ACW 26 September 22

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

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The weekly newspaper for air cargo professionals No. 1,199

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26 September 2022

Consolidating the cargo industry in a post-covid landscape ...

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INSIDE

AMERICAN AIRLINES CARGO ...

AMERICAN Airlines Cargo has announced the appointment of Greg Schwendinger to the role of president, starting on 3rd October ... PAGE 2

HONG KONG INTERNATIONAL AIRPORT NAMED CHINA’S LEADING AIRPORT

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ong Kong International Airport (HKIA) has been named “China’s Leading Airport” at the 29th annual World Travel Awards. Voted by travel professionals, media and high-end consumers worldwide, the prestigious awards recognise top companies and organisations across a variety of sectors in the global travel industry. “We are honoured that HKIA was named China’s Leading Airport at the World Travel Awards. As an international and regional aviation hub, HKIA is committed to providing a pleasant experience for passengers. We have been continuously upgrading terminal facilities and introducing measures to enhance our capacity and enrich travel experience. We look forward to welcoming travellers from around the world to HKIA,” Vivian Cheung, executive director of airport operations of Airport Authority Hong Kong (AAHK), said. The award reflects HKIA’s vision, mission and values. The airport is aiming to strengthen itself as a leading aviation hub and a key engine for economic growth in the region. With its partners,

HKIA is working to operate efficiently with care for the environment, fostering a culture of innovation and upholding high standards in safety and security. AAHK has released traffic figures from HKIA for August 2022. During the month, the airport handled 479,000 passengers, representing year-on-year growth of 116.3%, although traffic remained significantly below the pre-pandemic levels of 2019. Flight movements decreased by 11.3% to 11,390 compared to the same month last year, while cargo throughput dropped 21.0% to 338,000 tonnes. Hong Kong announced at the start of September that it will end temperature checks for some passengers at its international airport, as well as relaxing quarantine requirements for local air staff. Transiting and outbound passengers at HKIA will no longer need to undergo temperature screening, unless they are travelling on to China. After the further relaxation of restrictions on inbound travel in August, growth in passenger

throughput was driven by both local residents and visitors to Hong Kong. Passenger traffic to and from Southeast Asia experienced the most significant increase. Cargo volume was affected by global economic uncertainties, continuing geopolitical tensions and disruptions to global supply chains. Exports and imports decreased by 25% and 20%, respectively, compared to the same month last year. Cargo traffic to and from key trading regions in North America and Europe registered the most significant decreases. Over the first eight months of the year, the airport handled 1.7 million passengers, marking a year-on-year increase of 141.5%. Flight movements and cargo throughput dropped 2.8% and 11.1% to 85,020 and 2.8 million tonnes, respectively. On a 12-month rolling basis, passenger volume and flight movements increased by 121.9% and 6.1% to 2.4 million and 142,330, respectively. Cargo throughput saw a decline of 2.9% to 4.7 million tonnes.

ANOTHER IATA FIRST FOR HACTL ...

HONG Kong Air Cargo Terminals Limited (Hactl) – Hong Kong’s largest independent cargo handler – has become the first cargo terminal operator ... PAGE 4

AIR LOGISTICS MAKE SEAFOOD ...

THE Future of Norwegian Seafood Air Logistics conference gathered visitors in person for the first time, as both the airfreight and aquaculture ... PAGE 5

KEEPING CARGO MOVING ...

Celebrating 25 years since HAE Group opened its door to the air cargo industry, the company has seen the sector move through some major changes ... PAGE 6

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NEWS American Airlines Cargo announces new president AMERICAN Airlines Cargo has announced the appointment of Greg Schwendinger to the role of president, starting on 3rd October. Schwendinger comes from a strong airline and business background. With more than 15 years of experience at American, he has held various roles leading teams across the airline. Most recently, Schwendinger led the finance team at

AccentCare, a health care services provider, during a period of transformation and growth. “Schwendinger brings a unique perspective which will shape our cargo business and its growth potential. We are fortunate to regain his expertise and welcome him as he leads cargo toward greater success,” Derek Kerr, vice chair, chief financial officer and president of American Eagle, said.

