ACW 11th October 21

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WORLD ACW Digital is sponsored by AIRPORTS.COM FREIGHTERS.COM

FREIGH

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The weekly newspaper for air cargo professionals No. 1,152

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11 OCTOBER 2021

Middle East’s consolidation role

Luck of the Irish for FedEx

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INSIDE

MALAYSIAN DRONE FIRST

IN line with its aspiration to provide future forward and innovative solutions, Malaysian logistics provider, Raya Airways has embarked ... PAGE 2

AIR CANADA STARTS WORK

AIR Canada has started a $16 million project to expand and enhance Air Canada Cargo’s cold chain handling capabilities for shipments such as ... PAGE 2 FEDEX ENDORSES FEMALE EMPOWERMENT

FEDEX Express has announced that Kawal Preet, president of FedEx Express, Asia Pacific, Middle East and Africa (AMEA) region, has signed ... PAGE 4

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edEx Express, in collaboration with Future Mobility Campus Ireland (FMCI) Air, has completed its first scheduled drone last-mile delivery flight in Ireland. The delivery marks the launch of a trial service delivering goods from FMCI, based at Shannon Airport, County Clare, to Foynes Port, County Limerick, Ireland’s second-largest port operator.

The drone deliveries were conducted by Skyports, a world-leading operator of cargo drone deliveries, on behalf of the FMCI Air consortium which also includes Avtrain, Shannon Group and FMCI. Mike Roche, operations managing director, FedEx Express Ireland, said: “We are always looking for new and innovative ways to deliver the world to our customers’ doorsteps and I’m delighted that this drone delivery

trial is underway and an example of how we, as an industry, continue to explore new technology to help meet our customers’ evolving delivery needs.” Julie Garland on behalf of the FMCI Air Consortium, said: “The calibre of the partners involved in this trial ensures its success. “To test the incorporation of Beyond Visual Line of Sight (BVLOS) drone freight deliveries into global

supply chain logistics is the future happening now. “The location of this trial from the FMCI base adjacent to Shannon Airport, in controlled airspace, with full air traffic control services demonstrates the integration of manned aircraft operations with simultaneous vertiport drone operations becoming the norm and paving the way for Advanced Air Mobility,” said Garland.

MASKARGO HAS JOINED CARGOAI

FROM its hub in Kuala Lumpur, MASkargo is significantly accelerating the digitalisation of air cargo in the APAC region by offering all of its ... PAGE 5

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Malaysian Air Canada starts work on drone first new cold chain facility for Raya

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IN line with its aspiration to provide future forward and innovative solutions, Malaysian logistics provider, Raya Airways has embarked on a Proof of Commercialisation (POC) in partnership with Pen Aviation to demonstrate the commercial viability of utilising drones to transport goods. This marks a significant milestone for Raya Airways, setting it on track to be the first Malaysian freight service provider in ASEAN to operate cargo drones. The POC is aimed at unlocking prospects for Raya Airways within its freight services. The POC will entail the utilisation of PEN55V, Pen Aviation’s medium size cargo drone. The final objective for Raya Airways is to enhance “Drone-Asa-Service” (DaaS) to its offering by operating a mixed fleet of PEN55V and PEN1360V, Pen Aviation’s heavy size cargo drones. With cargo UAV (Unmanned Automated Vehicle) already proven effective in other logistic operations such as for delivery of vital medicines to otherwise inaccessible locations, and in warehouses to deliver parts at precise moments, the POC will specifically explore the deployment of drones to facilitate port logistics, entailing logistics and distribution activities for goods at commercial ports. Expected to commence in Q4 2021, the POC will undertake port logistics missions jointly conducted by Raya Airways and Pen Aviation. “We are excited to work with Raya Airways,” said Jean-Bernard Boura, managing director of Pen Aviation. “Teaming up with Raya Airways is not about drone operation only. Above and beyond drone design and manufacturing with our French Partner Cavok-UAS, Pen Aviation is an ecosystem provider that enables new businesses by leveraging on DigiMIND™, Pen Aviation’s unique digital platform automating complex business and operational processes.”

