Dronamics is the first designated Cargo Drone Airline
Each milestone step is another shift in the direction of a “new normal” that could or should one day see cargo drones joining the regular aviation scene. And for that, flying objects require identifiers. Dronamics has just been accorded IATA and ICAO designators, breaking the ground as the world’s first cargo drone airline to join the international airlines family. Already, it is the first cargo drone airline to have been licensed to operate in Europe. Its IATA designator code is now ‘OY’, and its accounting prefix is ‘651’. As the press release points out: “IATA codes play a critical role in the aviation industry, serving as essential identifiers for airlines, their destinations, and cargo documents. These codes enable Dronamics to be officially recognized as an airline entity, supporting commercial interline agreements with other IATA carriers, facilitating connections with freight forwarders, and enabling the publication of flight schedules through OAG, the world's leading provider of digital flight information.” Hence whether scheduled or charter flights, Dronamics flights numbers will be recognized by the OY-prefix, and AWBs will show 651.
Any tower communication will include the ICAO telephony call sign, “Black Swan”, and the 3-letter airline designator "DXE". “These ICAO codes are widely utilized by pilots and air traffic controllers worldwide, playing a crucial role in flight planning, communication with air traffic control, and the dissemination of vital information through NOTAMs (Notice to Air Missions).”
Svilen Rangelov, Co-Founder and CEO of Dronamics, said: “Becoming the first cargo drone airline with both IATA and ICAO designator codes is a testament to Dronamics' pioneering spirit and our vision for faster, cheaper, and greener air cargo for everyone, everywhere. This recognition by the leading aviation community reinforces our position on the international aviation map.”
USD 30 million raised in B Series funding: Raft
CargoForwarder Global recently ran a 2-part interview on Raft (part 1 and 2), which details the company’s concept of AI and intelligent logistics. Looks like Part 3 of the company story is about to be written, given that Raft successfully raised USD 30 million in a recent Series B Funding round. The funding round was led by global VC investor Eight Roads with participation from existing investors Bessemer Venture Partners, Episode 1, and Dynamo Ventures, as well as Moguntia Capital. The investment sum will go towards further AI logistics research and development, deployment of Raft's core automation products, and improving data collaboration and visibility, to the technological benefit of freight forwarders and customs brokers. Raft currently employs more than 95 staff in the UK, India, and the US, and will be expanding its product, engineering, and commercial teams over the next year.
James Coombes, CEO and Co-Founder, said: “We see AI as an enabling force for a new way of working in logistics. AI can help make sense out of complex and sometimes chaotic human processes, allowing them to be completely digital for the first time as well as more efficient and collaborative. Our services are more relevant than ever before and we're excited to build on the foundation of almost 6 years of data and expertise in deploying cutting-edge AI to the logistics industry.”
Michael Treskow, Partner at Eight Roads, said: “We are excited to partner with Raft on their path to help the global logistics industry scale through automation and data-driven decision making. The team has leveraged a combination of industry expertise and cutting-edge AI to build a product that delivers immediate value to its customers. There are many more concrete pain-points Raft can solve for the industry, and we look forward to the team executing on their vision.”
Andy Richardson, Global CIO at global logistics provider and Raft customer, EMO Trans, commented: “Raft was the right partner that matched our global vision and ambition. Their best-in-class automation platform shone in comparison to all the other options we looked at. Their clear AI leadership, breadth of product, and deep TMS integrations has laid a clear path to automate the execution of our entire shipment lifecycle—making the lives of our operators easier, and our customer service better.”
