The weekly newspaper for air cargo professionals
No. 1,221 13 March 2023
No. 1,221 13 March 2023
RHENUS FLIES TO CRISIS ...
Rhenus is taking a strategic holding in the innovative company Wings for Aid, which is aiming to make emergency aid supplies more ...
Brussels Airport Company (BAC) and Changi Airport Group (CAG) have signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) to augment the strategic partnership between the two airports in the area of air cargo development. With the goal of deepening cargo competencies, both airports will jointly drive initiatives to enhance capabilities in pharmaceutical logistics, undertake studies and trials in the fields of digitalisation and sustainability and exchange information and best practices. The MOU was signed by Mr Geert Aerts, Chief Cargo & Real Estate Officer of BAC, and Mr Lim Ching Kiat, Executive Vice President of Air Hub & Cargo Development of CAG at the annual Let’s Talk Cargo industry seminar in Singapore.
BAC and CAG have collaborated on various projects since 2016. One of their first joint initiatives was the co-founding of Pharma.Aero with Miami International Airport. Pharma.Aero is a non-profit organisation where members exchange best practices and collaborate to enhance the industry’s pharmaceutical handling
capabilities. This joint initiative was vital for the development of capabilities and know-how by both airports in handling temperature-sensitive cargo, which eventually enabled the transport of much-needed vaccines between Brussels and Singapore during the Covid-19 pandemic. It also augmented Singapore and Brussels as trusted air pharmaceutical hubs in Asia and Europe.
Where Changi Airport has extensive experience in the operations and management of airports in Singapore and overseas, Brussels Airport offers not only a well-established passenger network, but also a unique cargo platform (BRUcargo) with strong community-driven expertise in handling pharmaceuticals and life sciences, perishables, e-commerce and live animals.
Under the MOU, the two airport companies will jointly explore and undertake trials and initiatives in areas of growing importance, such as sustainability. One of the projects both airports will be involved in is a Green Air Pharma Corridor study, undertaken together with other Pharma.
Aero members, to establish a green lane with a set of sustainability standards to be achieved throughout the end-to-end supply chain. On the
connectivity front, CAG and BAC will also work together to strengthen passenger and cargo connectivity between Singapore and Brussels.
“We are happy to sign this Memorandum of Understanding with Changi Airport and to further enhance our longstanding partnership. By exchanging expertise and building on our alliance to tackle the challenges and opportunities of today together, we can leverage the best practices and become more interconnected between our hubs,” Geert Aerts, Chief Cargo & Real Estate Officer at Brussels Airport Company, said.
“The industry has witnessed how the Covid-19 pandemic has transformed the air cargo supply chain. More than ever, handling capabilities are key to the competitiveness of the air cargo ecosystem. As CAG pushes forward with our digitalisation efforts to enhance Changi Airport’s air cargo processes for higher handling efficiency, we look forward to exchanging insights and learning from Brussels Airport and Air Cargo Belgium,” said Lim Ching Kiat, Executive Vice President of Air Hub & Cargo Development of CAG.
LATAM GROUP COMPLETES ITS ... LATAM Group has completed its first international flight with Sustainable Aviation Fuel (SAF). The flight was operated by LATAM Cargo Chile ...
2023: CAN THE AIRFREIGHT ... 2022 was another challenging year for supply chains, with the impact of Brexit and the pandemic still being felt, alongside new ...
E-COMMERCE DRIVES CHANGES
The e-commerce industry has been on a high the past few years, with unprecedented growth in the sector sending air cargo demand to an ...
Rhenus is taking a strategic holding in the innovative company Wings for Aid, which is aiming to make emergency aid supplies more reliable by means of an innovative cargo drone delivery system.
The logistics specialist will be responsible for the operations behind the humanitarian support projects in future and will set up the regional and in-field support bases together with Wings for Aid. The latter developed a Remotely Piloted Aircraft System (RPAS) and intelligent technologies to carry 160 kilogramme payload per flight in a range of 250 kilometres.
