Silk Way West and Nippon Express sign MoU
Azerbaijan’s Silk Way West Airlines – and “the largest cargo airline in the Caspian Sea region” - has signed an Air Cargo Memorandum of Understanding with the Japanese freight forwarding specialist, Nippon Express Holdings. The agreement will see both companies profit from more flexible service offers, greater Japanese and international reach, and enhanced customer solutions. Silk Way West Airlines connects Baku with two Japanese airports: it has served Kansai International Airport, Osaka, with weekly flights since 2018, and began operating regular flights to Narita International Airport, Tokyo, Japan’s most important air cargo gateway, in 2021. Nippon Express and Japanese customers will benefit from Silk Way West Airlines’ air cargo network, which the airline aims to continuously improve.
Wolfgang Meier, President of Silk Way West Airlines, said: “Last year we celebrated the 30th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between Japan and the Republic of Azerbaijan. We are delighted and honored with the signing of this memorandum, which will contribute to the further strengthening and development of economic relations between the two countries. Moreover, the conditions of this memorandum align perfectly with the growth strategy we are pursuing to increase our footprint in Japan, and we are sure that it will be beneficial for both companies.”
HAECO delivers first A321-200PCF
Estonian aircraft lessor, Magnetic Leasing has had the A321-200 it purchased in 2020, redelivered as a passenger-converted freighter. Registration ES-MAG flew in Vietnam Airlines’ fleet from 2004 onwards. It may be headed to SmartLynx Malta, soon. Either way, it is a milestone achievement for the Chinese MRO provider, HAECO Xiamen, since this is the first time the company has completed and redelivered an Airbus A321-200PCF freighter conversion with Supplemental Type Certificate (‘STC”) partner, 321 Precision Conversions, LLC (“Precision”). HAECO Xiamen combines full freighter conversions with heavy maintenance checks and other modifications, to ensure minimum ground-time. According to the press release, “Its on-site quality assurance teams prepare daily reports as part of a comprehensive quality control process to ensure that work is conducted to the highest standards.” The MRO became and authorized Precision Conversion Center in 2010, was the world’s first MRO to conduct a Boeing 747-400BCF conversion, and has since completed over 70 conversions – among them: Boeing 747-400, 737-300, 737-400, 737-800, 757-200, and Airbus A321-200 aircraft types.
Kevin Guan, Chief Executive Officer of HAECO Xiamen, stated: “HAECO Xiamen started collaboration with Precision on the Boeing 757-200PCF conversion in 2010. We have [had a] good cooperative relationship with Precision in the past 12 years, and we are delighted to extend this collaboration to A321-200PCF conversion. HAECO Xiamen is busy preparing to convert one Boeing 757-200PCF conversion line to A321-200PCF in the middle of the year, and we look forward introducing multiple A321 conversion lines here, then.”
Gary Warner, President of 321 Precision Conversions, LLC, added, “Our long-term relationship with HAECO Xiamen has proven them to be a consistent performer on the Boeing 757-200PCF program and now on the A321-200PCF. Their experienced and professional team has done a remarkable job on the first A321-200PCF conversion in China. We look forward to many more successful redeliveries.”
Paris B777F premiere for Zongteng Group
Jack Peng, Senior Vice President Zongteng Group and General Manager YunExpress, Xiaoyang Jiang, General Manager YunExpress France, and a number of representatives from Groupe ADP, Central Airlines, Clear Express, Worldwide Flight Services, and French customs, all met in Paris Charles De Gaulle International Airport on 16JAN23, to witness and welcome Zongteng Group’s first Boeing 777F. The aircraft bearing its unique, colorful livery, landed at 12:40, and was met with a welcome speech and a ribbon-cutting ceremony, officially opening the new Shenzhen-Paris flight route. The connection between China and this key air cargo hub in Europe will facilitate cross-border e-commerce and intra-European network connectivity. “Together with its European partners, Zongteng Group is committed to creating value for the e-commerce express market by forming air-to-ground connections with global air cargo collections, line haul transportation, fulfillment warehouses, and distribution centers in Europe and beyond,” the release reveals.
The Chinese e-commerce logistics operator predicts handling more than 15,000 tons in 2023 on this Shenzhen-Paris route. “The newly launched flight route will support Zongteng Group’s customers with highly reliable e-commerce logistics services and optimized lead times,” the release states, going on to announce the delivery of a second B777F in Q3 2023, which will increase the frequencies to 6-8 direct flights per week from Shenzhen to Paris. Hence, the expectation is that the total annual air cargo capacity will increase to 28,000 tons in 2024.
