New UK cargo airline’s first flight to China
One Air with its one Boeing 747-400 freighter recently celebrated its first flight. On 25JUL23, Chris Hope, One Air’s Chief Operating Officer, said “This is a landmark day for One Air and all our team and partners in the UK, who have worked so hard to prepare for our successful launch since the awarding of our AOC by the UK Civil Aviation Authority. As well as ad hoc charter flights, we are now also commencing a regular flying program from Asia Pacific to Europe with two 747F flights per week. Work is also under way to add a second 747F to our fleet, which we hope will enter service in early Q4. We are delighted to be open for business.”
The inaugural flight saw its B747F being deployed as a full charter on behalf of Chinese customer, Shandong Glory, from Jinan-Shandong in China to London-Heathrow. Shandong Glory’s General Manager, Jacky Wu declared: “We are proud to have shared this milestone with One Air and thank everyone connected with the flight from China for a highly efficient operation and customer experience. It is pleasing to see a new British cargo airline take to the air and we wish One Air great success as it works to establish its place in the global market.”
The touchdown of the first 100-ton payload on British soil signified to the official launch of the country’s new cargo airline as One Air’s CEO, Paul Bennett, confirmed: “It is a proud day for us to operate our first customer flight and marks the start of our strategic development plan to build One Air’s reputation with clients in prime air cargo markets around the world.” By that, he is referring to the airline’s plans to operate regular flights from the UK to Europe, the Middle East, and Asia regions, along with services to China and the U.S. in future. “One Air is the only UK operator of the Boeing 747 with its dry leased B747-400SF,” the press release states, revealing that it employs more than 100 aviation and air cargo specialists at One Air’s headquarters near London Heathrow.
Qatar Airways Cargo offers real-time pricing for online bookings
Working together with AI-powered pricing SaaS provider, PROS Holdings, Inc., Qatar Airways Cargo is now in the position to offer its customers real-time, reliable, and personalized pricing when they make bookings online – whether these are carried out via the airline’s Digital Lounge, or its partner marketplaces (WebCargo, CargoAi, cargo.one), or any host to host integrated connections. “PROS Smart Price Optimization and Management is now live on all online booking channels across its network,” the company states, achieving another milestone in its Next Generation efforts to ensure that Qatar Airways Cargo customers enjoy “an enhanced digital buying experience,” and can immediately book live cargo space against the best available dynamic rate. Since the AI-powered pricing solution takes into account the customer’s habits and requirements, it is in a position to offer personalized rates, leading to much greater positive closure – hence higher revenues.
Florent Bonello, Vice President Cargo Revenue Management at Qatar Airways Cargo, said: “PROS real-time pricing engine provides a highly accurate, scalable pricing capability that directly translates to a reliable and responsive buying experience for our customers. As a next phase of our implementation, we are seamlessly integrating PROS Smart Configure Price Quote within our sales ecosystem, so that we can quickly manage and deliver omnichannel quoting across our spot, contract, and allotment sales.”
Surain Adyanthaya, President, Travel, PROS, stated: “The air cargo market is extremely dynamic, and carriers need to be able to respond quickly and accurately to drive superior customer experiences. We are proud to partner with Qatar Airways Cargo to provide a highly scalable solution, with unparalleled response times, ensuring they can deliver fast, accurate, and reliable offers for each and every customer.”
Menzies Aviation partners Bangalore International Airport
Menzies Aviation recently announced that it has signed a 15-year contract with Bangalore International Airport Limited (BIAL), the operator of Kempegowda International Airport Bengaluru (BLR Airport). Its Indian branch, Menzies Aviation (Bengaluru) Private Limited (MABPL), is thus the new and sole provider of both domestic cargo operations and international cargo services at BLR Airport. The partnership commenced at the end of MAY23. MABPL will handle international exports and imports at an existing on-site cargo facility, of which it plans to extend the existing international annual handling capacity of 210,000 tons by a further 40,000 tons “in a phased manner by the end of this decade,” the release states. It will also become the sole operator at a new domestic cargo facility once completed. Here, too, the facility will initially have a capacity of 250,000 tons of cargo, extendable to 400,000 tons at a later stage. “This significant development of domestic cargo operations will support BIAL’s ambitions to cater for up to 1.6 million tons of cargo annually across its facilities,” it adds.
