Hawaiian Airlines’ ‘Ohana’ cargo service falls victim to Covid-19
Hawaiian Airlines announced on 27MAY21 that its ‘Ohana by Hawaiian’ statewide cargo services, hitherto carried out by third-party Empire Airlines’ ATR 72 freighter fleet, and grounded since NOV20 due to Covid-19, would no longer resume. The Hawaiian Airlines subsidiary’s all-cargo service had only been around since 2018 (a passenger service had been set up in 2014, and this will also no longer be continued), and had fallen victim to the Covid-19 fall-out which resulted in Hawaiian Airlines posting a fourth-quarter loss of $172.8 million in JAN21. At the time, President and CEO at Hawaiian Airlines, Peter Ingram predicted: “The negative impacts of COVID-19 will create a challenging beginning of 2021, but we are confident that the structural pieces are in place for a sustained recovery.” Yet operations still at under 50% mean that cost-cutting measures have to continue, and that includes the Ohana cargo service. After a detailed assessment of the overall operation and its long-term viability, which, for various restrictive reasons, would not have seen flights resuming until the end of 2021, thus incurring significant costs, the decision was clear. Peter Ingram regretfully concluded: “This is a heartbreaking decision, particularly for those of us who were involved in launching the business in 2014. We took a hard look at the service and could not identify a way to restart and sustainably operate.”
This affects 97 Empire Airlines’ employees (82 pilots, flight attendants, and maintenance staff in Hawaiian’s and 15 employees in Empire’s base in Idaho) who were dedicated to the ‘Ohana operation, and another 28 Worldwide Flight Services employees were involved in ground handling services. All other ‘Ohana by Hawaiian operations were managed by Hawaiian employees, who will be reassigned to other areas of the company. The ATR fleet is in the process of being moved to the U.S. mainland where it will be stored and eventually sold off. Its ground support equipment has meanwhile been lent to Mokulele Airlines, which services routes between Honolulu and Moloka‘i and Lāna‘i.
WFS settles in for the long-term at Atlanta Airport
Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport (H-JAIA) has had a major cargo facelift as part of its multi-billion-dollar strategy to match future aviation requirements. The brand new, state-of-the-art, 30,000 m² cargo terminal that was opened on 27MAY21, is the first new cargo facility that the airport has seen in more than 30 years, and is run by Worldwide Flight Services (WFS). WFS won the 20-year tender at what was the world’s busiest international airport prior to the pandemic, including a cargo through-put of more than 675,000 tons per year. Mike Simpson, EVP Americas at WFS, commented: “We were extremely proud to be awarded the opportunity to operate Cargo Building C, and to now be opening the first new cargo terminal at H-JAIA in more than 30 years. Atlanta is a major cargo hub in North America and, through this long-term commitment and investment, WFS is demonstrating its ability to offer airlines using this great airport the highest international standards of safety, security, and service. We look forward to a long and successful partnership with the airport authority and Atlanta’s air cargo community.”
Atlanta is the latest station in WFS’ 45-airport-strong North American network. Last week, the ground handler announced that it had won 3-year ground handling contracts with 12 airlines across North America, including Emirates, Qatar Airway, AirFrance-KLM, among others. Mike Simpson points to the upward swing the aviation industry is finally taking again: “Clearly, the airline industry and its suppliers have all suffered severe disruption over the past year, but these significant contract awards show positive signs of recovery, and we are ready to provide these airlines and their passengers with the highest standards of service, safety and security at each of these locations across our network. During the spring break in March, we handled over 12,000 flights – almost on a par with the pre-Covid level – we are optimistic for a sustained recovery of the US aviation industry.”