“It’s our goal to be able to be on the ground anywhere in the world within 72 hours to deliver emergency aid. Rhenus is helping us with its expertise and its global network so that we can transport our system to the response area quickly and efficiently,” Barry Koperberg, the General Manager of Wings for Aid, said.
In signing this strategic participation agreement, both partners are expanding their working relationship, which has existed since 2018.
“The logistics operations account for about 80 percent of the costs when transporting any aid supplies. In this respect, Rhenus and Wings for Aid can achieve a significant difference for people in need,” Frank Roderkerk, the CEO North-West Europe at Rhenus Air & Ocean, said.
The Remotely Piloted Aircraft System is currently in the test phase. Rhenus and Wings for Aid expect to start the first RPAS operations for humanitarian actors in Q4 2023.
American Airlines Cargo has appointed Clément Fau as its new Country Sales Manager for France. Based at the airline’s French headquarters at Paris Charles de Gaulle airport (CDG), he will lead the carrier’s sales team activities across the country and report to Emma Oliver, Sales Director for EMEA & APAC.
Fau brings almost two decades of experience in the airline and cargo industry to his new role at the world’s largest airline. He previously worked for Air France KLM Martinair Cargo where he most recently served as Key Accounts and Pharma Sales Manager.
“We are delighted to have such an experienced individual as Clément join our team to drive forward our already exceptional operation in France. His knowledge and expertise of moving pharma products by air will be invaluable as we expand and grow our range specialist vertical products,” Oliver said.
CDG is an important hub for American’s cargo activities in Europe, supporting both local and trucked freight from neighbouring regions. Most recently, the carrier exported more than 160 tonnes of fresh flowers out of CDG to the US for Valentine’s Day.
LATAM Group has completed its first international flight with Sustainable Aviation Fuel (SAF). The flight was operated by LATAM Cargo Chile between the Zaragoza airport and North America, in line with the Group’s commitment to becoming carbon neutral by 2050.
SAF is a biofuel made from alternative biomass sources such as waste, fats, and oils, which are co-processed with fossil feedstocks fuel to produce synthetic, low-CO2 fuel. In this case, 30,000 litres of co-processed SAF made from cooking oil were used, combined with traditional jet fuel.
The SAF used for this flight has been internationally certified according to the procedures established by the International Sustainability Carbon Certification (ISCC EU) to ensure its sustainability. The fuel was provided by Air bp, one of the world’s leading suppliers of aviation fuel, representing the first production of ISCC EU SAF made at the Castellón refinery in Spain. With this milestone, LATAM Group has become the first airline group to procure its SAF from Air bp at the Zaragoza airport, an achievement made possible thanks to the collaborative efforts between LATAM and Air bp and other contributing partners like AENA and Exolum.
A maximum of 5% of sustainable feedstock is currently permitted in the co-processing of this kind of fuel, which reduces CO2 emissions by approximately 80% during its life cycle compared to conventional aviation fuel.
LATAM Cargo, said.
“This latest announcement is another major milestone in Air bp’s efforts to increase SAF availability. It marks a decisive step in the replacement of fossil fuels with renewable sources at existing refineries. Co-processing plays a key role in increasing SAF production in a more efficient and cost-effective manner,” Andreea Moyes, Air bp’s Global Head of Sustainability, said.
The efforts for decarbonising the industry by increasing the use of SAF are still challenged by the limited worldwide availability resulting from the lack of conditions to scale up SAF research, development and production.
“This flight represents one of the Group’s most visible advances in its agenda concerning the use of SAF. At LATAM we made a commitment to contribute to the protection of our environment, and the introduction of this type of fuel is a key step in that direction. We are very pleased about this achievement, since the use of SAF requires the involvement and cooperation of multiple actors, and the success of this operation proves that such collaborations are possible. This was a first step, and we will continue to explore alternatives to make significant contributions to the environment and the communities where we operate,”Andrés Bianchi, CEO
In May 2021, LATAM launched a revamped sustainability strategy that included a number of challenging goals: Achieve carbon neutrality by 2050, remove all single-use plastic from its operation in 2023, and become a zero waste-to-landfill company by 2027.
