Putting the BEaR in BEI(r)JING
Germany’s new Berlin Airport celebrated its first scheduled long-haul flight from China on 12AUG22, since the corona pandemic began – with Hainan Airlines of all things. The BER press release cites Skytrax rankings as placing the airline in the world’s top ten passenger airlines. (The 2021 rankings put it on 9th place, having dropped from 7th in 2019.). Yet, the airline, which had mostly struggled since 2017, and was on the brink of collapse back in 2021, when the HNA conglomerate owning it went bankrupt (CFG reported: https://www.cargoforwarder.eu/2021/01/31/chapter-11-is-hna-group-s-final-glimmer-of-hope/ ), was taken on by Liaoning Fangda Group Industrial in DEC21, and put on a strict cost-savings plan. Already by JAN22, China Daily reported that the airline had seen “sales of its cargo business expand by 62 percent year-on-year and net profit soars 182 percent year-on-year, making its revenue and profit for the period hit historic highs.” It said of China’s fourth largest airline, that: “In DEC21, Hainan Airlines transferred its core aviation business to Liaoning Fangda Group Industrial Co Ltd, its strategic investor, as the carrier's parent company HNA Group was in the process of going through bankruptcy and restructuring. By the end of December, the carrier completed its work of establishing a cargo business department, the election of a general manager of the department and setting up an operational and management team.”
So, now, just eight months later, Hainan Airlines will be connecting China and Germany via BER airport once a week, operating an Airbus A330 every Friday, and returning to the Chinese capital that same day. “Before arriving in Beijing, a stopover is scheduled at Dalian Zhoushuizi Airport due to Chinese infection control regulations,” the press release states. The flight times are 02:30 from Beijing (PEK) every Friday, arriving in BER at 06:40, and then departing BER again at 16:50 to stop over in Dalian Zhoushuizi (DLC) at 08:25 on Saturday, and continuing to PEK at 23:45, landing at 01:10 on Sunday. “Before the Corona break, Hainan Airlines had connected Beijing and the former airport location Berlin-Tegel from September 2008 to March 2020. With the resumption of direct scheduled flights to Beijing, travel between the two capitals will be made much easier. Visa requirements and infection control regulations continue to apply for entry into the People's Republic of China,” the press release reveals, saying absolutely nothing about cargo possibilities on the flight. Remains to be seen where the greater interest lies with this new China-Germany service – and how many passengers will look forward to an extra stop for corona testing along the way.
In an earlier statement to CFG a couple of weeks ago, Berlin Airport confirmed: "Air freight volumes are currently about one-third lower than in the pre-Corona year 2019, partly because not all long-haul connections have returned yet. In particular, more connections to Asia, an important market, are missing. Currently, only Scoot flies to Singapore. China, for example, has not yet resumed traffic, but that could happen soon. Then the cargo volume will increase." Hainan Airlines should therefore be a welcome start.
Atlas carrying the cargo for Qantas Freight
“We look forward to beginning this next chapter as we continue our mission to be our customers’ first choice and most trusted partner,” Atlas Air’s comment upon announcing its acquisition by Apollo last week, is already echoed in this week’s announcement: the extension of its long-standing partnership with Qantas Freight. Since 2004, Atlas Air has been providing freighter capacities for the Australian cargo carrier. This will continue with an extended agreement recently signed with Qantas Freight, which sees Atlas Air providing “long-haul, widebody main deck capacity with two Boeing 747-400Fs operating its existing network linking Australia, Asia and the U.S. An additional 747-400F has also been extended to service the one-way U.S.-Australia-Hong Kong routing, boosting capacity to meet customer demand,” as per the release.