Saudia Cargo launched Scandinavian cargo connection
“We have seen a growing demand for air cargo in Denmark, Sweden and Norway, and we believe that Copenhagen, as a central location in the Scandinavian region, is an ideal route to capture business from all these countries. For Denmark and Sweden, we’re focusing on pharmaceuticals, while in Norway, we’re looking at transporting perishables like Salmon which the country is very well known for.” Saudia Cargo Chief Cargo Officer and Danish national, Teddy Zebitz, explains Saudia Cargo’s decision to deploy twice-weekly (Wednesdays and Saturdays) preighter flights from 22MAY21 between Saudi Arabia and Copenhagen, Denmark. The B777-300 passenger planes offering a 140-ton payload capacity, will likely include shipments of pharmaceuticals and medicines, perishables, cars and trucks, tech products, machineries, and equipment, and are welcome additional import and export capacity between Europe and Saudi Arabia. Zebitz continues: “Saudia Cargo is here to reconnect the world. Our freighters stand ready to timely and efficiently transport supplies to Copenhagen and between Scandinavia. Saudia Cargo’s wide network across the Middle East, Africa and Asia, China and India in particular, will get the job done, help businesses rebound and save lives in this pandemic.”
Saudia Cargo Director, Kenneth Fuhrmann, added: “We hope these new flights will yield to better business between the destinations and create more opportunities. Air cargo facilitates one-third of the global trade and we, at Saudia Cargo, take our role in transporting goods across the world very seriously. We will do the job safely and efficiently.”
Johan Toreheim, Managing Director at Euro Cargo Aviation, Saudia Cargo’s GSSA in Scandinavia, pointed out: “This is in fact the first commercial flight that Saudia Cargo is operating to and from Copenhagen and Denmark. With two weekly departures, we will not only be able to give the Danish market a good and quick connection to Saudi Arabia, but also to several international connections from Riyadh and Jeddah.”
Rock-It Cargo and Sela partner to move global events
Combining more than 70 years of experience in event logistics specialty freight forwarding including entertainment touring, corporate live events, sport, television and film, and exhibition industries, Los Angeles, USA-based Rock-it Cargo (Rock-it) and Jeddah, Saudi Arabia-headquartered Sela Sport Company (Sela) have joined forces. An agreement was signed 24MAY21 which will ensure a one-stop shop for customers looking to hold entertainment, sports, or cultural events within Saudi Arabia and across the planet. Rock-it will provide global freight forwarding and logistics for Sela in all countries outside of Saudi Arabia, and Sela will act as Rock-it’s logistics provider within Saudi Arabia.
“Rock-it now has a partner that is unrivalled in its live event experience across the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and Sela now has a global partner with an extended network across five continents,” Paul Martins, Chief Executive Officer and President, Rock-it, stated. “Both companies are already well-established market leaders in delivering time-sensitive logistics solutions for live sporting and entertainment events, industrial projects, and much more. This new global partnership provides us with a strong opportunity to further grow our business and broaden our service offering for customers.”
“Sela is going to raise the bar once more in the event management sector in Saudi with our partnership with Rock-it,” Loai Kamakhi, General Manager of Business Solutions, Sela, declared. Saudi Arabia has seen the number of live events and shows increase over the past years, and Sela is well established within the country, providing event and project management, and event marketing services alongside commercial partnerships.
Keeping airlines running over in Dubai
dnata and Global Jet Technic (GJT) have signed a partnership agreement with the aim of offering “best-in-class line maintenance services” to dnata’s 150 customers in Dubai. The UAE General Civil Aviation Authority approved GJT is the UAE’s leading aircraft maintenance organization, operating full line maintenance stations at Dubai International (DXB) and Sharjah Airport (SHJ). It is planning to also launch operations at Dubai World Central (DWC) soon, dnata’s second Dubai airport base. dnata carries out ground handling and cargo services at both DXB and DWC, and has handled over 77,000 flights and 570,000 tons of cargo there during the last 12 months. Together with GJT, dnata will be in a position to offer its 150 customers a one-stop-shop of ground handling, cargo, and technical services at both Dubai airports.
Steve Allen, Executive Vice President of dnata, said: “We are delighted to join forces with a reputable partner to expand our portfolio and provide a broader range of services to our airline customers in Dubai. dnata and GJT share a passion for service excellence, safety, and innovation. Our expert teams will ensure smooth delivery of tailor-made, quality line maintenance services across all aircraft types. We look forward to a long-standing, successful partnership with GJT.”
