Stand aside! I am coming through, ORO-K?
For the past couple of months (since AUG21), Air France KLM Martinair Cargo ULDs have been moving about Air France Cargo's "G1XL" cargo warehouse at Paris-Charles de Gaulle (CDG) airport seemingly all by themselves. They are being transported on autonomous electric vehicles – the result of an air cargo innovation challenge in 2020 called "Play your Airport", organized by Groupe ADP, and won by the French startup, OROK. The aim of the innovation challenge? To encourage ideas “to optimize, secure, and decarbonize ground operations, on airside and service lanes around the aircraft, for the benefit of all players in the airport value chain”. OROK’s "demokart" prototype solution currently being tested as it moves empty containers, is equipped with a state-of-the-art GPS system. Numerous sensors allow it to navigate loading and unloading areas close to the aircraft, and its movements are supervised by a server with artificial intelligence. As the solution evolves, it will eventually be used to convey luggage and cargo containers or pallets, replacing the tractors and trailers usually used between cargo warehouses or baggage sorting centers and aircraft parking stands, reducing the risk of accidents on the runway, offering faster delivery of goods, and minimizing the space required for maneuvering.
Edward Arkwright, Deputy CEO of Groupe ADP, stated: “Thanks to this experiment with OROK's autonomous vehicle, we are testing innovative tools alongside Air France to improve the performance and safety of air freight activities, for which CDG is one of the leading airports. This autonomous technology is promising to help us transform our processes, while contributing to the environmental transition of our ground operations.” Christophe Boucher, Executive Vice President of Air France Cargo, added: “Air France continues to work on innovative viable projects enabling the company to improve the efficiency and reliability of its operations, as well as reducing its carbon footprint. Since summer 2021, the Cargo teams have been pleased to welcome the start-up OROK at the G1XL freight station,” and Pierrick Boyer, President and co-founder of OROK, concluded: “We strongly believe in the complete automation on the tarmac because, thanks to this type of solution, we bring operational peace of mind and better working conditions, while reducing operational costs and expenses related to accidents and the reprocessing of cargo and baggage. Not to mention the optimization of flows and the ecological aspect since our solution is 100% electric.”
Saving the sky, one ton of CO2 at a time
25,000 tons of CO2 are currently saved annually, thanks and according to skypooling’s ULD sharing platform, doing its bit to make aviation more sustainable. How? By minimizing the number of empty ULDs flying through the world. Jettainer's skypooling platform provides the possibility for airline controllers to access available ULDs located around the globe, and ensure that they do not fly empty. This reduces global aviation's fuel use, costs, and CO2 emissions – for example, an average reduction of 65 kgs of CO2 per AKE on an international flight, or around 3,000 kgs of CO2 if a pallet stack can be avoided. skypooling’s automatic matching function and its USP of shareable ULDs, helps solve the eternal problem of under- and overstocks. Meanwhile, over 50 airlines at more than 250 stations across the world, make use of the platform, culminating in 25,000 tons of CO2 savings, annually – the equivalent of the work of around 2.5 million trees. And there is definitely potential for more, the platform providers emphasize – something that the industry also agrees on, given that skypooling has twice been nominated for the TIACA Sustainability Award.
In addition to matching ULDs with demand, skypooling also helps in the location and redeployment of lost/misplaced ULDs, and its mother company, Jettainer, has a number of other initiatives in place to further improve sustainability and avoid emissions. These include developing more lightweight and robust ULDs in close partnership with customers, innovative software solutions using artificial intelligence to improve the efficiency of ULD management, and Jettainer is also the exclusive distribution partner for squAIR-timber – “an innovative system from trilatec GmbH that is made from carbon fibers and replaces wooden skids in airfreight pallets. These products weigh around 80 per cent less, making substantial savings on fuel consumption and helping to reduce CO2 emissions from global aviation.”
Jettainer's Managing Director, Thomas Sonntag, stressed: “The time to make significant CO2 savings is now. As the ULD partner for many airlines, we think it is our responsibility to show ways that we can get there. Our relatively new platform is already making an important contribution in this regard by using resources more responsibly. We want to get handling agents and airports involved much more in the future so that we can achieve even more together and help make aviation more sustainable.”
Etihad Cargo pledges to keep Africa cool
Etihad Cargo has signed a pharma Service Level Agreement (SLA) with Astral Aviation and Kenya Airways, which links the three airlines to a joint network for the safe and professional distribution of vaccines across Africa. Etihad Cargo has already transported around 2,500 tons of pharmaceuticals to Africa since the beginning of the pandemic, including 41 dedicated flights on behalf of the UAE government, and operates also on behalf the of the UAE’s Hope Consortium – the UAE capital-based private-public sector supply chain specialist which provides global COVID aid to the world.