IATA and Aviation Impact Accelerator collab for net-zero CO2
The International Air Transport Association (IATA) and the Aviation Impact Accelerator (AIA) have entered into an international industry-academia partnership to bring speed into aviation industry's journey net-zero CO2 emissions, targeted for 2050. Based at the UK’s University of Cambridge, they will determine the financial costs involved in reaching net-zero CO2, and, building on existing materials, will support the development of scenario-based tools for airlines to look into what strategies will best serve those airlines in achieving their decarbonization goals. The collaboration, which is intended to be long-term, expanding to more areas in future, has to goals of enabling the industry to make better-informed decisions and accelerating the journey to more sustainable aviation. “AIA is an international group of experts drawing on a broad range of expertise convened by the University of Cambridge,” the release explains. “Over the last three years, a world class network of experts has been assembled and the underlying system modelling capability developed.” IATA’s release only picks out IATA's Recommended Practice Per-Passenger CO2 Calculation Methodology, as one area of joint collaboration, but one would hope that cargo is also in the picture when it alludes to the “other areas of work” that the two associations will focus on, so that clarity on accurate carbon footprint calculations takes the entire aviation industry picture into account.
Professor Rob Miller, AIA Lead and Director of the Whittle Laboratory at the University of Cambridge, announced: “We are excited to launch this new collaboration between AIA and IATA, investigating realistic pathways for aviation's transition to net zero emissions by 2050. IATA has a strong track record of fostering cooperation between airlines and other stakeholders and driving change in the sector. We believe that by bringing this together with AIA's unique modelling capability we have an opportunity to unlock change.”
Marie Owens Thomsen, IATA's Senior Vice President Sustainability and Chief Economist, commented: “We are delighted to join forces with the Aviation Impact Accelerator with a view to enhance our understanding of the many potential pathways to achieve air transport's sustainable future. The development of different technological pathways will have an influence on the long-term outlook of our industry, and our collaboration will notably explore this intersection.”
Air Inuit upgrading its B737 combis
The combination B737 is alive and well over at 1978-founded Air Inuit, based in Nunavik, in the north of Canada’s Quebec. The airline was set to serve and preserve Inuit culture and trade across Nunavik's 14 coastal villages, and boasts a fleet of 30 aircraft – a mix of De Havillands, Beechcraft King Air, and B737s. “Air Inuit has the aircraft you need to get you and your cargo anywhere safely. Our Boeing 737 and Dash-8 can be configured to accommodate any kind of passenger or cargo transportation,” the company website promises. It is its aging Boeing 737-200 aircraft that are now due to be replaced over the course of the next 24 months by three Boeing Next-Generation 737-800s. The move will lead to an almost 40% reduction in fuel emissions per flight and the purchase order is flagged as a “milestone for the airline,” according to its press release. All three B737-800 aircraft will be fitted with main deck cargo doors and customized according to “Air Inuit’s innovative combi configuration solution to provide safe and comfortable passenger service and reliable freight delivery simultaneously”. The release, however, also points out that “this fleet modernization project and the growth of the region will require important governmental investments to upgrade Nunavik’s airstrips. Discussions are currently underway with stakeholders to ensure this vision is developed in accordance with the priorities of community members.”
Christian Busch, President and CEO of Air Inuit, explained: “The addition of these aircraft to our fleet enhances our capacity to efficiently transport passengers and deliver essential cargo to the communities we serve. Acquiring these modern aircraft also supports our airline’s goal of reducing carbon emissions and doing our part in the fight against climate change.”
Noah Tayara, Executive Chairman of Air Inuit, said: “We can all be proud of this vital service which is celebrating 45 years of operation in 2023. Once again, Air Inuit is demonstrating leadership as it grows and adapts to the changing needs of the communities it serves.”
Pita Aatami, President of Makivik Corporation, added: “The modernization of Air Inuit’s fleet is part of a broader initiative to fulfil its mission as an instrument of economic and social development which is wholly owned by the Nunavik people. This is made possible thanks to important investments by the Inuit of Nunavik.”
