QR Grounds A350s
Qatar Airways announces the grounding of 13 of its Airbus A350 jetliners. The step comes after technical checks had revealed that the fuselage surface below the paint is degrading at an accelerated pace. Simultaneously, the carrier excluded taking delivery of any further A350 until the questions surrounding the technical deficiencies have been put to an end once and for all. To this effect, the airline is working with its regulator to ensure the continued safety of all passengers, following the explicit written instructions of its regulator. The A350s will be removed from service until the root cause can be established and a satisfactory solution made available to permanently correct the underlying condition, reads a press release. In the meantime, the carrier has taken action to ensure that its passengers are not inconvenienced by the mandated removal of these aircrafts from service and will endeavor to find alternative solutions to offer their usual high standard of service to all travelers. On this occasion, Qatar Airways has already initiated steps to return its A330 fleet into service with immediate effect to offset some of the impact of the grounded A350 aircrafts and is presently looking at alternative solutions as well.
In addition to the Doha-based carrier’s focus on protecting its reputation of offering the highest levels of customer experience, Qatar Airways is cooperating with all the leasing companies affected by this A350 grounding who have started to inspect their impacted aircrafts.
Qatar Airways Group Chief Executive Akbar Al Baker commented: “With this latest development, we sincerely expect that Airbus treats this matter with the proper attention that it requires. Qatar Airways will not accept anything other than aircraft that continue to offer its customers the highest possible standard of safety and the best travel experience that they deserve.”
Meanwhile, aviation experts speculate whether Airbus delivered substandard paint jobs or if QR is using the claims to prevent delivery of more aircrafts for which there is no need in the current global C-19 crisis.
A clear answer to this controversy is still pending.
Freight Associations Welcome New ICAO Secretary General
Colombian national Juan Carlos Salazar has been appointed new Secretary General of the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) for a three-year term, already having begun this month. The personnel decision was warmly welcomed by The International Air Cargo Association (TIACA), FIATA International Federation of Freight Forwarders Associations, the Global Express Association (GEA), and the International Port Community Systems Association (IPCSA). In a joint statement FIATA, TIACA, GEA and IPCSA vowed to fully support Mr. Salazar and ICAO, a specialized agency of the United Nations, in their aim to further develop and strengthen air cargo operations. This will be increasingly vital for global trade and long-term economic recovery of ICAO Member States, as the broader supply chain evolves with the global marketplace, the freight associations emphasized in a joint release. According to them, ICAO’s key tasks should include digitalization (to minimize the health risks and inefficiency of paper for information exchange), the rapid advance of e-commerce (in which air cargo is a vital tool for moving goods quickly to key markets), and the development of a cargo-specific regulatory framework that will foster sectoral growth in conjunction with market needs.
The upcoming High-level Conference on COVID-19 (HLCC 2021), to be held in October, will provide the first opportunity to discuss how Mr. Salazar and ICAO can act to futureproof all-cargo air operations; building in strength and resilience while ensuring that the sector is prepared for any future pandemic or other unforeseen emergencies. Discussions around a specific and open economic regime for cargo-only operations, including so-called seventh freedoms, should be an essential part of this venue and partnership between ICAO, its Member States, industry, and other UN agencies. Prior to his ICAO appointment, Juan Carlos Salazar was secretary general of Colombia’s Civil Aviation Authority.
Mr. Salazar joins ICAO from Colombia’s civil Aviation Authority, where he was secretary general for the past three and a half years. He takes the helm from Mrs. Fang Liu, who had been Secretary General of ICAO over 6 years, and who was a strong advocate for cargo during her tenure.
Japan Airlines and WFS Strengthen Their Partnership
The Tokyo-based carrier has awarded agent WFS with new online and offline handling contracts in Europe, which includes several destinations. In Liege, WFS was provided with cargo handling and ramp transportation services for the carrier’s new weekly B747 freighter flight from Belgium to Tokyo. Simultaneously, JAL has also prolonged its offline handling agreement with WFS at Brussels Airport.
“We are very happy to expand JAL’s European partnership with WFS, which responds well to our requests, such as for the high-quality handling of vaccines in Brussels and our requirements for time definite handling of large volumes in Liege,” commented Tatsusuke Osakabe, the airline’s Regional Manager Cargo & Mail, France, Spain and Belgium.
Marc Claesen, Senior Vice President Commercial EMEAA at WFS, applauded the airlines’ decision to integrate Liege into its global network: “We are delighted to welcome the airline as a new customer in Liege and to have renewed its offline handling agreement with us in Brussels. This also enables us to continue our close working relationship with J-Air.”