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ir Canada has started a $16 million project to expand and enhance Air Canada Cargo’s cold chain handling capabilities for shipments such as pharmaceuticals, fresh food and other perishables at its Toronto Pearson International Airport cargo facility. The project is part of Air Canada’s strategy to further develop its cargo division, which also includes the acquisition of freighter aircraft, the launch of dedicated freighter routes and an expansion into e-Commerce. “This is another important step for Air Canada Cargo as we continue to grow our business and invest in our facilities to better serve our customers. Our new temperature-controlled facility, which will be the only one of its kind for a Canadian airline, represents a significant addition to Air Canada’s on-site capabilities at Toronto Pearson and to Canadian cold chain logistics. “It will also give Air Canada Cargo a strategic advantage at our main hub, which handles more than 60% of all our traffic and will support the launch of routes to be served by our new freighter aircraft,” said Jason Berry, vice president, cargo, at Air Canada.

Once completed, the upgraded facility will feature over 3,000 sq m of temperature-controlled areas and an expanded cooler to fully meet the requirements of cold chain shipments such as pharmaceuticals, fresh food and other perishables. The extended cooler will accommodate more unit load devices (ULD) and loose shipments with COL (+2°C to +8°C) and CRT (+15°C to +25°C) temperature requirements, provide additional racking, and an upgraded dedicated area for active temperature control units. These enhancements are the first step in a multi-year investment plan for the

APS Aviation releases updated app

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PS Aviation has released an updated APS Holdover Times (HOT) iOS app for winter 2021-22. Based on the deicing research conducted by APS on behalf of Transport Canada and the FAA, the APS HOT app provides pilots with the most up-to-date aircraft HOTs for all de/anti-icing fluids listed and all related guidance. Holdover times (HOTs) are the calculated length of time that a given de/anti-icing fluid will prevent the formation of frost or ice on the critical surfaces of an aircraft. For the first time this year, the APS HOT app includes Degree-Specific Snow Holdover Times (DSHOTs) for Type II, III, and IV anti-icing fluids. DSHOTs are an expanded set of HOTs at degree Celsius (°C) increments down to the fluid’s lowest operational use temperature (LOUT). “The APS HOT app is the result of decades of experience and research by our team into deicing and anti-icing,” explained John D’Avirro, vice president, aviation services at APS Aviation.

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facility and are part of several planned infrastructure investment projects for Air Canada Cargo. The project also includes the installation of energy efficient equipment including temperature controllers that will constantly monitor the conditions inside the facility and only regulate the temperature as needed, resulting in reduced energy consumption. As well, rapid roll-up doors will be installed to minimise the energy loss when the cooler is accessed to store or retrieve goods. LED lights will be installed throughout the facility, further reducing energy consumption.

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NEWS

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FedEx endorses UN’s Women’s Empowerment Principles

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EDEX Express has announced that Kawal Preet, president of FedEx Express, Asia Pacific, Middle East and Africa (AMEA) region, has signed the CEO statement of support for the Women’s Empowerment Principles (WEPs) – Equality Means Business. Established by the United Nations Entity for Gender Equality and the Empowerment of Women and the United Nations Global Compact, the WEPs are a set of seven actions that companies choose to adopt to advance gender equality and empower women in the workplace and community.

Regional leadership Preet endorsed the statement of support in the presence of regional leadership and team members in Hong Kong. Across the AMEA region, women are underrepresented in the establishment and growth of small business and cross-border trade. According to the World Economic Forum’s Global Gender Gap Report

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2021, the COVID-19 pandemic has raised new barriers to building inclusive and prosperous economies and societies, resulting in an increase in closing the global gender gap by a generation from 99.5 years to 135.6 years. Recognising that companies play a major role in improving gender balance in the workplace, Preet said: “Embracing diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) is part of who we are and what we do. DEI is an integral part of our culture and a vital business priority to deliver a better future for all FedEx stakeholders such as team members, customers and communities. “Endorsing the WEPs is another important step towards building an engaged and inclusive workplace where everyone has an equal opportunity to participate and succeed.” “With People-Service-Profit philosophy at the heart of the company, FedEx is a strong supporter of gender equality both inside and outside of the organisation, and was named one of the Best Workplaces in Asia for 2021 by Great Place to Work.