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Air Belgium partners with WFS for launch of South Africa services

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AIR Belgium is partnering with Worldwide Flight Services (WFS) in Johannesburg and Cape Town for the launch of its first services to South Africa. The airline has awarded a three-year contract to WFS to provide cargo handling for the 1,600 tonnes per annum forecast to be carried onboard its twice-weekly Airbus A330-Neo flights connecting the two prime South African cities with Brussels. Flights, which commenced on 14 September, will operate on a Brussels-Johannesburg-Cape Town-Johannesburg-Brussels routing, with high volumes of pharma traffic expected into South Africa. Air Belgium will also help to meet demand for cargo capac-

ity for the important perishables market between South Africa and Europe. “It is an honour for WFS to be selected to partner with Air Belgium for their entry into the South African market. We recognise that the competition in our environment is strong, so to be chosen is a significant achievement. It reflects the quality of our operations in Johannesburg and Cape Town, our specialist pharma handling capabilities, and investments to further improve our operations as well as the high service levels delivered by our people. We look forward to welcoming Air Belgium’s first flight,” said Malcolm Tonkin, Managing Director – South Africa at WFS.

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NEWS

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Etihad Airways rated one of the world’s most punctual airlines ETIHAD Airways, the national carrier of the United Arab Emirates, ranks among the most punctual airlines in the Middle East and worldwide over the peak summer period, based on data from global aviation analytics group OAG. Since April, Etihad has achieved an ontime arrival performance rating within 15 minutes of 83%. In its Punctuality League ratings since April 2022, OAG lists Etihad as one of the few airlines in the Middle East that consistently operates towards an 80% on-time arrival performance and maintains one of the lowest cancellation rates worldwide. “Etihad’s stable performance throughout an extremely challenging summer demonstrates our unwavering commitment to delivering our flight schedule on time and providing a high-quality end-to-end experience to our guests,” Mohammad Al Bulooki, Etihad’s chief operating officer, said. “Etihad is constantly looking at ways to enhance operational efficiency and service by using the latest technology and always putting our guests first. Our flight and ground operations teams make sure every Etihad Airways flight is operated in a safe, timely and reliable manner and our on-time performance is the result of their dedication.”

Another IATA first for Hactl

HONG Kong Air Cargo Terminals Limited (Hactl) – Hong Kong’s largest independent cargo handler – has become the first cargo terminal operator in Hong Kong to achieve IATA’s new Competency-Based Training and Assessment (CBTA) Center Certification. Hactl has been an IATA Accredited Training School (ATS) since 2003, offering training both for its own staff and those of third parties including airlines, freight forwarders, industry organisations and educational institutions. Following an agreement by the ICAO Dangerous Goods Panel in September 2019, IATA Dangerous Goods training has been evolving from traditional learning to the new, skills-based competency-based training and assessment format. The 63rd edition of the IATA

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Dangerous Goods Regulations (DGR) includes guidance on competency-based training and assessment (CBTA), which becomes mandatory from 1 January 2023. “The new IATA CBTA accreditation aligns with ICAO’s revised policy on training for the carriage of dangerous goods by air, providing a more meaningful format for future DGR training,” Brendan Sullivan, IATA’s global head of cargo, said. “We are delighted that Hactl has become an early adopter of the new CBTA training format, this achievement is testament to their commitment to provide high quality and effective training to their workforce. We are very pleased to confirm that they are Hong Kong’s first handler to achieve full compliance,” he added.

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Air Logistics Make Seafood Fly

THE Future of Norwegian Seafood Air Logistics conference gathered visitors in person for the first time, as both the airfreight and aquaculture industries face a number of pressures. Airlines, forwarders, Norwegian seafood exporters, importers and other service providers throughout the supply chain gathered in Oslo, Norway to explore how the airfreight sector can adapt to the challenges its facing and meet growing demand for its in the coming years.

The disruption caused by Covid, as well as ongoing supply chain disruptions were in the minds of delegates and the conference director Lars-Gunnar Comen as he welcomed attendees. “Over the past two years, airlines, airports and many others suffered,” with the seafood sector similarly impacted by the effects of the pandemic and economic challenges that caused, Comen highlighted. “These days, you never know what’s going to happen in the next month or next year.”