John W. Dietrich, Atlas Air Worldwide President and Chief Executive Officer, stated: “We are pleased to extend our long-standing partnership with Qantas Freight and support its customers and network. This important extension with Qantas Freight comes at a time of significant growth in the air freight industry. We look forward to supporting Qantas Freight as it continues to expand its global freighter network.” In reference to the two companies’ sustainability endeavors, he added: “In addition to abiding by CORSIA, we have set goals to lower our aircraft emissions and improve our fuel efficiency as part of our commitment to promote a cleaner environment,”. “Atlas is proud to work with Qantas Freight in the Qantas Future Planet initiative that will enable us to offset a majority of the emissions from the flights we operate on behalf of the airline.”
Catriona Larritt, Executive Manager, Qantas Freight, commented: “Air freight remains in high demand for efficient deliveries for urgent, time-sensitive movements. Continuing our relationship with Atlas Air will ensure we can maintain these important air freight connections between Australia and several of the largest global trading hubs in Asia and the U.S, supporting long-standing relationships with our key customers.”
Unilode to take care of Azul ULDs
An international airline needs international partners that know what they’re doing. Azul has therefore selected Unilode Aviation Solutions as its ULD management company and signed a full-service ULD (unit load device) management agreement on 11AUG22. The four-year contract sees Unilode ensuring that the airline is provided with dedicated containers wherever it needs them along its network of more than 150 destinations and its fleet of over 160 planes. Pallets will be supplied from Unilode’s shared asset pool, to ensure the greatest efficiency and sustainability benefits, and the entire steering will be carried out in a digital hybrid ULD management model.
Izabel Reis, Managing Director of Azul Cargo, stated: “We are pleased to partner with Unilode for the full-service management and repair of our ULD fleet with significant digitalisation, sustainability and operational benefits. Unilode’s customer success-oriented approach gives us confidence that we will be able to focus on our core business of flying passengers and cargo whilst having peace of mind that we will have the right containers and pallets at the right time and in the right place. We have an ambitious growth plan for the next few years with over 90 aircraft on order and look forward to growing our operations with Unilode as our strategic partner for digital ULD management.”
Ross Marino, Chief Executive Officer Unilode, said: “We are delighted to enter into a full-service ULD management agreement with Azul, that builds upon our ULD repair and short-term leasing solutions, which we have provided to Azul over the past few years. Azul’s network provides a great overlap with a number of our other valued customers’ locations, especially in the Latin American market, which benefits all the participants of our shared asset pool. We look forward to building a successful partnership for many years to come with one of the most important airlines in the Americas market and supporting its fleet expansion plans with ULD solutions that can flexibly be adapted to suit Azul’s requirements.”
Same high quality, different design
When you are growing as fast as Silk Way West Airlines currently is (according to its press release: “one of the fastest-growing cargo carriers in the Caspian and CIS regions”), then a clear website is a must to help streamline your sales and marketing. Silk Way West unveiled its redesigned website www.silkwaywest.com last week, which it had contracted German cargo software solution provider, ENXT Solutions, to create, with the focus on improving its customer experience. The new website “includes several new features, including a responsive, user-friendly layout, simplified navigation and newly integrated online booking services along with enhanced freight tracking and a CO2 calculator,” the release explains. It has also been equipped with two new online services: an online booking feature allowing forwarders and sales agents to send cargo enquiries directly to the airline, and for which they receive a booking confirmation with flight data by email. The second service is an “enhanced tracking service with an integrated CO2 emission calculator”. It offers real-time status tracking and information on the carbon emissions each shipment generates, based on its cargo weight, origin and destination. “The new features demonstrate the company’s drive to improve the customer experience by digitalizing services and achieving a carbon neutral footprint,” the release announces.
Wolfgang Meier, President of Silk Way West Airlines, announced: “I am proud to share the passion of our team that redesigned our website, making it even more attractive and optimizing its functionality. Adjusting the website in line with our new corporate identity and adding useful features and important functions makes it a great experience for customers to step into the Silk Way world. The next stage in digitalizing our processes is the launch of online booking through our website, which will further enhance our capacity to reach prospective clients.”