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SEKO Logistics accelerates its global growth SEKO Logistics has completed its largest acquisition to date with its investment in Paris-headquartered transportation and logistics group Bansard International, merging the complementary geographic footprints and service offerings of the two companies. The combination will produce significant benefits and growth opportunities for the clients and employees of both companies, as SEKO Logistics embarks on the latest stage of its global expansion strategy with the support of its equity investor, Ridgemont Equity Partners. This is SEKO’s largest strategic investment since selecting Ridgemont as its new investment partner in December 2020 and represents ‘a clear statement of intent’ of the company’s growth ambition, said James Gagne, SEKO’s president and CEO.

Leading logistics operator Bansard International is one of the leading transportation and logistics operators in France and, since its formation in 1963, has created a thriving international business spanning 54 offices in 17 countries. With about 600 employees, Bansard International achieved sales of more than €210 million in 2020, serving a diverse customer base in the retail/fashion, electronics, industrial, aerospace and pharmaceutical industries, among others.

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MASkargo has joined CargoAi FROM its hub in Kuala Lumpur, MASkargo is significantly accelerating the digitalisation of air cargo in the APAC region by offering all of its worldwide cargo capacity, belly and freighters on www. CargoAi.co. The new synergy between CargoAi and MASkargo will open up a more extensive network to all forwarding agents worldwide. “The fact that MASkargo has chosen CargoAi as its digital distribution platform is a real sign of recognition and trust. “We’ve developed digital air cargo solutions specifically for the APAC market, and it is an honour to offer our services to this major carrier. MASkargo is hitting hard with this global rollout and is clearly setting the trend for other airlines in the region,” states Matthieu Petot, CEO of CargoAi. The digitalisation of procurement and distribution processes is a major industry trend and has just begun

to be implemented in Asian airlines. “We are a dynamic airline with a particularly dense network, especially in Asia with about 50 destinations. CargoAi’s choice is therefore strategic. “The platform is based in Singapore and has a privileged link with Asia Pacific. This is a considerable advantage for us which makes all the difference. “As we expand our digital reach and to complement our current offerings, CargoAi’s specific solutions for the market make them our strategic

choice partner,” explains Mark Jason Thomas, MASkargo’s chief commercial officer.

VOLGA-DNEPR TEAMS UP WITH ALBION AVIATION GROUP VOLGA-DNEPR Airlines and Albion Aviation Group worked together in support of the Dubai Expo 2020 which opened on October 1 in UAE. The cargo, weighing over 20 tonnes and measuring 418 cubic metres in total, consisted of fragile furniture which was to be delivered from Athens to Dubai. With no time to waste Volga-Dnepr’s team have brought aboard its engineering specialists who offered packaging solutions and optimised the load plan to make sure the delicate cargo was safely transported onboard An-124-100. The cargo uploading was co-ordinated by the Albion Flight manager who flew to Athens to monitor the whole process in close co-operation with Volga-Dnepr’s team.

SAL and Gulf Air sign cargo logistics agreement

SAL, Saudi Logistics Services company, has signed an agreement with Gulf Air – the Kingdom of Bahrain’s national carrier – to provide ground handling solutions to their fleet at all KSA main airports. The Saudi company said that this seven-year agreement is another step towards enhancing the expansion plans and strategic relations with diverse airlines with high cargo operational capacity. SAL’s CEO Hesham Alhussayen noted that the agreement represents years of mutual co-operation in both passenger and cargo flights with Gulf Air, and that the Bahraini leading airline will benefit from SAL’s wide range of logistics services and offerings.