Jack Peng, Senior Vice President Zongteng Group and General Manager YunExpress, commented: “We were honored to celebrate this special day with our partners. The Boeing freighter significantly extends our line-haul transportation capabilities and strengthens end-to-end supply chain infrastructure, so the launch of this flight route is a milestone. Zongteng Group looks forward to realizing the immense potential of Sino-European cross-border trade, in collaboration with our European partners. We strive to build on our strategic investment in self-owned freighters and logistics network, and identify further opportunities to maximize the capabilities of the air freight supply chain.”
Swissport gets an MBA – as in the airport code…
“The services offered in Mombasa include passenger services and ramp handling, with the potential to expand to freighter handling. Swissport operates a large air cargo center at Nairobi International (NBO),” the release states. So, no cargo handling at Kenya’s second largest airport, Mombasa (MBA) yet, but nevertheless a welcome addition to Swissport’s growing African network. Mombasa’s Moi International Airport (MBA) is the ground handler’s 31st African Airport, and its second in Kenya, where it has been active since in Nairobi since 1997. Swissport began operations at Mombasa at the end of DEC22, kicking off with the arrival of a Flightlink Aviation flight from Zanzibar Island.
Racheal Ndegwa, Managing Director of Swissport International in Kenya, commented: “We are thrilled to see Swissport expand from Nairobi to Mombasa’s Moi International Airport. Our teams are well trained and can build on extensive experience from the Nairobi operation. Mombasa was a strategic and natural next step.”
Dirk Goovaerts, Managing Director for Continental Europe, Middle East & Africa, and Global Cargo Chair, added: “Africa is a very important region for Swissport. We are intensifying our efforts to extend the network for our airline customers, both in countries where we already have a presence and at new airports,” adds. “Combining our global expertise with the knowledge and experience of our local teams, we are able to offer best-in-class and reliable aviation ground services for our airline customers in our growing network of airports around the world.”
Best in class was confirmed in NOV22, when Swissport Kenya was named Best in Cargo Warehousing and Best in Ground Handling at the 2022 Aviation Business Excellence Awards (ABEA) in Nairobi. Its operations at Jomo Kenyatta International Airport over the past 25 years, include specialized pharma and fresh handling in its state-of-the-art warehouse and Swissport Pharma Center. “Swissport Kenya also offers Centralized Load Control and Cargo Services for a growing number of international airlines. Nairobi is home to one of only two major Load Control Centers Swissport proudly operates,” the release states. It will be interesting to see how soon cargo is handled in MBA.
time:matters and sustainability does, too
50% less CO2 emissions by 2025 is time:matters’ ambitious goal. After all, 2025 is now just two years away. Yet, the company, which has now changed its claim to “time:matters – Sustainable High-Performance Logistics”, has been working towards a greener impact for quite some time. It is ISO 14001 certified, has shifted to an electric fleet, already offset 97% of its own emissions in 2022, added a 3% share of SAF in the total fuel volume, and hence could boast 100% carbon-neutral operations last year. The focus for this year is on SAF, and from this month on, time:matters is investing in the use of 100% SAF for all of its Sameday Air and On Board Courier transports, including Stem Cell transports. “The primary aim is to avoid transport-related emissions where possible and otherwise significantly reduce them using sustainable aviation fuel (SAF) by up to 50% by 2025. In addition, all other carbon emissions will be fully offset,” the release adds. time:matters is entirely transparent about its carbon footprint, providing detailed emissions information on its online booking platform and in customer reports. These are calculated based on the most stringent international standards, such as the GHG Protocol and GLEC Framework.
Alexander Kohnen, CEO of time:matters, stated: “There's no alternative to sustainable logistics solutions. As a logistics company, we're contributing to climate change. At the same time, we consider the provision of time-critical transports a matter of life and death in some circumstances. That's why we're pursuing a holistic approach with our strategy, encompassing all transports but also every other operational area. Our focus is on three core activities: we will avoid potential emissions wherever possible, reduce current emission levels, and offset unavoidable emissions. At the same time, we're inviting our customers to act sustainably. In this way, we want to play our part in ensuring that our planet remains a viable home for ourselves and future generations.”
Challenge Airlines say “Merhaba, Istanbul!”
In just a few days from now, on 25JAN23, Challenge Airlines BE will lift off from Istanbul Airport in Türkiye for the first time, carrying a typical Turkish export load of garments, fabrics, and automotive parts - all from key international customers. This “historic, inaugural Challenge Airlines flight” kicks off its first scheduled operations out of Istanbul Airport, linking Türkiye to Liège in Belgium, and from there to destinations across Europe, as well as to the U.S. and Far East. On Days 3 and 7, a Boeing 747F will take off, offering the Turkish market a weekly uplift of 240 tons.