Cristina Pheysey, Managing Director ENXT Solutions GmbH, said: “We are delighted that our latest project brings us together in providing state-of-the-art tracking capability to Silk Way West Airlines’ newly redesigned website, together with an online query and interactive quotation feature through our QuoteIt platform to further enhance digitally driven growth. It is sensational to witness this development and we are looking forward to continued synergies and cooperation between our two companies.”
UPS buys in healthcare logistics expert, Bomi Group
UPS announced on 08AUG22, that it plans to acquire 1985-incepted, Italian integrated logistics leader, Bomi Group, which is a key player in healthcare, specialized in the transport of medical devices, in vitro diagnostics, biomedicals and pharmaceuticals, and is present in 14 countries, mainly across Europe and South America. Its staff of over 3,000 employees provides tailored services to more than 150 multinational healthcare customers. UPS’ acquisition which should be completed by the end of this year, if approved, will see Bomi Group’s key leaders, such as CEO Marco Ruini, continuing in their function, and its employees will also be integrated in the combined organization.
In line with its strategic Healthcare expansion, UPS will gain more than 350 temperature-controlled vehicles and 391,000 m2 of temperature-controlled facilities, enabling it to provide faster shipping times, greater production flexibility, and attract new business. “The acquisition will play a key role in the delivery of next-generation pharmaceutical and biologic treatments that increasingly require time-critical and temperature-sensitive logistics,” the release states, pointing out that “UPS Healthcare has doubled its global footprint since 2020,” alongside considerable enhancements to its technological infrastructure, as it aims to become the leading healthcare logistics provider.
Kate Gutmann, EVP and President of UPS International, Healthcare and Supply Chain Solutions, explained: “As a leading global healthcare logistics company, Bomi enhances our portfolio of services and accelerates our journey to become the number one provider of complex healthcare logistics. UPS Healthcare and Bomi Group employees share similar values and our cultures are firmly rooted in a relentless focus on quality. The combination of our two teams will significantly improve our healthcare customers’ ability to continue to develop and deliver life-saving innovations.” UPS Healthcare President, Wes Wheeler, added: “We are focused on building healthcare logistics capabilities and services that allow our customers to deliver the newest healthcare innovations. We are excited to combine Bomi’s talent, expertise and capabilities with UPS Healthcare – together, we will provide unmatched solutions to our customers, powered by UPS’s integrated, global smart logistics network.”
Bomi Group CEO, Marco Ruini, commented: “With over 35 years in the healthcare logistics industry, our team has developed best-in-class services designed to meet and exceed the needs of our medical technology and pharmaceutical customers,” “Joining the UPS team will expand those capabilities and create an even more integrated and powerful global network for our customers.”
More freighters mean more destination markets
Winter 2022/2023 is just around the corner, and Lufthansa Cargo will be putting its early Christmas presents to good use. It is looking forward to the delivery of a new Boeing 777F due at the end of this month, as well as another Airbus A321F entering service in OCT22. The latter will be deployed on short- and medium-haul flights which are still being arranged, whilst the former will immediately join its 15* B777F siblings in serving long-haul frequencies. (*Lufthansa Cargo operates eleven of the Boeing 777Fs, whilst the other five fly as AeroLogic.) The cargo carrier has just published its expanded winter flight schedule, which will commence on 30OCT22, and is supplemented by the belly capacities of Lufthansa, Austrian Airlines, Brussels Airlines, Eurowings Discover and SunExpress passenger flights, which total over 6,000 flights a week.
More freighters mean more destinations, and top of the list are network expansions in Asia and North America. Come Winter 2022/2023, Lufthansa Cargo will be operating 78 weekly B777F routes, among them new destination Hanoi (HAN) starting in NOV22. It will be served twice a week from Frankfurt via Mumbai (BOM), complementing the airline’s existing twice weekly Vietnam from Frankfurt - Ho Chi Minh City (SGN) via Bangkok (BKK). Lufthansa Cargo will operate 38 weekly connections to destinations in Asia – among them, four weekly Frankfurt – Seoul (ICN) flights via Kansai (KIX), and five weekly Hong Kong (HKG), China, connections – frequencies on both routes have been increased by one.
