Dutch government ditches air cargo tax
The Dutch government has decided to delete cargo flights from its Aviation tax proposal. The ‘Logistieke Alliantie’, which consists of 18 industry stakeholders (including Air Cargo Netherlands and Schiphol Airport) advocating a competitive, sustainable, and safely operating logistics network, has applauded the move, says its chairman Steven Lak.
“With this adjustment of the proposal, the secretary of state has demonstrated that he shares our concern about this national taxation. Our investment climate and employment would be sincerely affected. His option to take this part out of the proposal and bet on a European taxation on cargo flights makes much more sense in our opinion. A European taxation on cargo flights will lead to an increasing sustainability of the air cargo industry, while maintaining the international level playing field. We will support the secretary of state in his effort.”
InDro Robotics: first Canadian drone company permitted to carry cargo
InDro Robotics based in Salt Spring Island, has become the first Canadian drone company to be authorized by the Canadian Transportation Agency to carry cargo. It is now practically a domestic cargo airline, thanks to its Special Flight Operations Certificate. InDro Robotics Inc.’s CEO, Philip Reece, stated “This permission until now has only ever been issued to airlines and paves the way for (literally) much wider range of Drone use. We have had several successful missions carrying medication and other health-related items to remote areas. This new license means we can ship anything up to 10KG (other than people and animals) - important documents, artwork, jewels - basically anything a manned aircraft could.”
At the moment the approval allows the InDro Heavy Lift Wayfinder Drone to fly routes of up to 25 km, however InDro’s researchers expect soon to be extending the drone’s flight distances to 200 km. “Our Canadian researchers and technologists together with the efforts of the CTA, and Transport Canada continue to advance Drone technology at a record pace,” he added. “We believe in the very near future our aircraft will be able to travel further and with more weight load, expanding Drone capabilities.”
It may take another couple of years, however, before drone-operated cargo deliveries become common-place in the country, though the company has already been involved in simulated blood product tests between hospitals, for example, and successfully maintaining the required temperature.
InDro Robotics is also involved in COVID-19 vaccine delivery preparations.
Gameco’s record-speed converted B737-800 BCF
Guangzhou-based GAMECO recently announced that it had completed its first 737-800BCF conversion in record time and well within its project deadline. The aircraft was finished on 15OCT20, just months after conversion began back in MAY20 (CFG reported: https://www.cargoforwarder.eu/2020/05/24/short-shots/) The converted aircraft can carry up to 24 tons of cargo.
GAMECO’s General Manager, Norbert Marx declared “We are proud of our team for achieving another important milestone. Despite the challenges caused by the global pandemic, we were able to fulfill our promises and redeliver the conversion product faster than anticipated and with the highest quality. We will now take the lessons learned from this conversion and apply them to our overall process to ensure we continually meet the quality and reliability standards that our partner Boeing expects.”
Speaking on behalf of Boeing, Peter Gao, Vice President Commercial Sales and Marketing for China, said “Successfully completing the first 737-800BCF conversion ahead of schedule, under difficult circumstances, showcases the high level of quality and support GAMECO brings to this important program. We are committed to continue strengthening our partnership with GAMECO to help deliver this valuable product and service to our customers.”
The rapid rise of e-commerce and express cargo has led to a huge demand in this type of freighter. Boeing recently revised its Commercial Market Outlook and forecast that 2,430 new and converted freighters will be required in the next 20 years – of those, it expects around 1,080 will be standard-body passenger-to-freighter conversions.
Emirates SkyCargo refers to its A380 charter ops as “mini-freighters”
Rather a large bird to be referred to as a “mini-freighter”, yet Emirates SkyCargo has designated this name to charter operations it has launched using its A380 aircraft. Together with its Engineering and Flight Operations teams, it has optimized the A380’s cargo capacity to allow for the safe transportation of around 50 tons of belly-hold cargo per flight, and is looking to further improve capacity limits to include seat-loaded cargo, too.
The first chartered “mini-freighter” was deployed to carry medical supplies from Seoul, Korea, via Dubai, UAE, to Amsterdam, Netherlands, recently, and more dedicated cargo flights are lined up for this month. The A380 preighter is the latest addition to its cargo-only fleet which already includes dedicated Boeing 777-F and Boeing 777-300ER cargo flights (14 of its B777-300ER passenger aircraft have had their Economy Class seats removed to enable greater cargo volumes.) Scheduled cargo capacity is currently available to 135 international destinations. The decision to add the A380 “mini-freighters” was taken in an effort to match the surge in demand for cargo capacity, and to enable urgent medical transports as well as prepare for the COVID-19 vaccine logistics challenge.
The extra cargo flights are welcome revenue for the carrier which last week posted its first negative result (USD 3.8 billion half-year net loss due to the pandemic) in over 30 years.
Cargolux advises the custom-designed containers for flexible vaccine transport
At a recent London Aviation Club webinar on 12NOV20, Cargolux’s CEO, Richard Forson, commenting on the temperature requirements stipulated by Pfizer and BioNTech last week, that vaccines should be kept at around -80°C, underlined that since no aircraft is able to provide such cold conditions, special containers would be the only transport options.
Using custom-designed boxes would also open up the possibility of deploying passenger planes in meeting the largest logistics challenge the air cargo world will have ever seen. “The container itself can remain at ambient temperature because it’s protected on the inside,” he said. “All the passenger aircraft in the world will be mobilized to transport these vaccines.”
He went on to point out that the 10-day lifespan of the vaccine may result in a race against time, as well as pose serious challenges when it comes to storage, given that not all destinations across the world have adequate cool storage facilities. “The shortest part of the lifespan of that vaccine is going to be on board our aircraft, and we are quite used to flying pharmaceuticals around,” the CEO said. “The important thing is the last mile, getting it to the hospital or clinic where it’s going to be used.” His conclusion was that it would make the most sense to ensure vaccine production in as many locations as possible, “rather than producing billions and flying them around the world,” he stated.