To that end, the company has defined three work lines regarding climate change management: reducing emissions through operational efficiency and better practices, migrating to sustainable fuels as these become available, and compensating emissions by conserving strategic ecosystems of high environmental value.
Access in Latin America remains a major hurdle for those who seek to increase the use of SAF produced in the region. South America has enormous potential to produce SAF in terms of its natural resources and expertise, and is therefore in a privileged position to make a significant contribution to climate action. “The need to advance an agenda that involves the different stakeholders in the promotion of SAF production in the region has become a pressing matter. As an airline group, we are responsible for stressing our commitment in this regard by providing assurance about SAF demand to governments and producers alike. This is why we have announced and are indeed striving to incorporate 5% of sustainable fuel by 2030, with special preference for producers in South America,” Roberto Alvo, LATAM’s CEO, said.
VIRGIN Atlantic has joined SkyTeam, the global airline alliance, at a signing ceremony in London. The move means Virgin Atlantic becomes SkyTeam’s first and only UK member airline, enhancing the alliance’s transatlantic network and services to and from Heathrow and Manchester airports.
Virgin Atlantic’s entry into the alliance builds upon the success of its transatlantic joint venture with Delta and Air France-KLM, each already long-established SkyTeam members. Virgin Atlantic is co-located at London Heathrow’s Terminal Three, alongside Delta and existing SkyTeam members Aeromexico and China Eastern, providing customers with smooth airside transits and the most convenient connection times possible.
“SkyTeam shares a customer first ethos that mirrors our own and our entry into the alliance today marks an important milestone in achieving our vision to become the most-loved travel company,” Shai Weiss, CEO Virgin Atlantic, said.
“We are delighted to welcome Virgin Atlantic into SkyTeam, taking an already close relationship to new
AFTER over a year of executing their brand-new facility, Animal Aircare has officially opened their state-of-the-art facility at one of the world’s busiest international airports, London Heathrow. Having over 25 years of experience specialising in the care of pets travelling by air, the organisation prides itself on having rapid and efficient turnaround times, from receiving animals off the aircraft to completing health checks with the utmost care; aiming to reunite owners with their pets as soon as possible.
From the domestic house cat travelling on a family holiday to reptiles making their way to a new conservation, their experienced team will handle and take care of animals that come through their doors, 24/7, 365 days a year.
The brand-new facility is equipped with temperaturecontrolled environments, alongside 48 spacious kennels and 22 catteries as well as isolation rooms for birds and reptiles, providing a safe and secure space for all animals whether they’re travelling inbound or in transit.
Their experienced welfare officers will provide 24-hour care keeping owners and agents informed of the animals’ well-being throughout this period with photos and regular communication.
The Animal Aircare team understand that having a pet travel by air can be a daunting experience which is why they will liaise with customers as much as possible.
“Working alongside local agents, couriers and government agencies has been a very positive experience and we are extremely excited to be able to offer a welfare-driven, customerfocused holding facility at Heathrow. We look forward to caring for an array of species in our purpose-built state-of-the-art facility in 2023,” Jake Holliday, Animal Aircare Heathrow Manager, said.
heights and elevating our customer offering,” Patrick Roux, SkyTeam CEO and Managing Director, added.
Codeshare agreements are already in place with Aeromexico and Middle East Airlines, in addition to existing codeshares with Air France-KLM and Delta, with options for more codeshares to follow later this year. Interline agreements with all SkyTeam members are already in place, providing one touch point for all customers, creating a seamless journey on one ticket.
Virgin Atlantic flies to 12 destinations throughout the USA in partnership with Delta and Air FranceKLM including New York, Los Angeles, Miami, and San Francisco. Last year the airline launched services to two new US destinations, Austin and Tampa. Virgin Atlantic also operates an extensive Caribbean portfolio including Antigua, Barbados, Jamaica, The Bahamas and from November, Turks and Caicos. Virgin Atlantic also operates services to China, India, Israel, Nigeria and South Africa. A new service to the Maldives will begin from October.