Otherwise, the airline is keeping current best sellers: “four weekly routes to South America and two weekly connections within Europe with the B777F to Tel Aviv (TLV) and Cairo (CAI) in the winter flight schedule,” as well as increasing its Europe-North America rotations to 34: “The service from Frankfurt to Mexico City (MEX) will be increased from five to six and to Chicago (ORD) from seven to eight flights per week,” the release promises.
Ashwin Bhat, Lufthansa Cargo's Chief Commercial Officer, explained: “We are observing strong demand for our product to North America as well as to economically strong Asia. Vietnam in particular is a clear growth market, and I am very pleased that we are establishing a new station there and can thus offer our customers an attractive range of quality cargo transport services to this region.”
From Container Management to sustainable bags
Containers don’t last forever – or do they? At least, Jettainer is putting its retired materials to good, sustainable use. Together with German upcycling company, B2L (which stands for Bags To Life, and began as an aviation life-vest recycling company), Jettainer repurposes the materials used in its unit load devices (ULDs). The strong tarpaulin that is used for ULD doors, is being turned into fashionable shoulder bags. Key chains, too, are being fashioned out of old ULD materials, with more products to come in future. Given the durability of these materials, such as tarpaulins and belts, the products are incredibly robust and easy to wash. “Jettainer is helping to make aviation more resource-friendly and environmentally sound with its global management services for innovative, lightweight ULDs,” the press release underlines, going on to explain that the two companies have already worked together as project partners in the past, and have now intensified their cooperation with a new, three-year contract.
Kerstin Rank, B2L’s Managing Director, said: “We have already upcycled more than 145 tons of material from aviation since our company was founded 11 years ago. We look forward to expanding our portfolio and giving a second life to Jettainer’s retired ULDs. Along with the bags, we have already come up with lots of other ideas for creative and sustainable items.”
Thorsten Riekert, Chief Sales Officer at Jettainer, stated: “The conscientious and careful use of resources is an integral element of our corporate philosophy. So, we are really excited that our containers can keep travelling around the globe, even once they are retired, thanks to upcycling.”
Blanca Garcia is Dronamic’s CCO
Dronamics has announced its first Global Chief Communications Officer: Blanca Garcia. As part of Dronamic’s Executive Committee, she will report directly to Founder & CEO Svilen Rangelov.
Blanca Garcia brings more than 25 years of communication experience in a number of countries and companies, among them Nissan, where she held posts at Renault-Nissan-Mitsubishi Alliance in Mexico City, Paris and Bangkok, and was Vice President Communications and CSR for Nissan Asia & Oceania. She led creative teams at Fisker Inc. in Europe and carried out communications consultancy for Boehringer Ingelheim in more than over 30 countries, as well as for British Airways in 42 markets. She is well experienced in automotive, aviation, technology, financial services, pharma, hospitality, and FMCG, and has a recognized track-record in brand-building together with broad expertise in all aspects of communications, acquired in leadership roles throughout Europe, the Middle East, North Africa, Latin America, Asia, and Oceania.
Sven Rangelov commented: “Blanca brings with her a wealth of experience having worked for many international leading brands. Her strong communications skillset will play a key role in the growth of Dronamics as we accelerate the cargo industry with our innovative and revolutionary unmanned aircraft and first international drone delivery network.”
Blanca Garcia announced: “I’m very excited to share that I’ve joined the Executive Team at Dronamics as Global Chief Communications Officer. Thrilled to be part of a company that is transforming the air cargo industry with the most innovative technology: the autonomous, unmanned cargo aircraft. […] Having led creative teams in different industries and worked in so many countries, I feel grateful to join a company that is building a technology with the clear intention of making a positive impact on the lives of so many people around the world.” The multilingual (English, Spanish, French and Greek) communications expert is also a published author and speaker in her specialty area of women empowerment.
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