MNG Airlines welcomes second A330-300 P2F
And another freighter makes nine: MNG Airlines’ fleet has increased again, with the delivery of its second converted A330-300 bearing the registration TC-MCN. And there are more to come, including A321P2F, the airline has announced – all being converted by EFW. With a successful quarter-century track record in air cargo, offering customized services that include flight, cargo, ground handling and warehousing services, MNG Airlines is the first carrier in Türkiye to include passenger-to-freighter converted aircraft in its fleet. Following the decision to invest in aircraft conversion in DEC20, its first upcycled A330-300 bearing the registration TC-MCM, was delivered from Elbe Flugzeugwerke GmbH (EFW) facility in NOV21. “Since then, it has completed nearly 3,000 flight hours and carried over 12,000 tons of cargo in the last 9 months to maintain a sustainable network between China, Türkiye, and Europe,” the release reports. Its newest addition, which underwent conversion over the past 7 months, will go into operation this month.
Ali Sedat Özkazanç, General Manager of MNG Airlines, declared: “I am delighted to receive our second A330-300 aircraft from EFW’s facilities. As MNG Airlines, we are increasing our cargo capacity with a focus on customer satisfaction and flight safety. The fact that we are the first company in Turkey to invest in the conversion project makes us proud and motivates us to reach higher goals and work even harder. With TC-MCN, we will serve a wide range of customers and routes, both scheduled and charter. I am confident that the collaboration between MNG Airlines and EFW will continue to add value to both companies. We are currently developing transformation plans for 2024 and beyond. These include expanding our flight network and increasing cargo capacity with two additional A330-300P2Fs for which we have already secured slots with EFW. Market demand and trends for short distance as well as the opportunity for highest fuel efficiency and lower cost per tones have led us to the decision to complement our fleet with A321P2F in 2023 and 2024."
Gearing up for Miami in November
With exactly two months to go to the transport logistic Americas & air cargo forum trade show and conference being held at the Miami Beach Convention Center from 08-10NOV22, the organizers report that visitor registration numbers have already exceeded expectations, and state that almost two thirds of registrants are in hold first and second management level positions. Forecasting around 5,000 attendees and 200 exhibitors, the release also names five large sponsors which “make the accompanying conference program possible” and which allows complimentary access for visitors: FedEx, Rhenus, ACL Airshop, UPS, Miami Airport. The first two are sponsoring a full day each, the latter three are supporting individual sessions.
As one of the sponsors, Steve Townes, CEO at ACL Airshop, had this to say about the event: “Education is key and the logistics event in Miami is a unique opportunity. Over all three days, attendees will be able to gain essential knowledge for our future and discuss with top-notch speakers on-site. We are pleased to help facilitate this world-class program.”
Three core topics are on the three-day agenda: digitization, sustainability, and resilience, and these will be addressed by high-ranking industry experts and science, business, and media partners in a series of presentations and workshops. “People, trends, and innovations are the focus of the sessions,” according to the release. “From career opportunities in air freight and logistics, to supply chains that save lives, presentations show what people in the industry are accomplishing. Across all modes of transport, contributions from partners such as BVL -The Global Supply Chain Network, Your German Logistics, and the news platform Cargo Forwarder Global will highlight various trends in global logistics chains,” the release gives us a special mention, too, as it outlines people and trends. Fraunhofer and the Beacon Council will be covering the digitization aspects with reports on Frankfurt’s “test field air cargo”, and a look at startups in the Florida technology region. TIACA will take the audience through various pioneering sustainability initiatives “from Net Zero to Blue Sky”. Attendees can also look forward to the TIACA Sustainability Awards, following presentations by short-listed entrants, as well as the 2022 Hall of Fame Inductee.
Automated aircraft will be populating African skies
Sanjeev Gadhia, Founder and CEO of Kenya-based airline, Astral Aviation, explained: “We are preparing for explosive growth in regional trade and the need to transport significantly more air cargo across Africa. Automation will enable us to serve more routes. We look forward to working with Reliable to safely transport larger payloads over longer distances at lower cost with remotely operated aircraft.” On 09SEP22, Astral Aviation and the California/USA-based autonomous aircraft systems developer, Reliable Robotics, announced their strategic collaboration. They aim to deploy automated aircraft across sub-Saharan Africa, to improve air cargo connectivitiy, and at same time, increase aviation safety. The two companies will together develop operational, regulatory, and business plans in preparation of the launch of automated aircraft operations in a region that is currently restricted in its economic and trade growth because of poor infrastructure, limited connections, and long transport times. “Sub-Saharan Africa's gross domestic product (GDP) is growing at 4%”, the release reveals. “The widespread adoption of mobile technologies has enabled e-commerce to leapfrog legacy banking, communications, and retail infrastructure, and is expected to grow to half a billion users by 2025. Expanding the air cargo network is critical to GDP and e-commerce growth in a continent with landlocked countries, busy ports, poor road networks, sparse transportation infrastructure, and an average distance between major cities of 4,100 kilometers.”
