global climate goals."
"We're proud to join SAFA as we accelerate our sustainability goals while also being aligned with our customers and their values," said Shawn Cole, Vice President - Delta Cargo. "We are in the midst of the worst global pandemic in living memory, but we can't afford to take sustainability off the agenda. Through this commitment, we are supporting Delta's goal to be a more environmentally-friendly airline for generations to come." Delta’s contribution to a more carbon-neutral future includes replacing light bulbs in its warehouses to energy-efficient LED lighting and switching to electric tugs and is well aware that 98% of its emissions come from its fleet. Though SAFA, it plans to collaborate with its counterparts, sharing best practices and create common goals and metrics, and tracking efforts and achievements.
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