Qatar Airways Cargo’s GHA is certified Smart
Qatar Aviation Services (QAS) Cargo, which provides ground handling services to Qatar Airways Cargo, recently became the first Middle Eastern GHA to receive IATA's Smart Facility Operational Capacity Certification. The Smart Facility Operational Capacity Certification (SFOC) certification was awarded in JUN23. “This achievement complements the recent IATA Centre of Excellence for Independent Validators (CEIV Fresh) certification in June 2023,” the press release states. The certificate joins the GHA and airline’s range of accolades: both Qatar Airways Cargo and QAS Cargo have both been IATA CEIV Pharma, IATA CEIV Fresh, IATA CEIV Live Animals, and IATA CEIV Lithium Battery certified. As with any IATA certificate, it follows a strict audit. In this case, the audit was carried out in APR23, examining the cargo handling infrastructure, equipment and implementation of procedures at the Cargo Terminal Complex. Further, the audit team validated the operational procedures of QAS Cargo in compliance with the IATA Cargo Handling Manual, Dangerous Goods Regulations, Unit Load Device Regulations, Temperature Control Regulations, Live Animals Regulations, and Perishable Cargo Regulations.
Guillaume Halleux, Chief Officer Cargo at Qatar Airways Cargo, said: “Our growth to becoming the world's leading air cargo carrier today has been no easy achievement. Our teams have one goal in mind – customer experience. It is this goal combined with our Next Generation and VISION 2027 strategy through which we have implemented quality procedures in every area of our business. The certification of our hub in Doha reflects the high standards in place to ensure all types of cargo are handled seamlessly and securely, in compliance to all the IATA regulations.”
Deepak Balakrishnan, Vice President QAS Cargo, stated: “We are proud of our state-of-the-art handling facility, the services implemented, our robust and defined procedures as well as our teams who dedicatedly ensure that cargo is handled extremely well, no matter the type of cargo. IATA's Smart Facility Operational Capacity Certification is testament to the hard work and dedication by both Qatar Airways Cargo and QAS Cargo teams.”
Brendan Sullivan, IATA's Global Head of Cargo, summarized: “Customers of organizations attaining Smart Facility Operational Capacity Certification (SFOC), recognize it as a key differentiator, highlighting the additional efforts taken to improve cargo operations, safety, service quality and enhance the customer experience. We congratulate Qatar Aviation Services (QAS) on achieving SFOC certification. Cargo operations is the pivot of the air cargo supply chain, and with SFOC, QAS drive a safe, efficient and customer-focused operations.”
Cathay Pacific’s first overseas SAF refuel
Hong Kong’s Cathay Pacific recently celebrated a company first: four of its commercial cargo flights received blended cooking oil-based SAF as they refueled at Singapore’s Changi Airport. An important milestone in the company’s decarbonization strategy. It has set itself the goal of using Sustainable Aviation Fuel (SAF) for 10% of its total fuel use by 2030. The flights in question were the CX2076 to Hong Kong on 07JUN23, 14JUN23 and 28JUN23, as well as the CX2074 to Penang on 30JUN23. They had already flown in on blended SAF from Hong Kong International Airport. The SAF was supplied by ExxonMobil Asia Pacific Pte Ltd. It can reduce GHG emissions by nearly 90% compared to conventional jet fuel. Cathay Pacific launched its Cathay Pacific Corporate SAF Program in 2022 – the first of the Asian airlines to do so, and with eight corporates as launch customers.
Cathay Group Chief Executive Officer, Ronald Lam, underlined: “This is an important milestone for Cathay Pacific and our ambition to achieve net-zero carbon emissions by 2050. As an international airline, we have a leading role to play in helping the aviation industry to decarbonize and we are constantly exploring solutions and advocating for extensive collaboration with many stakeholders to combat climate change. We firmly believe that SAF will be the primary lever by which the aviation industry achieves net-zero carbon emissions. By expanding the uplift of blended SAF onto selected commercial flights at Changi Airport as well as our home hub, we hope to strengthen SAF awareness across the Asia Pacific region and send a strong signal to the supply chain that there is firm demand for SAF from airlines.”
Ong Shwu Hoon, Asia Pacific Fuels Vice President, ExxonMobil Asia Pacific Pte Ltd, stated: “We are pleased to collaborate with Cathay Pacific for the successful deliveries of certified SAF in Singapore. ExxonMobil remains focused on growing our lower GHG emission fuels business to support the decarbonization goals of the aviation industry, leveraging our operational and logistical capabilities.”
