Almost 100 Automotive Charters since the start of the year
IAG Cargo has carried out an impressive 95 automotive charter flights since the start of this year, transporting more than 8,000 tons of automotive parts. All those engines, pistons, doors, and tire rubber, to name but a few of the items on board, spell not only positive freight figures for the IAG group but are also a positive indication when it comes to the economy. As one of the world’s largest economic sectors by revenue, the automotive industry is a key indicator of the health of the global economy. The rise in demand for new vehicles shows rising consumer confidence and thus results in rising GDP. “A report from the Economist Intelligence Unit, published in October 2020, predicted double-digit growth in global new-vehicle sales in 2021” the IAG Cargo press release quotes.
The charters, carried out using B777s and B787 Dreamliners, were coordinated by IAG Cargo's specialist charter team created after the pandemic broke out last year, delivered parts to assembly sites across the world. “Popular routes include Germany to South Africa, Mexico to the UK, and Southeast Asia to the US.”
Freddie Overton, IAG Cargo’s Regional Commercial Manager for Europe & Africa, stated: “We've seen an increase of requests to charter our aircraft to transport automotive parts across the world. The use of airfreight in the automotive industry continues to grow and given the need to operate on a just-in-time basis, only air cargo can transport time-critical spare parts to its destination in hours rather than weeks. In addition to our Charter service, our customers benefit from our Critical service - so whether it's a last-minute order or emergency replacement equipment we can support them to move critical shipments across the globe via our extensive network.”
Astral Aviation’s B767 links Kenya to the UAE
Astral Aviation announced early FEB21, when it signed an agreement with SpiceExpress (CFG reported: https://www.cargoforwarder.eu/2021/02/07/short-shots/) that it would be building up its Sharjah hub in the Middle East, the company’s third after Nairobi, Kenya, and Liège, Belgium. It has now announced that it will be serving Sharjah twice a week from Nairobi, using its B767 aircraft. Sanjeev Gadhia, Astral Aviation’s Founder and CEO, explained: “We will provide a scheduled service for perishables from East Africa to Sharjah for the UAE region, while on the return, Astral’s consolidations from China, and the UAE will be moved from Sharjah to Nairobi for onward connection to Astral’s intra-African network.” Those perishables, which may also include vaccines, benefit from the temperature-controlled storage and handling facilities at Sharjah Airport.
Speaking on behalf of Sharjah Airport Authority, its Chairman, Ali Salim Al Midfa, stated: “Sharjah Airport continues to attract new airlines and routes, such as Astral Aviation, which cements our leading position as an international hub for freight. Agreements such as this, also confirm our commitment to providing the highest international standards and practices for the air cargo sector through specialized warehousing, which has obtained CEIV accreditation from the International Air Transport Association (IATA). We look forward to employing our full logistical capabilities and working with Astral Aviation to ship Covid-19 vaccines from China to the African continent in an efficient and smooth manner.”
Silk Way Technics celebrates 15 years in service
Based in Baku, Azerbaijan, Silk Way Technics, one of three companies constituting the Silk Way Group (alongside Silk Way Airlines and Silk Way West Airlines), began maintenance services for CIS-produced plane types in 2006, operating out of its 26,000 m² hangar at Baku’s Heydar Aliyev International Airport (Incidentally, the largest in the Caspian and Central Asian region). Gradually, international airlines flying to Azerbaijan also joined its customer portfolio. It became EASA (European Aviation Safety Agency) certified in 2010, and is now a recognized aircraft maintenance organization, servicing the Boeing, Airbus, Embraer, ATR, and Gulfstream planes of various companies based in the United States, Bahrain, Qatar, Kuwait, and the United Arab Emirates, to name but a few. “Today, Silk Way Technics’ customer base includes not only leading domestic carriers Silk Way West Airlines, Silk Way Airlines and Azerbaijan Airlines, but also airlines from the CIS countries, Europe, and the Middle East, including Aeroflot, Etihad, Jazeera Airways, Kuwait Airways, Qatar Airways, Sibir, Ural Airways and others,” the press release states, going on to underline that “Silk Way Technics’ staff consists of professionals with a world-class level of expertise backed by internationally recognized qualifications.”
Silk Way Technics Director General, Emin Safarov, commented: “The acquisition of valuable long-term experience, as well as the continuous modernization of our technical base and technological infrastructure are our most important achievements. Thanks to this, Silk Way Technics provides comprehensive services for Azerbaijani carriers as well as other leading global airlines. We are not resting on our laurels, however, and are constantly improving our capacity to provide maintenance for the latest-generation aircraft.”
dnata and Cebu Pacific Air ensure smooth APAC services
Having already carried out cargo handling services for Cebu Pacific Air (CEB) at Sydney Airport, dnata has now not only had that contract extended for several more years but has also been awarded long-term contracts for Melbourne and Singapore, thus expanding the Asia Pacific (APAC) partnership. 14 of the 126 airports dnata operates in, are located in APAC, and over 80 airlines in the region have chosen dnata as their ground handling, cargo, and/or catering service provider. Dnata will now be providing a range of ground handling services to the airlines at Melbourne Airport (MEL) and Singapore Changi Airport (SIN). In SIN, CEB will benefit from dnata’s cargo warehouse facilities, which are currently undergoing further modernization.
dnata's Regional CEO for Asia Pacific, Dirk Goovaerts, stated: “After five years of a successful partnership in Sydney, we are proud to become the ground handler of choice for Cebu Pacific Air at two additional airports in the region. These contract wins demonstrate our valued partner's trust and confidence in our quality services, as well as the dedication and agility of our skilled team. We continue to work hard to consistently provide service excellence to CEB and their customers across the region.”