Menzies Aviation underlines its commitment to India with its latest partnership at one of the countries busiest airports. “Serving multiple airlines and playing a critical role in the development of India’s aviation sector, BLR Airport is strategically located in India and has received industry recognition for its highly efficient cargo operations, emerging as the preferred cargo airport in South India,” the release explains.
Charles Wyley, Executive Vice President Middle East, Africa and Asia, Menzies Aviation, said: “This long-term agreement with BIAL significantly expands our cargo operations at this strategically important transport hub, which represents the gateway to South and Central India. This partnership comes at an exciting time for the development of the Indian aviation market and BIAL continues to invest in its state-of-the-art facilities. We look forward to deploying our operational expertise and developing BLR Airport’s cargo infrastructure as we, together with BIAL, strategically enhance the airport’s position as a thriving center of cargo excellence. Thank you to everyone involved in ensuring a seamless transition.”
Cainiao creates its first footprint in Indonesia
Alibaba Group Holding Limited’s logistics subsidiary, Cainiao Group, has inaugurated its first warehouse on Indonesian soil: Cainiao Cikarang Logistics Park, in Jakarta, Indonesia, is the latest addition to Cainiao’s network of cHubs (the C stands for Cainiao). It is the company’s third hub in Southeast Asia, forming part of the regional warehouse network. Next in line are Thailand and Vietnam.
Cainiao Cikarang Logistics Park is located east of Jakarta, in GIIC Deltamas Cikarang, Bekasi Regency. It spans 320,000 m², including six warehouses of 170,000 m². The facilities were constructed with sustainability in mind, and hence all six warehouses have skylights in their roofs, enabling daytime operations to be carried out without the need for artificial lighting. This means far less energy consumption than in traditionally built facilities. Other initiatives include a natural ventilation system inside the warehouse where ventilation louvers installed on the roof, dissipate indoor heat through the use of air convection. From an accessibility aspect, too, the Park is strategically located near factories to support the local manufacturing industry. Cainiao Cikarang Logistics Park aims to support manufacturers in providing full supply chain capabilities, such as fulfillment and sorting for local deliveries, import and export for B2B and B2C businesses, smart supply chain management, and logistics technology such as IoT, automation and warehouse management systems (WMS) – an offer that looks to match demand, since prior to the Park’ s official opening on 27JUL23, it had already achieved 75% occupancy.
Eric Xu, Vice President, Cainiao Group, commented: “We have witnessed immense potential in Southeast Asian region and have been actively investing to expand our warehouse network in order to cater to the needs of local businesses. We are thrilled to finally announce this new warehouse, our first infrastructural investment in Indonesia and third in the region. Our strong network and expertise in logistics and supply chain capabilities will help our partners and customers in Indonesia accomplish more in less time and boost local and regional trade activities by streamlining workflows and processes across the value chain.”
Saudia Cargo partners with Jan de Rijk Co for Europe
Teddy Zebitz, CEO of Saudia Cargo and Fred Westdijk, CEO of Jan de Rijk Co., came together at Saudia Cargo’s headquarters in Jeddah on 19JUL23, to sign a strategic agreement wherein the European transportation and logistics company, and the cargo airline will combine their expertise and resources to build a European network to provide a solid European service to customer. “Under this agreement, Saudia Cargo will leverage Jan de Rijk's extensive trucking network, which comprises a fleet of specialist vehicles, to bolster its operations and strengthen its presence in Europe,” the press release confirms.
Saudia Cargo speaks of achieving a significant milestone in its growth strategy, with this signing, as it is aiming to access new opportunities and continue strengthening its European operations. Jan de Rijk’s large network and specialist fleet will be tapped to enable Saudia Cargo to deliver seamless end-to-end logistics solutions to its customers.
