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The weekly newspaper for air cargo professionals Volume: 17

Issue: 14 14 April 2014

Europe examines ownership T

he European Commis- sion (EC) is examining

several foreign, non-Eu- ropean Union (EU), investments in Euro-

pean airlines. The investments under inves-

tigation include: China’s Henan Civil Aviation and Investment’s (HNCA) stake in Luxembourg’s

cargo-only airline Cargolux, Eti- had Airways’ stake in airberlin; Delta Air Lines’ stake in Virgin Atlantic, and Korean Air’s stake

in Czech Airlines. The Commission has asked the member states of registration for details of how these investments comply with the EC rules on own- ership and control of European airlines. The EC has also warned the Italian government to be vigilant with regard to ongoing negotiations between sharehold- ers of Alitalia and Etihad. It is not the Commission’s inten- tion to prevent foreign investment

in EU airlines, the EC tells Air Cargo Week (ACW), but to ensure a level playing field where appropriate.

Contacting all the affected air-

lines, Virgin Atlantic and airberlin responded. Virgin tells ACW: “We have not received anything from the European Commission on this matter and our operations continue to fully comply with our regulatory obligations,“ while Delta adds: “The Delta, Virgin partnership was examined and cleared by the UK CAA [Civil Avia- tion Authority] in 2013.” Airberlin says: “Etihad Airways has no effec- tive control over airberlin at all. All strategic decisions are been made by airberlin on its own.” Etihad tells ACW: “Our minority equity investments...met all rele- vant regulatory requirements.” According to EU law, a condition

to obtain and maintain an oper- ating licence in the EU is that a member state and/or nationals of the member states own more than 50 per cent. There are no legal time limits for the conclusion of the pending EC investigations. HNCA’s share in Cargolux, which is 35 per cent and valued at $231 million, followed an agreement



reached on 13 December last

year. Luxembourg’s Ministry for Sustainable Development and Infrastructure expected the deal to be concluded by last month with Chinese local and national government approvals. In March 2013, the Czech

Republic government approved the sale to Korean Air of 460,725 Czech Airlines shares, repre- senting a 44 per cent stake in the airline and worth 2.6 million euros.

In 2012, Delta purchased a 49 per cent stake in Virgin Atlantic

after the deal was approved by both the EC and the US govern- ment’s Department of Justice. It was in December 2011 that Etihad announced that it had purchased a 29 per cent stake in airberlin. The EC decision to investi-

gate follows comments made at Lufthansa Cargo’s annual finan-

cial results event, held last month, when the carrier’s outgoing chief exective officer, Karl Ulrich Gar- nadt, called for something to be done about airlines that distorted the market, especially where they had foreign government support.

Air cargo fails say European shippers

Companies feel they are not being heard by the air freight industry, says the European Ship- pers’ Council (ESC). The vast majority of air cargo users claim

that air cargo services do not meet the require- ments and expectations of their customers, according to the ESC. In a new white paper, Airfreight 2020 and

beyond, the ESC has outlined what the air cargo industry needs to do to meet customers’ needs. According to the ESC, customers want to see

the traditional airfreight industry evolve into a more reliable, transparent and door-to-door seamless logistic solution. The ESC also pushes for a paperless future for air cargo, and the adoption of e-freight

practices, such as electronic data interchange messaging or web-based messaging solutions. The ESC said it had seen positive steps over the last couple of years, including the Global Air Cargo Advisory Group’s production of an e-freight roadmap. The ESC is particularly keen to see companies

introduce electronic versions of commercial documents, suggesting that a web-based con-

nection would work for companies of all sizes. Airfreight 2020 and beyond also focused on

customs. The ESC acknowledged that the 2008 introduction of the Authorised Economic Oper- ator had helped, but stressed that the promised trade facilitation had not materialised, and that there remained a lack of trust between shippers and customs administrations.

In order to work more effectively with cus-

toms administrations, according to the white paper, companies need not only to adopt a different mind-set, but to implement a better distribution of financial and security-related data.

The ESC also stressed its support for a more open and transparent surcharge system, creat- ing a clear link between the level of surcharges and independent factors such as the market price for aviation fuel. According to the organisation, the processes and methods of the air cargo industry have not developed in the past two decades. In order to modernise, and to meet customers’ needs, the industry must begin by closing the communi- cation gap between its stakeholders.


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ELITE endorses multilateral AWB

THE Elite Association of Logistic Networks (ELITE) has endorsed the International Air Transport Associa- tion’s (IATA) multilateral electronic air waybill (e-AWB) agreement.

ELITE says it represents over 6,200 independent freight forwarder members in 191 countries. The organisation is committed to rapidly increasing e-AWB use, it says: “We fully support IATA’s ongoing drive

for greater efficiencies

in air cargo. Through WIN we are now offering immediate e-AWB access to our combined membership along with streamlined ability to join IATA resolution 672, via a simple and easy click to agree mechanism.”

WIN is a cloud-based solution designed to provide connectivity for independent freight forwarders.

“Independent forwarders are already reporting to us tangible cost and time savings from e-AWB implementation, and we fully believe this sector will play an important role in helping the air cargo industry achieve its e-AWB penetration targets.”

ELITE comprises 10 logistics networks.



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