DSV supports Red Cross efforts in Cox’s Bazar
Things are difficult at the best of times in Cox’s Bazar, Bangladesh which has become the world’s largest refugee settlement following the mass flight of Rohinga from Myanmar in 2017. Sheltering almost 1 million people spread across 34 refugee camps and host communities largely underequipped to handle such a dense population, with very limited sanitary facilities and no chance of social distancing, the pandemic has worsened an already dire situation. The Red Cross, states that the first COVID-19 case was diagnosed on 14MAY20, and that since then over 4,600 have tested positive in the host communities, while 270 have tested positive in the camps, though the real figure is likely much higher given the refugees’ fear that they will be separated from family members if tested positive, and quarantined. Most, therefore, do not come forward. In addition to its usual humanitarian help – largely restricted by the pandemic regulations - the Red Cross is now also trying to educate people to dispel the current misinformation, rumors and fear around COVID-19, and to provide psychosocial support to help them cope with this stressful and terrifying situation.
DSV has reached out to support the Red Cross in providing food, shelter, and protection. “The coronavirus pandemic has made matters worse for many vulnerable populations, including refugees at Cox’s Bazar. As part of our collaboration with the Danish Red Cross, we’re providing a financial donation to support humanitarian efforts in the area,” says Lindsay Zingg, Senior Director, Sustainability, DSV.
“It’s very important to support the livelihoods of the host communities and communities within the refugee camp. Furthermore, they need psychosocial support, water, sanitation, and healthcare. We are challenged by the restrictions due to COVID-19, but we are doing our best to assist and to adapt our programmes to reach as many as possible,” says Lea Jimera Acallar, Programme Delegate in Cox’s Bazar with Red Cross.
Poised to become Antigua’s first cargo flag carrier
Since last month, Wadadli Cargo, headed by CEO J. Michael Johnson, has begun creating hype on Facebook, LinkedIn, and Instagram, with its claim “Cargo – Re-imagined”, and has its own website up and running. “Wadadli - WE TAKE OUR NAME SERIOUSLY”, the website reads, “Wadadli is the local name for Antigua. The name Wadadli comes from the indigenous inhabitants and essentially means ‘our own’. We don’t use this name lightly. It is a statement of who we are and why we exist: To build a company Caribbeans can call ‘our own’, and one that is committed to quality air cargo services and to becoming the first cargo flag carrier of Antigua.”
Aiming to deploy an ATR72 and B737, the company is looking to provide daily cargo flights to the OECS and Dominican Republic.
“The Wadadli Difference: Wadadli Cargo is committed to providing reliable, consistent cargo operations for shippers and receivers. We do this by flying smaller, more fuel-efficient airplanes with lower costs, and through increased frequency of shipments beyond what existing services offer. We will be the first cargo airline to maintain this service throughout the year and not operate our aircraft on other routes without our core routes being fulfilled.”
Lift-off is likely to be the second half of 2021.
The other Amazon in Brazil is spreading…
On 09NOV20, Amazon announced its largest logistical expansion in Brazil, with the opening of three new Distribution Centers (Betim - Minas Gerais, Santa Maria - Distrito Federal, and Nova Santa Rita - Rio Grande do Sul, bringing the company’s number of distribution centers to eight in total in the country) and the creation of 1,500 jobs. Reason for the expansion is that “Brazil is the country with the fastest growth in Amazon Prime subscriptions since launch,” and more distribution centers enable even faster deliveries to customers.
“Amazon's expansion reflects our commitment to consumers in Brazil, with a focus on offering a constantly evolving customer experience. We are deeply committed to the country and the communities where we operate, and we are proud to create more than 1,500 new job opportunities, which will benefit the regions where the distribution centers were installed. Our logistical expansion is in line with the objective of continuing to bring more convenience to customers, with increased capacity, expansion of the product catalog and faster and faster deliveries to more cities. This expansion will help us to further improve the service to Brazilian customers, not only in the states where we are opening CDs, but throughout the country,” says Alex Szapiro, Amazon country manager in Brazil.
“Together, these new buildings represent about 75 thousand square meters, which is equivalent to an area of more than 10 soccer fields, with the flexibility to grow even more,” the press release reads.
“Noah’s Plane”: Air Canada’s Pet Repatriation flight
The pandemic has caused heartache in more ways than one with family members living in different cities or even countries, being cut off from seeing each other. Air Canada recently carried out a repatriation flight with a difference. On 05NOV20, it flew around 70 cats and dogs from Vancouver, Canada, home to Melbourne, Australia. They had been stranded, separated from their owners for months due to COVID-19 travel restrictions.
The chartered B777-300 preighter flight was carried out on behalf of the fully accredited global pet relocation service company, WorldWide Animal Travel, which ensured that the animals were health-checked by a vet and cleared for travel. At Air Canada’s Vancouver cargo facility, the pets, each in their own IATA-approved carrier, were carefully stowed and secured in the temperature-controlled and pressurized cargo holds on board flight AC7219, which some referred to as “Noah’s Plane”. Upon safe arrival in Melbourne, the furry guests, like their human counterparts, were subjected to a mandatory 10-day quarantine before being reunited with their 2-legged family-members.
The press release points out: “Air Canada Cargo is accredited by IATA for the safe transport of live animals (CEIV Live Animal certified carrier) and regularly transports animals between Canada and Australia which are some of the airline’s longest flights. Last year, Air Canada Cargo transported more than 5,800 animals globally, with the vast majority being pet dogs and cats, including close to 700 pets between Australia and Canada.”
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