2022 was another challenging year for supply chains, with the impact of Brexit and the pandemic still being felt, alongside new challenges in the form of the conflict in Ukraine and rising inflation.
Unfortunately, 2023 is likely to bring more of the same, as geopolitical issues continue to cause disruptions and economic pressures are predicted to worsen. Against the backdrop of uncertainty, businesses are also increasingly under pressure from consumers, stakeholders, investors and government to reduce the environmental impact of their operations. This paints an uncertain and potentially challenging picture for the airfreight sector.
Here, the executive directors at leading supply chain and logistics consultancy, SCALA, detail the issues supply chains are likely to experience in 2023, and the considerations airfreight businesses need to take into account when dealing with the continued strain.
Supply chain resilience - Phil Reuben, executive director at SCALA
With geopolitical and economic uncertainty set to continue, resilience and flexibility will continue to be key to successful business operations. Many businesses will be undertaking supply chain risk assessments to identify potential disruptions to operations. This includes taking the entire chain into consideration to identify any points with an overreliance on a specific supplier, geography, or technology, which could be prone to collapse if disruption were to occur. Once these points have been identified and assessed, businesses can put the necessary measures in place to mitigate these risks.
The airfreight industry has demonstrated its resilience in the past through the pandemic. However, with factors like its cost and environmental footprint going against it compared to other modes of transport, more businesses may begin to look at alternatives. Furthermore, we’re seeing more businesses shortening the supply chain. Onshoring and nearshoring to bring at least some processes closer to where goods are being sold makes operations more resilient to disruption, which could also contribute to a drop in airfreight demand.
It’s clear that the only certainty is uncertainty, and with sea freight rates returning to preCovid levels as a result of waning consumer confidence and deteriorating demand for container goods, further challenges and competition could be on the horizon. Therefore, remaining abreast of opportunities and potential threats in the industry will be key for airfreight logistics services weathering the storm.
Coping with a reduced demand as inflationary pressures continue to impact the UK – Dave Howorth, executive director at SCALA Cargo volumes have been affected significantly over the last 12 months by the conflict between Russia and Ukraine and the global economic slowdown caused by rising costs. The International Air Transport Association (IATA) expects air cargo volumes measured by cargo tonne kilometers (CTKs) to fall by 4% year-over-year in 2023, following an 8% year-over-year drop in 2022.
At the same time we’re seeing weakened demand, we’re also seeing an increase in air cargo capacity across the industry; a combination of new freighters and conversions as well as additional belly capacity as passenger air travel recovers. However, this overcapacity also means greater competition in the market.
Yet, it’s not all doom and gloom for the airfreight industry as many experts believe that the
resolution of the Russia-Ukraine conflict could cause a rebound in consumer and business confidence, meaning increased demand. Airfreight providers need to ensure their offerings are competitive to retain custom in the quieter periods and be ready for demand to increase should confidence be restored.
The Jet Zero Strategy - Rob Wright, executive director at SCALA Sustainability has been creeping up the agenda for businesses across every industry over the past few years, with supply chain professionals under increasing pressure to find greener alternatives and reduce their carbon footprint. Yet progress has been hindered by the pandemic, ongoing instability, and the economic situation, causing green strategies, targets, and initiatives to slip down the list of priorities to more imminent threats to business.
However, it’s only going to become increasingly important for businesses to make progress on their sustainability targets in 2023, not just with government net zero targets looming, but also because other businesses across the supply chain will be doing the same – seeking to find greener partners, providers and methods to reduce their overall environmental impact.
Sustainability is also being taken into consideration more by investors, consumers, and even potential employees. Businesses need to show they’re taking the issue seriously and have clear strategies – and real actions to back them up – to work towards a clear goal. The pressure to reduce the environmental impact of supply chain operations is only going to build – not just with regards to an organisation’s own carbon footprint, but also for their choices across the whole of the supply chain.