“In addition to significantly expanding Etihad Cargo’s reach across Africa, this inter-airline agreement ensures complete adherence to the specific requirements of pharmaceutical product transportation. Customers can be reassured that Etihad Cargo partners will expertly maintain cool chain integrity,” Martin Drew, Senior Vice President Sales and Cargo, Etihad Aviation Group, explained.
Sanjeev Gadhia, CEO of Astral Aviation, said: “We are honored to partner with Etihad Cargo and participate in the critical distribution of COVID-19 vaccines to and within Africa. The equitable access and distribution of COVID-19 vaccines in Africa will be enhanced with the help of partnerships and collaborations within the aviation sector, such as the one enacted between Etihad Cargo and Astral, which will offer one-stop solution for the vaccines to and within Africa.”
Peter Musola, Head of Cargo Commercial at Kenya Airways, added: “Kenya Airways Cargo is excited to join Etihad Cargo in the HOPE Consortium initiative through providing logistical solutions in our home continent. With only 2.5% of the African continent vaccinated against COVID-19, this will go a long way toward achieving the Africa Centre for Disease Control and prevention (CDC) to vaccinate 60% of the population by the end of 2022 which will result in. This is a fundamental need and pre-requisite toward aviation recovery in Africa.”
Supernova Airlines are due to launch in the Ukraine
The Ukrainian parcel delivery firm, Nova Poshta, which trialed drone parcel deliveries in the summer, has now announced that it is looking to set-up its own airline by the name of Supernova Airlines. The airline has already been registered and expects to received its flight permit within the next six months. It plans to lease two aircraft (type and costs not yet disclosed) and operate out of Boryspil and Lviv airports (network not yet published). Nova Poshta has experience in deploying aircraft. Back in AUG19, it operated AN-26 aircraft (familiar from “The Expendables” Hollywood film starring Sylvester Stallone) to fly cargo from Kyiv to Lviv. It currently cooperates with various carriers, such as Ukraine International Airlines, Turkish Airlines, Silk Way, and Lufthansa, to deliver its parcels, and intends to continue doing so. The decision to invest in own aircraft comes from the rapid increase in business – with more than 7 million parcels delivered abroad in 2020, it doubled its 2019 figures, and already surpassed 5 million after the first half-year of 2021. It operates to and from 220 countries, and will likely deploy its own aircraft to its key markets: China and the U.S. This is reflected in its net profit which increased by 26.6% to over $37 million with revenues of $643 million in 2020. It makes economical sense to invest in own aircraft at the moment, given the amount of passenger feedstock available for cargo conversion.
Nova Poshta has trialed various delivery alternatives, including air services our of the U.S. to hubs in Warsaw/Poland, Istanbul/Turjey, Baku/Azerbaijan, or Copenhagen/Denmark, and then arranging road feeder services to Kyiv Boryspil International Airport. More recently, this summer, it experimented with a Ukranian built drone, manufactured by a local startup called AeroDrone. Four parcels were flown 480 km from Kyiv to Kharkiv, at an altitude of 300 m. The flight took around 5 hours.
FedEx Logistics opens office in South Korea
The FedEx Corp subsidiary, FedEx Logistics recently expanded to South Korea, opening an office in Seoul from there it will offer one-source, end-to-end logistics solutions, including international air and ocean cargo services, customs brokerage arrangements, and trade solutions, as well as a range of value-added services. The latest location will tie in to the global FedEx network, and link to over 220 countries and territories.
“The new office in Korea complements our global operations, strengthening our position to better serve our customers around the world,” Patrick Moebel, President of FedEx Trade Networks, said. “Global customers who trade with Korea and Korean customers alike will benefit from the fully customizable solutions offered by FedEx Logistics. We deliver for our customers by helping them navigate the complexities of global commerce.”
“This is an exciting moment for FedEx Logistics and one that brings tremendous opportunity,” Edward Hui, Vice President for Asia Pacific, Middle East, and Africa (AMEA) at FedEx Logistics, illustrated. “Korea is a key player in international trade. In addition to the substantial enhancement in service level, customers will gain access to the unparalleled global reach of FedEx guided by local, Korean expertise.”