Or Zak, Commercial Vice President of Challenge Group, explained: “As the world's 29th largest exporter with one in two of its exports heading to Europe, Türkiye is a significant contributor to global trade, and Challenge Group, with our established Liège hub at heart of Europe, is a perfect business fit. Some 3 million metric tons are handled at Turkish airports each year. Istanbul, in particular, is deservedly making its way up the international cargo airports ranking ladder, and has long been of strategic interest to us. The airport is a fitting pioneer for our planned Group expansion on the east side of the globe. Merhaba, Istanbul, and here's to a long and successful service!".
Istanbul city also happens to be host to the World Cargo Symposium on 25-27APR23, where Challenge Group will also be attending, willing to discuss further network enhancements. “Challenge Group is always open to growing and exploring new markets to enhance the value proposition offered to its customers,” the release promises.
A year of growth for Global GSA Group
Ismail Durmaz, CEO and founder of Amsterdam-headquartered Global GSA Group, active in 46 countries, is more than content with the company’s results in 2022: With 12 new contracts, 35 new employees, and a 15% growth compared to the previous year, Global GSA Group even exceeded its own forecast. “I am very grateful to the Global GSA Group team for its highly professional approach, amazing agility, and strong commitment to the company. The experience we have acquired during the pandemic, combined with our expertise, has allowed us to embrace all the challenges we encountered, forge long-lasting relationships with our customers and generate growth,” is CEO, Ismail Durmaz’s reflection. He puts the company’s success down both to its faithful customer base, of which many have been around since Global GSA Group began in 1995, and the dedication of its staff.
Another factor is the company’s investment in technology and digitization, which it sees as essential to ensuring the flexibility to cope with changing situations. Alongside cutting-edge digital booking, capacity, and revenue optimization solutions, Global GSA Group also makes a point of recruiting specialized talents to ensure that its digital tools are used by those who have the skills to match. “Enhancing its presence worldwide through the creation of new companies and the acquisition of existing ones, particularly in the strategic Asian region, will also be an asset,” the release states, outlining the company’s future plans.
Ismail Durmaz’ outlook on 2023 is cautious, since demand in the industry has dropped in recent months: “Our unfailing reliability is what has made us who we are today, and it will definitely last in the future. It is very hard to predict long-term market trends. However, with the market shifting to pre-covid rates and demands, our primary strategy is to protect our carriers market position and revenue. As always, we strive to advise and steer our airline partners thanks to our thorough understanding of the local markets and by continuing to add more digital enhancements to our operations. In any case, Global GSA Group is determined to win new market shares and has ensured it is fully equipped to do so, both in terms of technological and human resources.”
Ethiopian Airlines goes ecommerce with MailAmerica S.A.
Ethiopian Airlines Group (ET) and private postal operator, MailAmericas (MA), have entered into a partnership to develop competitive cross border ecommerce services within Africa and the Middle East using Addis Ababa as a hub. Ethiopian Airlines brings its extensive air cargo network into the partnership, and MailAmericas will share its market expertise on its Latin America and African networks across 40 countries. Together, the two companies will be in a position to offer competitive services to customers in Africa, Latin America, Europe, Middle East, and other parts of the world. Ethiopian is also in the process of erecting an ecommerce hub in Addis Ababa, capable of handling 150,000 tons per year, and equipped with an Automated Sortation System and Electronic Transport Vehicles (ETV) expressly for the purpose of dealing with small parcels and boxes, but also skids and built-up units (BUPs).
Ethiopian Group CEO Mesfin Tasew, stated: “As the leading air cargo service provider in Africa, we are glad to team up with MailAmericas in launching ecommerce logistics services across Africa and Latin America. So far, we have jointly served more than 20 countries in Africa and Latin America, and we are keen to further expand our reach going forward. The partnership enables us to serve our customers better by leveraging the expertise, bilateral agreements, and private networks of MailAmericas.”
Tomas Miguens, President of MailAmericas, added: “As one of the largest service providers of Cross Border E Commerce into Latin America, we are thrilled to partner up with Ethiopian Airlines Group and expand our horizon into Africa’s territory. We have an extensive knowledge in the region through our subsidiary Mailafrica, which has provided services over 25 years. It’s our pleasure to be able to work side by side with the leading airline in Africa. This will grant every customer a better shopping experience, improving delivery time and traceability of their packages. We will continuously look to strengthen this partnership and develop new businesses to maintain a mutually beneficial relationship with Ethiopian Airlines Group.”
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