Cebu Pacific’s Chief Operations Officer, Michael Ivan Shau, added: “As we continue working towards being a world-class airline, we are always on the lookout for transformative opportunities. Last year, we commenced a network-wide review of our supply chain arrangements, including our airport, ground, and cargo handling contracts. As a result of these recent bids, we are pleased to commit a significant part of CEB's ground handling business to dnata across the Asia Pacific region. We believe this move to consolidate contracts across the region with a trusted partner will further support our path towards recovery.”
Lödige Industries helping dnata SIN cargo facility upgrade
A cargo warehouse capable of handling 550,000 ton per year requires regular upgrading and modernization to ensure seamless and efficient processes. dnata has selected Lödige Industries to support with the latest modernization project of its cargo facilities at Changi Airport, which aims to install new, advanced ULD handling equipment and control technology, and replace and enhance existing warehouse fittings. By MAY21, Lödige Industries will have assisted in replacing existing equipment with a modern turntable transfer vehicle, control system hardware and software, and slave pallet movers.
The improvements should “extend the terminal lifespan by 15 to 20 years” while at the same time supporting better handling of peak times and minimizing the risk of ULD damage, thus improving cost management. Lödige Industries’ slave pallet movers “allow for safe and efficient build-up and breakdown activities anywhere in the warehouse.”
Ranga Jayaweera, General Manager (Singapore) for Lödige Industries, points out: “Installing the new equipment (within just four weeks) while cargo operations continue, requires careful project planning and management to minimize the impact on dnata and its customers. We incorporated a practical and cost-efficient component redundancy in the project, which will reduce impact during construction, handle peaks and avoid unplanned downtime in the future.”
dnata Singapore's Head of Cargo, Sam Gould emphasized: “Our company continuously strives to make investments that enable us to offer enhanced services to our customers. The new ULD handling equipment seamlessly integrates with our existing procedures and helps ensure the safety of our staff as well as the cargo they handle.”
Emirates Group announces new Executive Vice President for dnata
Steve Allen has been appointed dnata’s new Executive Vice President, the Emirates Group announced on 03MAR21. His responsibilities cover dnata's ground handling, catering, and travel business across six continents, as well as the management of Emirates Group's associated business relationships with MMI, Emirates CAE Flight Training, and Premier Inn, for example. From 01APR21, he will report directly to His Highness Sheikh Ahmed bin Saeed Al Maktoum, Chairman & Chief Executive of Emirates Airline & Group, who had this to say about the appointment: “I'm pleased to announce the promotion of Steve to Executive Vice President. In his various management roles at the company, Steve has delivered outstanding results and demonstrated excellent leadership skills, making a significant contribution to the success of dnata and its customers. I'm confident that under Steve's leadership, dnata will cement its position as a global leader that consistently provides service excellence and the highest level of quality and safety across all its businesses.” He went on to thank Gary Chapman, President Group Services, who will retire at the end of MAR21: “I wish to take the opportunity to thank Gary for his commitment and accomplishments over the last three decades. Gary has led dnata to fantastic new heights, transforming it into a strong global business with a first-class reputation when it comes to service, safety, and standard. I wish Gary a happy and fulfilling retirement.”
Steve Allen joined Emirates Group 12 years ago after spending 16 years with British Airways, having held a variety of operational, financial, and support roles, including the post of Divisional Senior Vice President responsible dnata's ground handling and cargo operations and airport hospitality services in the United Arab Emirates since 2016, and an additional focus on the global transformation of dnata's travel businesses over the past 9 months.
DUS enjoys upswing of cargo flights
Over to Dusseldorf Airport, where freight chief, Lutz Honerla welcomed a number of cargo carriers serving the airport for the first time, or startin “preighter” flight operations to the Rhine airport. Leisure carrier, Condor is one of them, linking Shanghai and Dusseldorf by deploying passenger B767-300s to transport personal protective equipment (PPE) such as gloves, face masks, respirators, face shields, and other items. Vietnam Airlines (VN) operated 36 flights to/from Hanoi, using A350-900 equipment. Emirates complements its scheduled passenger flights between Dubai-Dusseldorf with a weekly “preighter” B777-300. Aerotranscargo (Moldova), a freight carrier based in the Moldovan Republic’s capital Chișinău flew PPE from China via Nursultan (the former Astana) in Kazakhstan to Dusseldorf.