Teddy Zebitz, CEO of Saudia Cargo, commented: “We are delighted to partner with Jan de Rijk Co. to extend our footprint in Europe and provide enhanced logistics services to our valuable customers. Jan de Rijk's extensive experience and proven track record in the European transportation industry align perfectly with our business growth objectives. Besides, we both share same missions towards sustainability, which is an important issue for the air cargo industry, and air cargo carriers that adopt sustainable practices can help to protect the environment, improve safety, and enhance their brand reputation. Together, we will enhance our offering for innovative and efficient solutions that cater to the evolving needs of the regional and global market.”
Fred Westdijk, CEO of Jan de Rijk Co., stated: “This agreement with Saudia Cargo presents a remarkable opportunity for both organizations. By combining our strengths, we will unlock new avenues for growth and better serve our customers. We look forward to a fruitful partnership and its mutual benefits.”
Challenge Group enjoys ever-growing success at Liège hub
At its modern hub in Liège, 700 staff belonging to Challenge Handling, Challenge Airlines BE, and Challenge Technic, together contribute to Challenge Group’s continuous growth. Between 2012 and 2022, tonnage grew from 78,000 tons to 282,000 tons, almost quadrupling in just ten years, whilst its warehouse space grew more than five-fold in just five years from 7,500 m² to its current 42,000 m². Challenge Group has enjoyed increasing success there for more than a quarter of a century. It celebrated its 25th anniversary in 2021. Around 4,042 flights and 43,400 truck movements are annually handled there, these days. The scope for more is there: Challenge Group has the capacity to handle 425,000 tons annually. “Challenge Group's Liège hub is renowned for its sustainable practices [such as paperless operations] and commitment to the environment. In addition to being a European leader in handling horses, the hub specializes in the transportation of pharmaceuticals, cars, dangerous goods, oversized cargo, live animals (beyond horses), concert equipment, and perishable goods,” the press release states, boasting the Group’s USP in the shape of Europe’s largest highloader. The Group’s LinkedIn page regularly shares in its extraordinary shipments – be they collectable Ferrari 250 GTOs as shown here, or four-wheel-drives, large aircraft engines, or – of course, horses, which both the hub and the group are well-known for.
Or Zak, CCO of Challenge Group, stated: “Our Liège hub is a testament to our commitment to excellence and continuous growth. With our strategic investments and dedication to operational excellence, we have solidified our position as the market leader. We stand ready to support our clients, either freight forwarders, third party carriers or importers/exporters, and meet their most demanding logistics needs. Our dedicated team and advanced facilities make us the ideal partner for businesses across the industry."
RwandAir flies cargo directly to France, handled by WFS
This month saw RwandAir’s first direct flights from Kigali, Rwanda, to Paris Charles de Gaulle Airport, France. It offers three non-stop flights per week on Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Saturdays, operated by an A330. For the cargo flying in its bellies, RwandAir has contracted Worldwide Flight Services (WFS) as its handling partner. WFS provides full cargo handling services for RwandAir, supporting the airline’s freight forwarding customers and its GSA partner in France, Network Airline Services (NAS). The new flight route is the only direct air service between Rwanda and France. Speaking at the launch of the new route, Yvonne Makolo, RwandAir’s CEO, said: “We are excited and proud to celebrate the start of RwandAir’s new three-times-a-week service to Paris from Kigali. We know this fantastic new route to the French capital will prove very popular with our customers. We look forward to growing our presence in the French market as we continue to expand our international route network and connect Africa with Europe and more overseas destinations.”
Laurent Bernard, VP Cargo France at WFS, commented: “RwandAir is another prestigious airline client for WFS in France and we are proud to have been chosen to support its ambitious growth strategy, connecting Paris with the heart of Africa. RwandAir is recognized for its on-time performance, customer service, and safety and these reflect WFS’ own core values. We look forward to a long and successful partnership.”
In other news this week, WFS France, together with Air China Cargo, coordinated the journey of a very special passenger: 100 kg-heavy baby panda, YuanMeng - the first baby panda born in France in 2017. On 25JUL23, he travelled from Zoo de Beauval to his new home in the Chengdu Research Base of Giant Panda Breeding, in China. Two VIPs turned up to see him on his way: the Ambassador of China to France, Mr Lu Shaye, and the First Lady of France, Madame Brigitte Macron.
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