It’s likely that transportation will become one of the first areas to come under the lens, with the sector alone accounting for 27% of the UK’s national carbon emissions. Airfreight has nowhere to hide as one of the most harmful methods of transportation. It’s estimated that 1000km of airfreight for one 2kg package is equivalent to 4.42kg CO2e, more than 21 times more than if the same package was transported via truck.
However, steps are being made in the right direction, and it’s likely that we’ll see more progress and innovation in this area in 2023. In July of last year, the government published its Jet Zero Strategy report, outlining its five-year plan to meet its commitment in bringing down UK aviation emissions to net zero by 2050. The production and availability of sustainable aviation fuel (SAF) is expected to become more readily available and cost effective and will play a key role in meeting this target.
The key for airfreight providers in 2023 is to stay abreast of new and alternative fuels and more sustainable methods. With greater competition in the market, sustainability is only going to become more important in retaining existing business, accessing new opportunities, and securing the support of investors, consumers, and other key stakeholders.
Airfreight is going to continue to play an important role in supply chains as a fast and reliable means of international trading and creating new opportunities. It’s vital role in the UK economy cannot be overlooked, with an estimated £86bn of gross value dependent on it. However, as 2023 brings more uncertainty and challenges, flexibility and resilience will be key to survival and success.
ETIHAD Cargo has further expanded its online booking portal capabilities as part of the carrier’s ongoing digitalisation strategy. In the latest development of their online booking portal, Etihad Cargo has introduced online pet shipment bookings, online dangerous goods bookings and a custom feed within the customer dashboard.
Traditionally, booking pet shipments has required customers to send multiple documents via email. Following the launch of the online pet shipment booking feature, Etihad Cargo’s customers can book the shipment of dogs and cats via the online booking portal, making the booking process easier than ever before.
Booking the shipment of dangerous goods via the enhanced online booking portal has also been simplified. Etihad Cargo’s booking portal now enables the capture of United Nations (UN) numbers, which are globally recognised classifications that identify hazardous substances in international shipping.
“Since the launch of Etihad Cargo’s enhanced online booking portal, the carrier has continued to launch new features that are making it easier for customers to make bookings,” Martin Drew, Senior Vice President – Global Sales & Cargo at Etihad Airways, said. “Expanding the capabilities of the booking portal to include the booking of pets and dangerous goods shipments directly via the portal is the latest step by Etihad Cargo in making the booking process as seamless as possible while helping customers to ensure the compliance of their cargo with international regulations.”
SOUTH African Airways (SAA) Cargo has appointed Menzies Aviation to provide air cargo services at OR Tambo International Airport (JNB) in Johannesburg, Cape Town International Airport (CPT), and Port Elizabeth International Airport (PLZ).
The first phase of Menzies’ appointment started on 1 December 2022, with the handling of all SAA Cargo terminal operations in Cape Town. The second phase will begin at OR Tambo in the coming weeks.
“This milestone is an important one, it is part of our efforts to re-position SAA Cargo and unlock the value of SAA Cargo terminals. It also allows management to focus on critical
strategic goals to grow our cargo business,” Professor John Lamola, Chairperson and Chief Executive Officer, SAA said.
“The partnership with SAA aligns with the strategy to grow Menzies’ footprint in Africa, where we see huge potential for growth. SAA is an important player in the cargo industry and this partnership is a real game changer for our business in South Africa as we are now based in the largest air cargo facilities in the country in the two main airfreight ports. It also aligns with our long-term vision to strengthen our position as the leading aviation services provider in Africa,” Philipp Joeinig, CEO, Menzies Aviation, said.
Moritz Claussen, Founder & Co-CEO of digital cargo booking platform cargo.one has joined the International Air Cargo Association (TIACA) as a Trustee member – the highest level of membership.