The conference didn’t just dwell on the challenges though, dedicating time to exploring the growing opportunities for companies within this sector, holding two sessions; ‘Looking East - Asian market trends’ and ‘Looking West - the Americas’. Both of these acknowledged the great potential for aquaculture companies to expand and air freight to play a greater role in the transportation of seafood around the globe. As with many conferences in the past few

months, there was a great sense of relief among delegates who were clearly enthusiastic about being back in an environment where they can hear from people across the sector and network with old friends and new colleagues. “It’s good to bring together all parties; forwarders, terminal companies, airports, fish producers,” Comen said. “At ACL, we wish to contribute to opportunities for our industry to come together to discuss and exchange valuable insight,” Frode Stig, the president of Air Cargo Logistics, one of the conference’s sponsors added. “It feels very good to meet face to face after a long period that has been challenging. Meeting in this arena facilitates a high level of good communication between all parties.” Only the second Future of Norwegian Seafood Air Logistics conference to take place - the first having been held virtually during the pandemic - Comen has his eye on the future, as did many of the delegates. “I’m seeing more and more forwarders who did not previously look at salmon now doing so,” Comen stated. With infrastructure being a barrier to growth in the sector previously, Comen was keen to point to the increasing number of projects in the region to bolster capacity, such as Oslo Airport City (OAC). The project, under construction, was on display to delegates, with a talk from Jon Tallberg, the marketing director of OAC and a visit to the site to see the scale of the development.

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GENERAL SALES AGENTS

KEEPING CARGO MOVING IN CHALLENGING TIMES

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elebrating 25 years since HAE Group opened its door to the air cargo industry, the company has seen the sector move through some major changes that have forced it to adapt and rise to the moment. Having witnessed many cycles of insourcing and outsourcing cargo sales, HAE Group has learnt that, to thrive in the competitive General Sales and Service Agents (GSSA) business, you have to be able to meet the demands of all of your partners. “The demands of our airline partners are different from pure sales, to TCM, through to hybrid models and even some where we are a cargo service partner,” Neville Karai, HAE Group’s CEO said. “From being manual in our processes and doing everything in country to offshoring and embracing digitalisation,” HAE looks for opportunities to keep moving forward. That’s why they are still proudly representing many of the same airline partners and companies that they started with. he added. Having originated in the UK, this willingness to evolve has seen HAE Group branch out into other countries, now operating 25 offices from the Americas through the Middle East and into Africa.

Embracing change Acting as the sales representatives of an airline, GSSAs work to commercialise airfreight capacity and supervise complex local operations. As such, it’s crucial for them to be at the forefront of developments that improve the effectiveness and efficiency of their services. “We are more diverse than we have ever been and you can see this coming through in the ideas and opportunities our team bring to the table. We have also adapted our own business model where we take risk and commitments on our carriers and resell the capacity to give our carriers security. We have also expanded our portfolio to our forward-

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ing, logistics and e-commerce customers who ask us to do more than the standard GSA sale,” Karai stated. Over the past 18-24 months in particular, the airline sector has seen an increased focus on digitalisation, as companies embrace the benefits of technology in streamlining operations. With the market being more competitive than it has ever been, airlines and forwarders are keener than ever to build connectivity for service and cost reasons. This is particularly important in a post-Covid world, where working from home is the norm and business practices have evolved. “Digitalisation is inevitable and we have embraced it, as, for us, it allows a medium sized group be competitive and have an edge of our competitors,” Karai said. “Of course, with hindsight, we should have embraced digitalisation sooner, but the third party costs of many of the systems and customisation have been prohibitive for companies to adopt them.”

Listen and learn Standing out in a crowded GSSA market requires a customer-focused approach. “We spend a lot of time listening to our airline partners, trying to find out what we can do for them and can we do more as their networks rejuvenate,” Karai stated. Conferences and exhibitions play a key role in that now they are returning following the pandemic, improving marketing, both social and traditional. “We have to keep our customers informed and we are in a human business.” “Our centralised and localised marketing means that we can provide information directly to certain customers on social media platforms to keep awareness up or ‘hit the phones’ as the case may be,” he said. Utilising new technology to improve communication with customers saw HAE Group develop its own real selling model on the market (QMS), which can interface with airline


FEATURE

IN and customer systems. It also allows them to track productivity and effectiveness for airlines and customers. “In addition, from a sales process standpoint, every quote we do is measured on whether we won the business and if not why not.” “We are working hard on our latest project to allow our customers to get their own quotes on our services, via a customer portal on the QMS system. The current market means in our experience the quicker you quote the more likely you are to win the business. Our carriers and our customers benefit from this and it’s having its soft launch now,” Karai highlighted.