Capt. Khamis Al Kaabi, Chairman of GJT, commented: “We value this partnership with dnata - a world-renowned air services provider - very highly, and together we are very confident of making a great impact in line maintenance services delivery to the esteemed customers operating to these airports. This strategic partnership will play a key role in tapping into potential business at Dubai International and Dubai World Central airports. I would like to especially thank HH Sheikh Ahmed bin Saeed Al Maktoum, Chairman and Chief Executive of Emirates Airline & Group, for his directives and blessings towards this partnership.”
When half your staff looks like oversized record-players
U-Freight's first, 7,000 m², smart eCommerce e-fulfilment center (EFC) has gone live, and the staff is a mix of human and robot systems. U-Freight Logistics operates five cargo hubs in Hong Kong and the one in Kwai Chung was recently converted into a smart warehouse. In other words, it has been equipped with an automatic guided vehicle (AGV) and Intelligent Racking system, along with all the necessary operating software, greatly improving its operational efficiency and lowering expenditures. During the day, all employees both warm-blooded and battery-driven, work together in processing orders. The night shift is taken over completely by the AGVs, who work tirelessly around the clock, pre-arranging goods as per execution instructions, in preparation for them to be picked and packed when the human operations staff return to work the next day.
“The deployment of autonomous mobile robots in warehouses around the globe is transforming the future of the e-commerce sector and its ability to meet rising business and consumer demand,” Simon Wong, U-Freight Logistics CEO, explains. “The latest development is part of U-Freight's ongoing investment to meet the ever-increasing challenges of providing logistics services to this rapidly expanding sector of global trade. In our EFCs, picking operations account for an increasing proportion of costs, accounting for more than 50% of warehouse operation costs. Traditional warehouses mostly adopt the ‘person-to-goods’ selection mode, which can mean high labor cost and low selection efficiency. By implementing an automatic guided vehicle (AGV) and Intelligent Racking system, we will be adopting the 'goods-to-person' picking mode, and believe this will improve production efficiency. It should also enhance workplace safety and improve ergonomic conditions for operations staff in our EFCs.”
The latest EFC initiative is just one of a number that the company has been launching and implementing over the past few years, and which has led to it becoming a go-to logistics partner for a number of e-commerce entrepreneurs as well as large, international online partners such as Easyship and Amazon.
Digging for gold in a cargo shipment
Given the four-eyes principle and video surveillance processes in place in many airports across the world when it comes to handling valuable cargo shipments, theft should be a rare occurrence… Yet, in this case, four eyes grew very large at the prospect of improving the month’s salary intake. They just did not fully think things through and now face up to 15 years in federal prison if they are convicted. What happened? Two cargo handlers were arrested at Los Angeles International Airport, for allegedly stealing gold bars. Aged 38 and 35, the two were taken into custody last week, charged with “conspiracy and theft of interstate and foreign shipment”, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Central District of California. The theft occurred on 22APR20 when the two were employees of Miami-based Alliance Ground International, which provides cargo handling services at 13 airports in the US, including Los Angeles. 2,000 gold bars weighing around 1 kg each and with a value of around $56,000 per piece, flew in to Los Angeles International Airport on a Singapore Airlines flight on behalf of a Canadian bank, on route from Australia to New York, via Los Angeles. The shipment was offloaded and secured at the airline's on-site cargo warehouse, yet later that night, it was discovered that one box containing 25 gold bars was missing. The box was apparently found near the warehouse by one of the defendants, who used a belt loader to drive it to a nearby location where he removed four gold bars from the box. He shared the find with the other defendant, giving him one of the bars. A second bar was given to a family member and the other two bars were buried in the first defendant’s backyard.
The lost box was found by other cargo handlers and an investigation was launched which led to the arrest of the two cargo handlers. The FBI also recovered all four missing gold bars. The two appeared in court last week and face up to 15 years’ imprisonment if convicted.
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