Robert Rose, Co-founder and CEO, Reliable Robotics, outlines: “The African aviation sector is primed for change and automated aircraft can be part of the solution to the market's constraints. Astral has deep experience operating in Africa, and we share a vision for how automation and remotely piloted aircraft can help the region reach its economic potential with safer, more flexible and cost-efficient air transport.” Talk is of the automation system Reliable Robotics developed for the Cessna 208 Caravan, which is currently pending certification by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), to enable commercial cargo operations in the United States. Around 350 Cessna Caravans already fly across Africa, and therefore the collaboration with Astral Aviation will enable international expansion on the continent once the operating system is certified. The two companies are now working on “a roadmap to expand automated air cargo solutions that will provide significant economic and societal benefits for Africa”.
Temperature-controlled cake to celebrate 20 years of CCA
2002 seems like only yesterday, and yet two decades later and another two in the year’s number sees the CCA celebrating its 20th anniversary. It had been established to encourage collaboration in the temperature-controlled supply chain industry and thus reduce food loss and waste in the perishables sector, as well as benefit the pharma community. “Having had the honor of kicking off the creation of the association at TIACA's Bilbao Air Cargo Forum [in 2002], I am delighted to wish the Cool Chain Association a very Happy 20th Anniversary,” Ram Menen, one of the founders of the CCA, announced. “It has been a real pleasure to watch this association bloom and go from strength to strength and I wish them continued success in the years to come.” Cake which had been carefully protected from the heat in Athens, arrived in the foyer of the Grand Hyatt where the CCA conference was taking place, just after lunch on 07SEP22, for a ceremonial cutting and photo shoot.
Not just cake, but also a Memorandum of Understanding was signed by both the CCA and the South African Perishable Products Export Control Board (PPECB), as they agreed to collaborate on perishables airfreight research initiatives into perishable exports by air from South Africa, as part of an ongoing drive to help improve the temperature-controlled supply chain. Vijan Chetty, Board Member, CCA, and General Manager, PPECB, stated: “The primary aim of the research is to identify gaps in the airfreight value chain and discuss possible mitigation measures with CCA and the airfreight industry at large. The aim is to strengthen standards and educate the role players in the airfreight industry.”
Stavros Evangelakakis, Chairman, CCA, and Head of Global Healthcare, Cargolux Airlines, said: “CCA is in a unique position to act as a neutral platform for all sectors in the temperature-controlled supply chain to collaborate on tangible initiatives. Our community is celebrating its 20th anniversary at a time when it is more vital than ever to come together to make a difference. We are proud that our members continue to do just that and are driving new ideas that will have a lasting legacy.” The CCA recently set up a Technical Committee to steer various projects to improve the cool supply chain, such as a Risk Management project and the trial of a new perishables label. “CCA has been steadily growing its membership over the last few months and is planning a new perishables conference for next year,” the release promises.
ECS Group offers to do time-consuming back-office tasks
ECS Group recently promoted another of its ten New Abilities within ECS Group's Augmented GSA concept. Going by the brand name of Quality Stars, the company offers a “unique data processing service” which is carried out by two expert teams: one focused on AWB verification, and the other on Customs reporting tasks. The service is unique because no other GSA provides AWB processing and Customs reporting as an external service in the three years that ECS Group has been carrying out this dedicated data administration for a number of its airline customers across 8 countries and differing time zones. The outsourcing which can be completed in a matter of weeks (on average, the process and market knowledge transfer to the Quality Stars teams, usually happens within 1 month after contract signature), enables the airline to focus on value-adding tasks, thus deploying its resources more efficiently. “Time and effort are required to verify, capture, and process AWB data, or send information to the Customs authorities; time and resources that could be used to focus on sales and customer interaction,” the release points out.
“QualityStars follows the clock with shifts planned in accordance with the relevant time zones. It acts as an extended arm of each airline, working directly in the relevant airline's system, and following its individual service agreement. QualityStars reviews the root causes for these clarifications and derives specific action plans to optimize processes at every stage. Customers not only benefit from cost and time savings, but also by improved overall quality and data capture processes.” Dimitri Arnaudin, Manager Director of QualityStars, explained that Quality Stars also monitor “the airline's relevant KPIs, such as the number of customer claims or CASS corrections. We go beyond what is expected, and meticulously follow-up on clarification requests where we are obliged to contact the airline's commercial team to chase up on missing information.”