Pivotal role Alhussayen highlighted the pivotal role SAL plays in facilitating cargo movement at all main airports where the company utilises its full logistic capacity to effectively serve airlines through its fully-fledged modern facilities according to high international standards. Gulf Air’s acting chief executive officer Captain Waleed Al Alawi welcomed the partnership and noted that such agreements will strengthen its presence and expansion into important markets such as the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. SAL is a specialised ground handling company and in 2020 alone handled a total of 900,000 kilogrammes for Gulf Air in all main airports in KSA.

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MASAIR PARTNERS WITH CARGO.ONE

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asAir and cargo.one today partnered to bring a premium quality, fully digital booking experience to MasAir customers. The airline has seen rapid expansion in recent months, and the decision to partner with cargo.one is a logical step forward as it leaves the “old normal” behind. As cargo.one’s first carrier in Mexico, MasAir will support the online booking platform in charting out new commercial territories on their shared path to digitally transforming the industry. Luis Sierra, MasAir’s CEO, underlined: “We’re following a highly-focused growth strategy at MasAir, and digitalisation is one of the major pillars of our vision. “As we are poised to modernise and augment our fleet in 2022, the time is also right to bring our service offer to a future-driven, real-time digital platform, and we have great ambitions for our partnership with cargo.one.”

Important foundation “We are delighted to welcome MasAir as the first Mexican carrier on our platform, as this provides another important foundation stone in our recent North America expansion,” Moritz Claussen, co-founder and managing director of cargo.one, commented. “In our partnership talks, MasAir shared its vision to ensure that customers receive faster and more diverse booking responses. “Based on our experience with other carriers to date, we know that MasAir can look forward

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to increasing its user-base too, as its capacities become available at the click of a button, especially for cargo.one users who may not have booked MasAir until now.” Freight forwarders across North America will benefit from booking MasAir capacities on cargo.one later this fall.

Through its partnership with MasAir, cargo. one users will have enhanced access to routes into the Americas, with important destinations such as Mexico City (MEX). The partnership comes shortly after MasAir confirmed that it will continue to expand its fleet in early 2022. This will utlise both A330-

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200P2F and A330-300P2F aircraft types, meaning greater capacity, longer ranges and enhanced efficiencies. The move towards new digital bookings with cargo.one is another example of MasAir’s progress towards becoming a truly global layer in the air cargo arena.

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It’s a first: Fresh mackerel flown to Japan

significant profit despite being a low volume export product. Norway’s seafood market is booming. The Nordic country exported NOK 9.6 billion (£0.82 billion) worth of fish in August this year. This is an increase of NOK 2.3 billion, or 32%, compared with August last year. “Norwegian seafood exports have never attained a higher value in the month of August before. A gradual reopening of global markets has obviously had a positive effect. It is very gratifying to see that healthy, tasty and sustainable seafood from Norway is so sought after across the world”, says CEO of the Norwegian Seafood Council, Renate Larsen. A year-on-year growth in value of 32% is the highest ever. Species such as salmon, mackerel, clipfish and king crab have contributed most to this increase.

FOR the first time, Norway has flown fresh mackerel to Japan, the Norwegian Seafood Council has reported. Mackerel, or Saba in Japanese has been popular in the Asian nation for some time but until now has been exported frozen. The Norwegian Seafood Council says Japan imports 120,000 tonnes of mackerel a year compared to just 9,000 tonnes eaten in Norway. The fresh product, which has been dubbed “saba nouveau,” will still be a seasonal import as the short season traditionally runs from September to November. The fresh fish was flown via Japanese Airlines from Oslo to Tokyo with a stop in Helsinki. The council reports that the long-term goal is to be able to fish for mackerel in the Norwegian fjords and send it to Japan several times a week every autumn. Thanks to it’s reputation in the fine dining world it is hoped that the fresh fish will make