Qatar Airways Cargo’s new CEE GSA
Qatar Airways Cargo has appointed Hungarian R-BAG Group as its new GSA for eight Central Eastern Europe (CEE) countries: Bulgaria, Croatia, Czech Republic, Hungary, Romania, Serbia, Slovakia, and Slovenia, to cover its multiple freighter and mini-freighter connections to Budapest (BUD), Hungary, and Prague (PRG), Czech Republic, as well as the cargo capacities on its passenger flights to Sofia (SOF), Bulgaria, Zagreb (ZAG), Croatia, Bucharest (BUH), Romania, and Belgrade (BEG), Serbia. Bratislava (BTS), Slovakia, and Ljubljana (LJU), Slovenia, tie in to a strong road feeder service network that R-BAG Group provides across entire CEE through its subcontractor, Airline Support International Kft (ASI). R-BAG has 20 years of air cargo experience in CEE and manages locally registered Limited companies in each country.
“Qatar Airways Cargo places a strong emphasis on quality and customer-centricity. R-BAG Group has experienced, dedicated teams in all eight countries, and I look forward to their fresh, positive approach and commitment to pushing Qatar Airways Cargo's business and footprint to the next level,” Rob Veltman, VP Cargo Europe at Qatar Airways, explained. “During the tender presentations, R-BAG Group demonstrated a strong strategic approach through its well-structured headquarter team, as well as a convincing, clear Qatar Airways Cargo business development focus for the region.”
Eva van Baaren-Horvath, Group Managing Director of R-BAG Group, stated: “Having the world's leading airline represented by the best regional GSSA company is a perfect match in the interests of both companies, however, the number one winner is certainly the customer. Thanks to the strong partnership and strategical thinking, R-BAG will make every effort to boost Qatar Airways Cargo's position in the Central Eastern European markets.”
CargoAi welcomes MASkargo
MASkargo is pressing ahead with its digitalization drive. Just weeks after it stated its intention to publish its capacities on cargo.one, it now announced its worldwide go-live on CargoAi, following a swift integration phase given that its partnership began in SEP21. The Malaysia Aviation Group’s cargo division is the first APAC carrier to distribute its global capacity on the www.CargoAi.co digital air cargo solution platform, and thus takes pole position in the region. The carrier operates to over 100 destinations on six continents, with cargo capacities on own freighters as well as the bellies of passenger flights. CargoAi freight forwarders are now able to e-quote and e-book these additional capacities.
Matthieu Petot, CEO of CargoAi, announced: “The fact that MASkargo has chosen CargoAi as its digital distribution platform is a real sign of recognition and trust. We've developed digital air cargo solutions specifically for the APAC market, and it is an honor to offer our services to this major carrier. MASkargo is hitting hard with this global rollout and is clearly setting the trend for other airlines in the region.”
Mark Jason Thomas, MASkargo's Chief Commercial Officer, commented: “We are a dynamic airline with a particularly dense network, especially in Asia with about 50 destinations. CargoAi's choice is therefore strategic. The platform is based in Singapore and has a privileged link with Asia Pacific. This is a considerable advantage for us which makes all the difference. As we expand our digital reach and to complement our current offerings, CargoAi's specific solutions for the market make them our strategic choice partner.”
Avolon counts on IAI to convert 30 A330-300 aircraft
The world’s third largest aircraft lessor, Avolon, has signed an agreement with IAI for the passenger to cargo conversion of 30 A330-300 aircraft between 2025 and 2028. Avolon is IAI’s launch customer for cargo conversions of this aircraft model and will be fully involved in the conversion and licensing process. It has seen tremendous profits this year, and forecasts that cargo aircraft traffic will double in the next 20 years thanks to sky-rocketing e-commerce.
Dómhnal Slattery, Avolon CEO, commented: “We identified IAI as a long-time global leader in the aircraft conversion business and the right partner for Avolon to capitalize on the unparalleled growth in e-commerce. The global air freight market is worth over US$150 billion annually today, and the sector is transforming, with air cargo traffic expected to double over the next 20 years. This agreement signals Avolon’s intention to be a leading player in that expansion.
We believe the IAI A330-300 P2F will be the wide body freighter of choice this decade and beyond, replacing retiring aircraft and providing the volume capacity required to meet market needs. In partnering with IAI, we have identified the most efficient operator in the freight conversion market, guaranteeing more cargo pallet capacity and crucially, faster turn-around times, in a market where every inch and second count.”
IAI President & CEO, Boaz Levy, said: "For the second time in recent years, IAI's Aviation Group is making history. Just two years ago, we announced that we will be the first in the world to perform a passenger-to-freighter conversion on the B777-300ER, and today we are announcing that we will perform the cargo conversions for the Airbus A330-300 aircraft. IAI has proven time and again its leading position as the powerhouse of cargo conversions, globally. I am grateful to our partners at Avolon for their faith in our abilities."
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