For TIACA, Claussen brings his extensive commercial experience building digital businesses and a prior background in management consulting. As a wellknown voice on the digitalisation of the airfreight sector, Claussen will support TIACA’s work on the technological transformation of the industry, as well as helping to drive wider industry collaboration on new initiatives.
Digital booking platforms, like cargo.one, are an example of the rapid progress in digitalisation within the air cargo industry, driven by strong results for forwarders and airlines who have embraced the opportunities presented by technology.
“I’ve long admired the work of TIACA and its Director General, Glyn Hughes, in championing the vital issues for the industry’s health and development,” Claussen said. “It is perhaps more important than ever that
ESTABLISHED in 2009, Awery creates advanced aviation software platforms with unlimited expansion capabilities for customers including, commercial and cargo airlines, private operators, cargo GSAs, handling agents, courier companies, air and aviation services providers.
Awery ERP has been developed to offer tailored complete business cycle solutions for commercial and cargo airlines, private operators, freight forwarders, aviation service providers, air charter brokers, and onboard couriers.
CargoBooking, powered by Awery, is a freely accessible online booking and quoting portal connecting capacity and demand on one platform.
The solution offers a streamlined user experience, allowing airlines and General Sales Agents (GSAs) to provide freight forwarders with real-time air cargo rate distribution, quotes, and booking options.
CargoBooking’s open-access model is part of Awery’s wider ambition to provide an efficient, cuttingedge digital platform that is available to all air cargo stakeholders.
Awery’s eMagic solution, included with CargoBooking, converts email and text enquiries from various formats and languages into a standard data format, eliminating the need for costly and time-consuming manual processing.
The information is carried through to bookings, payments, and track and trace services, enabling CargoBooking to provide an end-to-end fulfilment solution.
Awery prides itself on working in close cooperation with all stakeholders to ensure its products reflect up-to-date market demands and offer tailored complete business cycle solutions with unlimited expansion capabilities.
This is why Awery is sponsoring the World Air Cargo Awards: General Sales Agent of The Year category award 2023, as we believe it is essential to recognise the standout efforts of those that work both tirelessly and collaboratively to improve our industry.
TIACA promotes targeted innovation and inspires airlines to close knowledge gaps and apply best practices to achieve better business with digital.”
“It remains our responsibility to create an environment where people are able to come in and have an opportunity to pitch their ideas,” Claussen added. “I think this industry will thrive on collaboration and associations, like TIACA, and maybe TIACA first and foremost, are able to create that collaboration on a different level.”
“We want to bring people, like Moritz, saying how can they use technology to change, innovate and bring new ideas to supply chains. He’s only been in the industry a few years and he’s already a role model and an inspiration for that next generation,” Hughes commented.
“Our role at TIACA is to shine a spotlight on innovation. We want to create a home for all these innovative, creative new ideas to show the world that there is a way to inspire and achieve new results,” Hughes continued.
The e-commerce industry has been on a high the past few years, with unprecedented growth in the sector sending air cargo demand to an all-time high during the Covid pandemic. Alongside the financial gain this boom brought, it can be argued it has had a bigger impact in the way it has reshaped and even revolutionised the way logistics companies operate. As online retailers and customers have looked for faster, even same-day deliveries, carriers have had to adapt to speed up the pace of their transportation.
It’s no surprise, therefore, that the air cargo industry has benefited from the growth of e-commerce and the demands it requires, due to its key benefit of offering speed and reliability. Over 20% of all airfreight moved around the globe is from e-commerce and that isn’t set to drop since online sales are still riding higher than prepandemic levels at over a quarter of the overall retail market.
“Covid has accelerated our lifestyles to a pivot point where shopping online has been normalised across all demographics, and there’s no going back. With that, e-commerce is set to take a growing proportion of total consumer spend,” Kawal Preet, president of the Asia Pacific, Middle East and Africa (AMEA) at FedEx Express, said.