Salmon exports “August salmon exports are the best ever. This is due to high volumes of production and strong demand as more hotels and restaurants have opened up in many international markets. For mackerel, the strong result is primarily due to a record-breaking start to the fishing season”, says Renate Larsen. Salmon to the value of NOK 7 billion (£0.6 billion) was exported in August, an increase by volume of 21%. Poland, Denmark and France were the largest markets for Norwegian salmon in August. “We have never experienced a stronger August for salmon exports, neither by volume or by value. Increased tourism and a gradual reopening of the restaurant sector are two of the explanations. At the same time, we also see that home consumption is increasing in several markets, which has raised the demand for salmon compared with August last year,” says Paul T. Aandahl, seafood analyst with the Norwegian Seafood Council.

Germany’s Supply Chain Act to affect the perishables chain GERMANY’S new Supply Chain Due Diligence Act requires large companies to make sure social and environmental standards are observed in their supply chain. Companies must monitor their own operations and their direct suppliers worldwide, and take action if they find violations. The law has been passed but it does not come into effect until 2023, with an extension in 2024. The Supply Chain Due Diligence Act poses challenges for the entire fruit and vegetable industry, but also enables new courses of action. To comply with this law, many German growers, traders and retailers will have to collect additional data and present it for verification. To cope with this large amount of data, the company AgriPlace offers a platform to track supplier information. Topics such as sustainability, food safety and social standards are not only important for retailers and suppliers, but are also increasingly demanded by consumers. AgriPlace co-operates with Global G.A.P., among others, as Frederic Unger told FreshPlaza: “The co-operation with Global G.A.P. is very important to us. Of particular interest to us is the automatic collection of social and sustainability certificates such as GRASP or SPRING, among others. These certificates can be used, for example, to verify social practices and water use of farms worldwide.

Automatic collection “We enable our users to automatically collect supplier documents such as food safety, as well as social, sustainability certificates, effectively manage and share them. In principle, this is all relevant information that retailers need to obtain from their suppliers in order to be compliant and to be able to sell the products to retailers or the hospitality industry. “We see a great business opportunity for retailers to prove themselves in the market and show how digital as well as transparent they can work and especially how much responsibility they can take for the supply chains of their products.”

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ATRAN operates 1,000th flight to Riga

ATRAN Airlines (ATRAN), the Russian air express carrier within Volga-Dnepr Group, marked the end of September with the arrival of its 1,000th flight to Riga, Latvia. The 1,000th flight landed at Riga International Airport on September 29, bringing over 20 tonnes of e-Commerce shipments from China aboard Boeing 737-800BCF and being heartily welcome by the airport team. To celebrate the occasion, the company

took this opportunity to meet in person with the top management of the airport and discuss potential cooperation and up-scaling of cargo operations. Vasiliy Zhukov, sales director of ATRAN Airlines, comments: “Since 2019 we have been leveraging stable cargo flows between China and Latvia enhancing cross-border logistics service for merchants, brands and consumers at both ends. Even amid the pandemic we

continued supporting our customers delivering much-needed cargo to Latvia and beyond, improving our service quality and increasing total cargo carried thanks to fleet enlargement. In September we surpassed the mark of 1,500 tonnes delivered to/from Riga and we will keep on optimising the connection between retailers and customers for fast and flexible delivery.” Artūrs Saveļjevs, member of the board of

Riga Airport, said: “Co-operation with ATRAN Airlines is very important to us – direct regular e-Commerce cargo flights from China to Latvia were launched with these cargo flights, which significantly reduces delivery times. Cooperation with ATRAN is a significant contribution to the volume of cargo handled at the airport and allows us to offer our customers stable cargo logistics chains even during the global pandemic.”