Adrien Thominet, Executive Chairman of ECS Group, said: “Our QualityStars service allows our airline customers to outsource specific back-office process steps in all confidence. At the same time, they benefit from a more flexible cost structure, and free up their own resources to focus on other core commercial and operational activities.”
SASI appoints Vice President Airport Practices
The group of independent advisors to the aviation industry, SASI World, have expanded their expert team. SASI World’s President and CEO, Stan Wraight, announced at the ACHL last week, that Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta Airport’s ex Airline Business Development Executive, Elliott Paige had been appointed as the company’s Vice President Airport Practices. Stan Wraight explained: “With over 25 years in trade facilitation, and eight years in air service development, Elliott Paige recently left the world’s busiest airport, Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta, as their head of passenger and cargo air service development. While in Atlanta Airport, he recruited numerous cargo and passenger airlines, facilitated the construction and leasing of new on-airport warehouses, introduced Atlanta to the cargo community system, and built a reputation of trust with business partners in and around the airport.” Prior to this, Elliott Paige had carried out various diplomatic and international trade roles on behalf of the World Trade Organization (WTO). As VP Airport Practices, his new responsibilities include airport and stakeholder collaboration and development for greater logistics efficiency, customer satisfaction, and profitability, implementing cargo community systems and airport-to-airport agreements on digital logistics corridors, leadership advisory services on air service development and integrating cargo strategy with regional trade policy, and aviation economics and policies. “Elliott is an internationally recognized subject matter expert and thought leader on airport cargo development that leads to improved trade,” Stan Wraight continued, listing the “World Trade Organization, UN-International Trade Center, US National Academies of Science, Airport Cooperative Research Program (ACRP)” as Elliot’s collaboration partners, and outlining focus points such as the “Digital Twinning of Airports, Airport Incubators, Modernizing Airport Cargo Operations, Community Benefits of Air Service Development”.
Elliott Paige said of his new position: “I have been involved in many aspects of trade promotion in my career, from customs and border charges to trade policy and market penetration to logistics and supply chain management. I am delighted to join SASI World’s global management team as part of their expanding assortment of services to promote synergies among multimodal logistics strategies. Implementation is key to promoting trade that leads to prosperity for the stakeholders and, ultimately, their consumers. Via SASI World, I can bring key innovations to ports globally, creating greater efficiencies and long-term growth for all stakeholders. I am excited to develop profitable partnerships with SASI World clients as part of this team.”
Olivier Bijaoui to advise AGI on European expansion
With almost 40 years in the business of freight, and the legacy of having grown SFS, the small cargo handling company he founded in 1984, to become the world’s leading global cargo operator now known as World Freight Services (WFS), Olivier Bijaoui demonstrates invaluable expertise. Since stepping down as WFS’s CEO in the summer of 2016, he co-founded IAS Handling in Spain in 2017, together with two former WFS colleagues, which provides cargo handling services in Barcelona and Madrid. The following year, he invested in France Cargo Handling based in Charles-de-Gaulle Airport, Paris, which went on to assume Swissport Cargo’s French handling operations. Miami-based Alliance Ground International (AGI) has therefore been keen to gain Bijaoui as its advisor as it focuses on a broader expansion strategy, and announced on 05SEP22, that an agreement had been reached. Bijaoui will be advising the 15-strong AGI management team as it enters the next phase of its expansion strategy which aims to add passenger and cargo ground handling operations outside North America.
Having acquired the North American ground handling companies: Airport Terminal Services (ATS), Total Airport Services (TAS), and MIC Cargo (Maestro), within the past 10 months, and having invested significantly in staff, technology, and new facilities at Chicago and Newark airports, AGI, is now one of the largest cargo and freighter ground handlers in North America. It is currently looking to trademark itself as “The Cargo People”, and is now turning its interest to building similar success in Europe – home to a few cargo-people giants, itself.
Jared Azcuy, Chief Executive Officer (CEO), AGI, enthused: “This is an exciting development for us to fulfil our desire to expand our service offerings beyond North America. Olivier's expansive experience in the international airport services market will be invaluable to our growth trajectory.”
Olivier Bijaoui commented: “AGI's investment and growth in North America has been very impressive and I look forward to help mirror its success in Europe and beyond.”
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