Asia Pacific includes some of the world’s biggest e-commerce markets, such as China, India, Korea and Japan. Estimated revenue from e-commerce sales across those countries is over USD $2 trillion, with 57% of their citizens shopping online. This region is only expected to secure greater swathes of e-commerce activity, with Malaysia, the Philippines and Vietnam optimistic about potential growth in the coming years.
“e-commerce has grown in popularity and familiarity among merchants and consumers in Asia since the Covid-19 pandemic. More small businesses are coming online to cater to a wider group of consumers, including new Internet users who have just hopped on the e-commerce bandwagon,” Ken Lee, CEO, DHL Express Asia
Pacific excluding China, said.
The strength of the e-commerce industry is seen in the recent move by Zongteng Group partnering with Worldwide Flight Services (WFS) to bolster its Sino-European e-commerce cargo capacity. With the provider of cross-border logistics services introducing the new Shenzhen-Paris freighter route, it will bring an additional 15,000 tonnes of annual cargo capacity for the e-commerce space. This is set to be followed by a second Boeing 777F in Q3 of 2023, adding a projected 28,000 tonnes per annum.
With a reported turnover of €3.85 billion, Zongteng Group has been a clear beneficiary of the growing e-commerce market, providing logistics services through its sub-brands YunExpress, Elogistic and Worldtech. “The strong growth in demand for crossborder e-commerce capacity from China to Europe requires more cargo capacity as well as the support of fast and reliable handling on the ground in order to meet customers’ service expectations,” Laurnet Bernard, VP Cargo France at WFS, said following the partnership.
Sustainability is a growing factor across the logistics industry, with all stakeholders, from carriers to retailers taking steps to improve their environmental credentials. There is a clear need to adapt operations as the industry grows, as, on a basic level, more sales mean more more deliveries. As orders taking too long is the number one pain point for consumers, who typically expect delivery within three days to one week, there is a desire for delivery to be faster. With the added challenge of meeting the time constraints placed on shippers, on occasion, some shippers are forced to send out partially filled frieghts leading to more trips and more emissions.
Customers are becoming increasingly understanding of the challenges around sustainability, shown in their willingness to
“Covid has accelerated our lifestyles to a pivot point where shopping online has been normalised across all demographics, and there’s no going back”
invest their own money in helping companies reduce their carbon emissions. Forrester found that 57% of consumers look to support companies that have clear sustainable objectives, this number rises in Gen Z and Gen X shoppers. Even though household budgets are being squeezed during the cost of living crisis, online shoppers are willing to pay a premium for greener deliveries, with ParcelHero predicting this will become the norm.
As technological innovation sweeps through the logistics industry, companies that facilitate the movement of e-commerce products globally are turning to new systems that help to improve the speed and efficiency of their delivery services. Traditional and digital worlds are now coming together, forcing companies to transform into modern services or be left behind and lose market share to their competitors.
For those in the airfreight industry, for example, bringing together the two different systems for mail items and cargo can help to enhance visibility through bookings and allocation, offering volumetric information and tracking options. At a time when there is greater interest in being able to follow cargo from when it’s shipped to when it lands on the doorstep, this is an attractive ability.
Digitalisation can also help to streamline the delivery process by simplifying the bureaucratic process, replacing the myriad of paper and electronic documents currently needed with one simple, digital shipment record. This can speed up the time cargo spends on the ground, moving it faster from the aircraft to the next step in the delivery process.
“Accelerating digitalisation, developing real-time interaction, testing drones and robots, implementing sensors and data loggers, making sense of Big Data, developing new screening technologies…will enable the air cargo industry to adapt, respond and anticipate what e-commerce needs,” the International Air Transport Association added.
FOUNDER and CEO of Icarus Jet, Kevin Singh discusses how aviation can achieve a sustainable path to reducing its carbon footprint with small and consistent measures.
As a pilot, I’m very passionate about aviation and as a company owner, I also understand that stakeholders want firm commitments regarding how to reduce the industry’s environmental footprint. Unfortunately, sustainable is one of those buzzwords that without proper context does not generate the expected impact. For me, sustainable means that we’re making sure that something will remain in the future while achieving the right balance – I want that for aviation.