“Our robust offering will continue to drive growth”

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amburg-based Senator International has been quick to react to the changing landscape of the industry throughout the pandemic but has also stopped to give a helping hand. Senator International donated one hundred ventilators to the chief minister of Tamil Nadu, MK Stalin, on July 14, 2021. The total of donations including purchase, transport and tariffs was approximately $200,000. The ventilators were received in Las Vegas, Nevada, and transported to Greenville-Spartanburg, South Carolina. After creation of the import proxies and customs documents, the company-controlled air bridge, SAB, cargo flight took off for Frankfurt, Germany. From there, Lufthansa handled further transport to Chennai, India. “We are thinking beyond our own borders and providing straightforward help to people in the regions where the pandemic is worst,” said Uwe Kirschbaum, chainman and CEO, Senator International. “I am glad that we have been able to make a small contribution to relieving the suffering of the people of India with our donation.”

our customer demands,” a Senator spokesperson told ACW. From September 8 2021, China was included in the global SAB network for the first time. A charter flight (B767-300 BCF)

SAB Network Senator’s air bridge, or SAB Network, has proved vital for such shipments throughout the pandemic, when capacity has been tight. “The SAB network is a unique setup blending the capabilities of an airline with the adaptability of a forwarder. We operate the network with own controlled flights. We offer about one hundred regular flights a month from Germany to the US, Mexico, South Africa, Singapore and China. Sometimes several flights a week and return flights. “It was established to meet our customer’s demands when they couldn’t rely on the traditional setups offered by the market. In that respect it’s a tailor-made solution based on specific customer requirements. We constantly adjust the network to

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was operated twice a week from Tianjin to Hannover and back. Beijing (PEK), Shanghai Pudong and Guangzhou were also connected via daily trucking services to and from Tianjin. “With the expansion of our SAB routes, we are responding to the current market situation,” said Tim-Oliver Kirschbaum, CEO of Senator International. “With additional frequencies and the new destination Tianjin,

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we are offering our customers a higher flexibility and transparency to move their airfreight. “

Volatile times Though the challenges the industry has faced have forced Senator to think outside of the box, business is doing well. “Considering the circumstances our operations performed reasonably well. We had the foresight to add capacity to our SAB network performed by own controlled flights,” the spokesperson said. “Additionally, our strong relationships with the airlines helped to manage the increased volumes. “Throughout this, we learnt that global supply chains are more fragile than we thought. We see a growing need for supply chain integrity and visibility. That’s why we invest in both capacity and digital visibility solutions. “The times are too volatile to design five-year plans but we are certain that our robust offering will continue to drive growth in Europe and globally.”

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FEDEX LAUNCHES NEW EUROPE - JAPAN FLIGHT

FEDEX Express has launched a new intercontinental flight between Europe and Japan, giving customers improved direct connectivity to the country and additional capacity to Japan and Northern China. The flight, operated by a Boeing 777, adds approximately 220,000 kg of additional capacity per week. It departs from Charles-de-Gaulle Airport in Paris and flies four times per week directly to Kansai International Airport in Osaka, Japan. It will then go on to Guangzhou Baiyun International Airport in Guangzhou, China. Additionally, one day a week, a flight will leave Charles-de-Gaulle Airport to Singapore Changi Airport, before travelling on to Guangzhou Baiyun International Airport, adding another 50,000 kgs of weekly capacity. These new connections – along with the company’s recently announced flights for Asia Pacific exporters – strengthen the FedEx commitment to meeting customer demand, particularly

for e-Commerce shipments in the region. In June 2021 FedEx reported a growth of e-Commerce parcel volume by more than $1 billion year over year out of Asia and Europe. The new flight will support businesses that operate on EU-Japan and intra-Asian lanes by improving access to APAC markets, many of which are rebounding following the initial shock economies experienced in 2020.