WFS has also been appointed by JAL to handle a series of all-cargo flights, e.g. Brussels Airport to Osaka in the coming weeks carrying C-19 vaccines.
Kerry Logistics Flies Trans-Pac
Kerry Freight Controlled Network (KCN), an integrated service of freight agent Kerry Logistics, has introduced a new Trans-Pacific cargo flight to connect multiple Asian locations to the USA in hopes to capture the heightened demands in the pandemic-hit air freight market. The inaugural flights will take place from Hong Kong to Huntsville, Alabama, USA where KCN has set up its North American hub.
KCN is a time-definite solution that offers standard air freight services to customers with guaranteed space and long-term pricing, fulfilling customer demands looking for stable and long-term solutions. KCN offers door-to-door solutions for a wide range of products; from small parcels to large and oversized cargoes, including DGR and lithium batteries.
Kevin Bulger, Chief Operating Officer of USA, Kerry Logistics Network, said, “We chose Huntsville as our Americas air freight hub for KCN as it is congestion free and enjoys expedited transfer of cargo to Latin America and Mexico. With cooperation from HSV, we will be able to execute swift dispatch of cargoes to cities within the USA and Canada.”
Rick Tucker, CEO, Port of Huntsville, commented: “The Port of Huntsville is a Southeast gateway to countries all over the world and makes our region a highly sought-after location for business and industry. Kerry Logistics Network will enhance HSV’s global connectivity and speed to market solutions. We welcome our newest logistic partner to HSV and look forward to a long term, prosperous partnership.” KLN’s air freight business, from Asia to the world, surged remarkably in 2020 and has kept on doing so since.
Agent Gebrüder Weiss Helps Digging Tunnel
The Austria-based logistics service provider has sponsored the transport of a high-tech drilling robot from Switzerland to Las Vegas in order to take part in a race observed and evaluated by scientists. The mission is part of Elon Musk’s Hyperloop project to transport people and goods over shorter distances through tunnels under or above the earth’s surface to their destination at high speeds. To make tunneling financially viable, the drilling robots required must be as fast, compact, and automated as possible. The conditions set by Musk for the high-tech scientific race in Las Vegas are challenging. As a reference, regarding drift velocity, he has specified the speed of a snail, which should be surpassed if possible.
“As a provider of future-oriented logistics solutions, we have to start thinking today about how we can ensure the freight mobility of tomorrow under economically feasible conditions. The Hyperloop project may still seem somewhat exotic to us today, but it promises feasible solutions for the mobility requirements of the future,” says Lothar Thoma, Managing Director Air & Sea at Gebrüder Weiss.
Stefan Kaspar, founder and co-president of Swissloop Tunneling said, “Questioning existing transport systems for people and goods and looking for feasible alternatives – our vision is nothing less than to revolutionize tunneling and help a technology achieve its breakthrough. With the logistical support of Gebrüder Weiss, our vision is one step closer to becoming reality.”
The ‘Swissloop Tunneling’ research team from the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology (ETH) in Zurich, consisting mainly of students, is involved in the further technical development of the Hyperloop high-speed transport system.
WFS Swallows Up French Ground Handler R.A.HAND
Worldwide Flight Services (WFS) has purchased Paris-based R.A.Hand, thereby extending its specialist handling services to freight forwarders in France. Established in 2010 and based at CDG Airport, R.A.HAND cooperates exclusively with French and international freight forwarding companies, providing cargo handling services, storage, distribution and deliveries to airlines to some 60 cargo agency clients. It manages a 6,800m² warehouse facility in Paris, generates revenues of €6.2 million annually and employs over 50 staff at the aforementioned 6,800m² warehouse facility in Paris-Roissy.
The acquisition of R.A.HAND is a “strategic investment which supports WFS’ development plan in France and our own growth in providing handling expertise directly to freight forwarding clients, including those currently operating regular air cargo charter flights to provide the capacity and network their customers need. This is an important and growing part of our business in Europe, which R.A.HAND will seamlessly fit into,” states Hugo Rodrigues, the new R.A.HAND Vice President. He has more than 26 years experience in the air freight industry as part of the WFS group of companies.
Peter Caff former R.A.HAND President commented: “With WFS as majority shareholder and the leadership of Hugo Rodrigues, R.A.HAND can look forward to an exciting future. The operations of the two companies are very complementary and will create a strong platform for growth.”
Compiled by Heiner Siegmund
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