The UK still presents opportunities Since 2016, the market in the UK has gone through a series of challenges that have presented concerns for businesses. Brexit, inflationary pressure and changes in political leadership have raised questions over whether Britain is still the most desirable location for companies to operate in. However, for HAE Group, which calls East Midlands Airport (EMA) home, they still have confidence in the UK. While finding solutions to the disruption HAE Group has faced wasn’t easy, they managed to ensure continuous employment for its staff during the pandemic, showing them the loyalty that

Always room to grow

of the transaction. The solutions developed by HAE Group have allowed them to adapt and give the customer what they need and provide the airlines with the cargo they require, keeping the process commercially viable for all. Having already spread across multiple regions, HAE Group has identified a number of regions as targets for potential growth, including the Middle East and North Africa, with a number of projects underway.

The last few years might have been challenging for the industry but the difficulties experienced have provided learning opportunities that can be applied to future crises and disruption to ensure smooth operations. “Schedules and frequencies have been affected, as has the change of fleet and even the carriers operating. We have won new business with our ability to retain trade lanes and provide service where others have gone offline. We have also spend a lot of time with our handling and trucking partners to build capability that wasn’t there before to satisfy demand,” Karai stated. GSSAs are no longer just go betweens for airlines and forwarders. They have evolved into service providers in their own right, helping to connect the supply and demand on both sides

In recognition of HAE’s 25th birthday, the company has been engaged in charitable activities to mark the occasion. Employees took on the Yorkshire Three Peaks challenge to raise money for cancer research. “I am very proud of the HAE team when it comes to their social conscience and what’s important to them. The first nine months of this year has been about what they can do to mark the occasion through monthly challenges where others benefit,” Karai said. “This particular charity for this challenge was voted for by the management as a number of families have been affected by this relentless disease. Our target for the UK Team is £3,000 and we are half way there – every little helps.”

they showed the company. “The UK is a mature market but still retains opportunities. Apart from the labour challenges in handling that we have grappled with, being based at EMA has meant that the members of our team are less transient and on our 25th birthday we still have a number of the team who were our first employees” Karai said.

Marking the occasion

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CONSOLIDATING THE CARGO INDUSTRY IN A POST-COVID LANDSCAPE

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irCargoGroup (ACG), a global network of airfreight wholesalers, is focused on helping freight forwarders and logistics providers to enable them to enhance their reach, buying power and product quality. As the world emerges from the restrictions seen over the past few years, ACG is hoping to use air cargo forum (ACF) Miami to focus on consolidating the air cargo industry. “When COVID hit, the importance of consolidating cargo fell to the wayside. We saw airfreight rates increase and capacity decrease. The airfreight competition was so tough that freight forwarders just wanted to get their cargo moving and shopping around for prices wasn’t an option,” Rebecca Foster, network manager of AirCargoGroup said. “Fast forward to 2022, airfreight rates are more stable and capacity with the airlines has increased again – this brings us back into a consolidation market. ACG is an association of neutral airfreight consolidators. That means that we only deal with freight forwarders and

that gives you peace of mind that our members will not deal directly with the end user/ shipper/consignee and cut the freight forwarders out of the business” “Networking is the cornerstone of the ACG. Relationships are what drive our business. If you have a good, strong relationship with your partner you are more likely to be successful because your business matters to them and their business matters to you,” Foster stated, discussing the importance of ACF Miami. “We all learnt how to do business through virtual meetings, but nothing quite compares to standing face-to-face at an exhibition.” “We would like to create awareness around consolidation services and how the ACG can assist freight forwarders by offering the best rates for consolidating cargo on a reliable service,” Foster added. “A lot of the small to medium size freight forwarders walk through these exhibitions and that is our target market, so the exhibitions are extremely beneficial to us.”

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