Next in line is Russian Aeroflot (SU) that announced plans for 6 weekly B777 “preighter” rotations between Shanghai and Dusseldorf, via Moscow SVO, commencing next Wednesday (09MAR21). The SU flights, containing corona test kits, are orchestrated by local GSA, Fracht FWO AG.
Dusseldorf offers airlines extremely short turnaround times, high flexibility, and sufficient capacity on both the airside and landside, emphasizes freight head, Honerla. Airport slots are available at any time of day, seven days a week. Prior to the crisis, this had often been an obstacle for cargo flights, he admitted.
New Dutch cargo airline takes to the skies
A new cargo airline is in the making in the Netherlands, Aerotranscargo NL (ATC-NL). The project is managed by Peter Scholten, former Director at Martinair. According to the trade paper Nieuwsblad Transport Mr Scholten is the major shareholder in the company. He is planning to start services this summer from Schiphol to the U.S., China and Hong Kong.
In the first phase 2 B747-400F’s will be leased from Aerotranscargo FZE in Sharjah, the operational branch of the Cisinau-based Aerotranscargo Group. The Dutch company would thus add scheduled services to Aerotranscargo’s ACMI operation. Mr Scholten told CFG he does not wish to elaborate on his plans before the AOC has been granted by the Dutch government. In a Linked-in comment Rogier Spoel, Senior Air Freight and Ocean Freight Policy Manager at the Dutch shippers’ organisation evofenedex, called the initiative “a positive impulse for Dutch shippers who send air cargo on a daily basis around the globe and reaffirms the position of Schiphol as a cargo hub in Europe.”
Marcel Schoeters in AMS
Bolloré Logistis supports biodiversity
In line with its Biodiversity Charter, Bolloré Logistics Australia has opted to support Australia’s bees, by teaming up with local honey producers Bombah Point Eco Cottages and Mid Coast Honey Beekeepers, to provide jars of Manuka Honey to its customers. Manuka Honey is famous for its health and healing properties which include better sleep, improved energy levels, immunity building, healing wounds, healthier skin, and better digestion.
“Approximately 30% of the world’s crops and 90% of all plants require cross-pollination to spread and thrive. Bees are one of the world’s greatest sources of pollination – however, bee populations around the world are in decline. Some key benefits that bees bring include pollination of crops, growth of wild plants, providing various food sources for animals and humans, building wildlife habitats and developing biodiversity which allows all species to co-exist. By planting and using bee-friendly gardens we can ensure the increase of bee populations, allowing them to continue to play an important role in our ecosystem,” the press release explains.
Manuka Honey comes from bees collecting nectar from the wild Manuka Flower which is native to south-eastern Australia and New Zealand. It is not the first time that the company supports bee initiatives. Already back in 2016, Bolloré Logistics Korea supported the Honey Factory.
Malaysia’s New Kargo Kid waiting for take-off
A new cargo airline is preparing to take off on 28MAR21. Kargo Xpress took delivery of its first 737-400F, registration 9M-KXA, on 27FEB21 after Vallair had given the 1995-produced aircraft its new livery – complete with fashionable 2021 face mask accessory. Having spent most of its working life flying for Japan Transocean Air, it was configured as a cargo plane by Vallair in 2017 and flew for Connect Linhas Aéreas until MAR20. Now, almost exactly a year later, it is parked at Sultan Abdul Aziz Shah Airport, in Subang, Petaling District, Selangor, Malaysia, waiting for its first Kargo Xpress flight. M Jets International Sdn Bhd incepted 09JAN18, and taken over by MMAG Holdings Bhd (80%) and JT Aerotech Solutions Sdn Bhd (20%) in 2020, when it was rebranded from a charter to cargo airline and given the new name Kargo Xpress, is behind the operation. The ambitious sales folder on the Kargo Xpress website, lists a possible 50 APAC locations as charter destinations which can be activated in just 4-7 days.
VietJet preparing for cargo focus this year
VietJet has been toying with the idea of an own cargo fleet since 2017. During the pandemic, it was one of the first Asian airlines to shift focus to cargo, and partnered with UPS in NOV20, to carry out flights, after receiving its cargo license from the Civil Aviation Authority of Vietnam. With its cargo operation in passenger cabin (CIPC) approval, VietJet arranged a number of cargo-only flights, transporting up to 23 tons per flight, often relief supplies which it carried for free. Cargo ultimately enabled the company to turn a USD 3 million profit in 2020, having carried over 60,000 tons of cargo. Though this represented just under 2% of what it had earned in 2019, it was nevertheless a positive result, and was a 75% increase in cargo revenue compared to previous year. On 26FEB21, VietJet Cargo’s Standing Vice President, Tran Quang Hoa declared the strategic decision to develop and diversify cargo services: “These services will be developed based on our existing products in 2020 which have optimized our fleet and operation and raked in quite a considerable amount of revenue for VietJet in the past year.” The optimization will continue in 2021, he described, referring to the installation of automatic stacking lines to reduce costs and human labor, and ensuring swift aircraft turnarounds. “I believe that freight transportation will continue to be our focus sector which brings in breakthroughs and extra revenue for VietJet in 2021,” he continued, saying that it would be targeting the potential express delivery market.
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