13% headcount cut at Freightos
Freightos published cost-cutting plans last week, as it adjusts to the ongoing weak market, currently. Among the various measures designed to enhance operational efficiency (improving its Adjusted annual EBITDA by around USD 5.6 million) and reach break-even on existing funds, Freightos announced that 50 staff (13% of its employee base) will be made redundant. An unexpected move in the largest, leading logistics booking platform.
Zvi Schreiber, CEO of Freightos, commented: “Despite challenging market conditions, our successful push for industry adoption of digitization has resulted in strong continued growth in total transactions and growing revenue on our Freightos platform. However, given the persistently weak market conditions, we are refining our priorities to deliver on our plan to reach profitability with the capital already raised. This includes efficiency measures that should keep us on the path to long-term, sustainable growth. Unfortunately, these measures also include making the difficult decision to reduce headcount by approximately 50 employees, or about 13% of the team. Despite the tough decision to part with teammates, I am confident that these changes will position Freightos for sustainable success in the years ahead, through cyclical downturns and upturns, as we continue to digitize global freight procurement for thousands of carriers, freight forwarders, and importers/exporters globally.”
Ran Shalev, CFO of Freightos, explained: “We believe that this plan will enable us to reach positive free cash flow on existing cash reserves as planned, despite a tougher market. As a result of the changes, we are reducing our operating loss and raising our FY 2023 Adjusted EBITDA outlook on lower forecasted revenue, remaining on track to build and scale Freightos as a profitable, sustainable company. This plan allows for continued rapid and capital-efficient growth of our Platform business for carriers, freight forwarders and enterprise importers/exporters, as well as continued growth of our profitable Solutions business. We expect more modest growth in the small or midsize importer/exporter segment, where growth is more dependent on capital intensive activity. Becoming a leaner, more efficient organization, combined with continued investment in our key growth drivers, should set us up for continued success for many years to come.”
Teleport’s first A321F is ready to rock Southeast Asia
A water welcome at Kuala Lumpur earlier in the week greeted Asian carrier, Teleport’s first A321 freighter. This addition to the airline’s fleet underlines its position as market leader (in terms of most air cargo volume by tonnage) across Southeast Asia – a position it has skyrocketed to in the 5 years since its founded, but particularly in the last two years. The welcome ceremony was attended by His Majesty Seri Paduka Baginda The Yang Di-Pertuan Agong Al-Sultan Abdullah Ri’ayatuddin Al-Mustafa Billah Shah Ibni Almarhum Sultan Haji Ahmad Shah Al-Musta’in Billah. Two further A321Fs will be delivered in Q4/23 and Q1/24 respectively, and will operate out of one of Teleport’s hubs: Kuala Lumpur, Bangkok, Jakarta, or Manila.
Pete Chareonwongsak, Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Teleport, announced: “Today marks the arrival of the number one air logistics company in Southeast Asia. From a scrappy startup with humble beginnings in Malaysia, each day  Teleporters across seven countries work tirelessly to deliver more goods by air than anyone else in Southeast Asia. […] we have scaled a company that is profitable and on track to generate US$200M in annual revenues - it is fitting to celebrate these milestones on the same day as the arrival of the first of three A321Fs this year. […] with the first A321F based out of Kuala Lumpur, it is the perfect hub as its 5-hour flight range gives it access to over 80 destinations across Southeast Asia and 80 more key cities in Asia Pacific.”
Tony Fernandes, CEO of Capital A Berhad, the investment holding company of Teleport, said: “My sincere congratulations to Pete and his team at Teleport for their induction of the first A321F into their fleet. This is not only a testament to their hard work and dedication in the ever-challenging logistics industry, but a win for all of us at Capital A as it validates our diversification and growth strategy to be a value driven, low-cost, high-quality aviation and travel group. Our confidence in Teleport's future grows stronger as we foster collaborations with other businesses under Capital A to not only position Teleport as a profitable and affordable player in the air logistics industry but also establish it as a reliable delivery partner for Capital A entities, such as the Superapp. Together, we are poised to unlock remarkable opportunities and deliver exceptional value to our customers.”
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