Key benefits Key benefits for European businesses include direct connectivity to Japan, customers will benefit from delivery within 48 hours to many key cities in Japan. Brian DeCair, vice president operations Northern UK, Scotland & Ireland at FedEx Express said: “We are excited to be

adding a new flight into our network giving British and Irish businesses greater access to a major growth market. This will become even more important as e-Commerce continues to surge and capacity is needed to facilitate online traders exporting to APAC.” The high-growth APAC markets will appeal to many European businesses looking to grow in the region. Japanese global imports increased by 28.3% between May 2020 and May 2021, and Europe accounts for 16% of all Japanese imports ($103 billion). Japan is also the fourth largest e-Commerce market. As one of the leading express logistics players in the APAC region, FedEx currently operates more than 200 weekly flights in and out of APAC to trans-Pacific and European destinations, connecting EU and APAC customers to the company’s global network.

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FOLLOWING OUR MIDDLE EAST SUPPLEMENT, WE TALKED TO SANJEEV GADHIA, CEO, ASTRAL AVIATION, ON HIS VIEWS OF MIDDLE EASTERN AIRFREIGHT

MIDDLE EAST’S ROLE AS A CONSOLIDATION HUB

the limited number of airlines offering direct connections from Asia to Africa. “Of interest is to note the intense competition between the GCC hubs of UAE (Dubai and Abu Dhabi), Doha and Riyadh which benefits the consumers with a wider options and delivery times.”

Decade on How might the region look for airfreight in ten years? Gadhia has his expectations. He says: “The GCC will continue to be in a dominant position in 2031 which will see new developments in airfreight especially in Saudi Arabia, which recently announced lofty ambitions of investment in the aviation sector, in addition to Oman which will aim to compete with UAE and Qatar.” As the region’s 20th century dependence on Oil & Gas is fading, Gadhia is noticing subtle changes in what is being carried to and from the region. He says: “The region is investing in infrastructure for cold chain, vaccines and pharma, consumer electronics and e-Commerce to reduce their dependence on oil and gas.”

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irline entrepreneur Sanjeev Gadhia, chief executive officer of Kenya-based Astral Aviation, cannot conceal his attraction to the Middle East and its airfreight market. Long described as obvious international aviation hubs positioned between the major economies of East and West, the Gulf Co-operation Council (GCC) countries serve as a great location for Gadhia and his aviation operation. He says: “I believe the GCC countries offer excellent value proposition due its location in addition to its investments in aircrafts, airport and port infrastructure. In the case of Africa, the GCC countries act as consolidation hubs for freight destined to Africa from Asia especially China and India which contribute significantly to Africa’s growth in airfreight values, considering

Over the next 12 months, Gadhia has the opinion that the industry in the Middle East has a “positive” outlook going into 2022. This positivity extends to his own business, Astral Aviation. He says: “[We have] been operating a twice-weekly B767F schedule service from Nairobi to Dubai which started in March 2021 to meet the demand for Perishables such as flowers, vegetables and meat. On the return, Astral uplifts consumer goods such as mobile phones into its Nairobi Hub for onward connectivity into its network. “[Our] plans are to increase the frequency to four flights per week from October 2021. Astral has recently commenced flights from Dubai to Hong Kong which has resulted in positive load factors.”

According to Gadhia, there are pluses and minuses to working in airfreight in the region. Sometimes these come in the form of surprises. He says: “We have not had any surprises except for the high cost of moving freight by road between the GCC countries which are significantly higher then Europe. GCC Countries need to work towards lowering the costs for regional transport as this will enable greater consolidation in one hub. “On a positive note, we have recently entered into an interline co-operation with Silkway which will enable both airlines to feed their respective networks out of Dubai and hope to enter into similar arrangement with other airlines who are not able to fly to Africa.”

Open industry In Gadhia’s opinion, the industry in the region is “open to new ideas and outgoing” as the workforce in UAE is exceptional quality and experience. Asked whether it is it easy or hard to work as an airfreight entrepreneur in the region, his reply is emphatic. He says: “Despite the strong dominance of the GCC Carriers such as Emirates, Qatar, Saudia and Etihad there are opportunities for airfreight entrepreneurs for regions which may be under-served such as Africa. “Digitalisation and blockchain will create new entrepreneurs in the region,” he concludes.

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