The industry is receiving great scrutiny regarding its carbon footprint albeit all the advancements in the use of Sustainable Aviation Fuel (SAF), electrification, and overall aerodynamic efficiency. My quick thought is that we’re not controlling the narrative enough although having the hard facts while allowing the detractors to make public noise. Yet, I truly believe that more can be done today – with simple steps such as offering clients sustainable options for a private jet trip support flight major changes can be achieved. Imagine if private jet providers like Icarus Jet would source electric ground powering units and offer FBOs and parking spaces or hangars that are powered with solar panels. This is a reality today, as is the case with Farnborough Airport’s new sustainable hangar project with completion scheduled for quarter one in 2024. Other Farnborough measures include 22 electric vehicle charging stations on the terminal and LED lighting on the runways, the airport building, and the hangars.
What about electric charging infrastructure? Menzies Aviation in Los Angeles International Airport (LAX) has implemented Mullen electric cargo vans for Menzie’s LAX operations as a complement to their commitment to being carbon neutral by 2033. With a global fleet of 27,000 ground service equipment,
which includes more than 8,000 vehicles scattered across over 250 airports, choosing one of these top-notch sustainable providers would make trip support companies’ jobs easier.
I believe that electric ground support equipment (GSE) is a key component in the race toward airport sustainability. The industry’s aim toward net-zero carbon emissions by 2050 is important, yet to achieve this airports and the aviation industry as a whole need to look for other areas of development throughout the entire ecosystem. Making a transition from diesel to electric ground power units (e-GPU), which supports on-ground aircraft operations, is a key step toward carbon neutrality thanks to a reduction of on-site CO2 emissions. Furthermore, it also provides improvements in terms of safety while reducing operational costs like ground fuel savings and decreased maintenance costs. Another sometimes overlooked aspect of sustainability is how safe of an environment workers have – making the change from diesel-powered GPU to e-GPU improves the health of airside personnel while reducing noise pollution to provide a safer and quieter work environment.
While there are limitations in many airports worldwide, other renowned terminals like Amsterdam Schiphol have reduced emissions by 90% using e-GPU while Singapore Changi Airport has installed 26 common-use charging points to support the use of electric baggage tractors. This eliminates ground handlers’ need for dedicated e-baggage electric chargers, which reduces costs and minimises the space needed for infrastructure.
What can a trip support company like Icarus Jet bring to the table? Identifying the safest and most efficient way of organising the operations of a flight for crews, owners, or corporate flight departments. From flight planning, ground
handling, and fuel arrangements to guaranteed parking, pre-established relationships with global vendors and authorities allow the company to understand which are the most sustainable options for customers seeking to control how they impact the environment.
Moreover, working on the overall infrastructure to avoid increased aircraft congestion in the air and on runways, and packed airports full of stranded passengers, like the scene we saw during summer, is paramount to reducing carbon emissions. Did you know that you must reposition an aircraft after a drop-off in the Greek isles and most islands in Europe and the Maldives? This debacle adds more stress to the system while also increasing the carbon footprint – yet, on the bright side it also highlights the value that allaround trip support companies like us bring to the table, like securing parking for our customers to avoid ferry legs while reducing overall planning uncertainties.
It will take the entire industry to thrive in the implementation of sustainable measures at airports. Small steps like implementing a “closed hangar policy” during winter due to the cost of constant heating to ensure that an aircraft remains free of ice is a start. While this may sound like a strict policy, it’s completely achievable in the short term without substantial additional costs. The same with the implementation of e-baggage hangars and e-GPU –after an initial investment, reduced costs remain ahead.
In essence, to achieve the industry’s plan of net-zero carbon emissions by 2050, small and consistent measures like electric ground support need to be implemented globally during the next decade, while manufacturers, authorities, and new efficient fuels do the heavy lifting in terms of carbon offsetting to achieve aviation’s most ambitious goal in modern days.
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