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INDUSTRY FOCUSAIRFREIGHT


formal tender process. “Often it is a competitive bid. The


agencies want to make sure they get value for money,” remarked Morgan-Evans. “Procurement has become a bit more


bureaucratic,” commented van der Stichele. This has raised the bar for new forwarders or brokers who want to become involved in this sector. The selection process filters out brokers that do not reach a certain size or cannot provide the requisite financial guarantees. “I think they try to separate companies


that can support an operation. They have learned that they can be let down by suppliers,” he reflected.


Picking airlines When it comes to picking airlines to carry relief goods to disaster areas, criteria varies widely. “There is no set process in the industry about airline selection. Each company has its own rules,” said Hill. Air Partner has strict compliance requirements, besides ethical rules. Carriers that have fallen under sanction or run arms are not eligible. “We will not work with a general sales


agent (GSA) if we have not worked with them before,” added Hill. Elistratov noted that when it comes to


serving remote destinations, options are limited. “Working with non-governmental organisations (NGOs) and pharmaceuticals, there is a desire to ensure we utilise the most cost-effective approach, as the financial resources available to NGOs are mostly generated from donors. Equally, it is of utmost importance that the medicines being


Disaster relief goods on a fully loaded aircraft chartered by Air Partner.


shipped reach their destination in a time-critical fashion, at the right temperature and condition. Therefore, in most cases a route analysis is made in advance from origin to final destination, taking into account quality, transit time and costs,” he added. The recent slowdown in global demand


for airfreight has made it easier to secure capacity, but it can still be an issue, particularly to remote areas and countries with volatile political situations. Brokers found the hunt for available freighters more challenging for the relief effort to Saipan last year, as this took place during the peak season when a lot of freighter capacity had been booked solid. “There are always aircraft available. You


have to dig deep sometimes and work harder,” commented Morgan-Evans. He is concerned about freighter


availability in the future, when AN-12 and IL-76 aircraft will be retired from the market. “At some point there will be a distinct lack of aircraft that are suitable to do relief work,


Preparing for disasters


Airports located close to or in a disaster area play a vital role in humanitarian efforts. The speed at which medicines, materials for shelters, power generators and myriad other goods required pass through their facilities is critical to save lives and bring relief. However, these vital gateways – sometimes the only viable ones – can be part of the problem, especially if their operations have been severely impacted by the catastrophe. Even if an airport has retained full functionality,


many struggle to cope with the burst of activity in the wake of a disaster. Throngs of people dislocated by the emergency, or


being evacuated, sprawl through passenger facilities, while relief organisations rush in goods and equipment, a surge that can easily overwhelm their capacity and clog up the flow of goods. Seasoned logistics operators report that chaotic scenes are common, often featuring crowds camped in


120 May/June 2019


passenger terminals, warehouses and ramps overflowing with relief goods and equipment, and swamped officials sinking under mountains of requests for visas and permits. The challenges are exacerbated by the fact that


airport departments and tenants typically struggle individually with the ensuing frenzy of activity, many of them unprepared for such scenarios. To remedy this situation and encourage a


coordinated approach that bundles competencies and leverages skills at an airport, Deutsche Post DHL (DPDHL) and the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) set up the Get Airports Ready for Disasters (GARD) training scheme, which celebrates its tenth anniversary this year. It brings together all parties in an airport community that are affected by a disaster and the ensuing relief effort, and trains them in disaster readiness. “The objective is to get everybody involved –


aircraft that can land at airstrips that do not have suitable loading equipment,” he warned. “The IL-76 is always the go-to plane,”


remarked Antonov’s Witton. Volga-Dnepr has four modernised IL-


76TD-90VD freighters, which will likely be around for longer, but these are already out of reach for brokers after the airline decided last year to stop working with charterers. This step also reduced brokers’ choice of AN-124s. One possible solution there could be the


deployment of larger drones. Morgan-Evans is certain that these will come into the picture at some point.


All-cargo charters In most cases all-cargo charters are needed in the early stage of the relief effort. Over time, scheduled operations can take up some of the load, as happened in Mozambique once airlines resumed flights to Maputo airport. Moreover, supplies sent by ocean or land eventually reach the afflicted country, reducing the need for freighter flights. Still, the first response is crucial and it


can last for quite some time. In response to last autumn’s typhoons that hit Guam and Saipan, Air Partner moved over 2,000 tonnes of relief cargo from the USA to the stricken islands, which involved more than 30 flights with AN-124 and B747 freighter aircraft as well as the giant AN-225. “Aid projects are usually relatively short


term, but the Ebola crisis went on for six months,” observed Hill.


HLPFI


airport staff, Customs, handlers, police... everybody. Most have not worked with each other,” says Gilberto Castro, director for the Americas of DPDHL’s disaster response team. The training is for higher-level managers and


directors, and bringing them together for a multi-day course is a logistical exercise in its own right. UNDP spearheads the drive, approaching governments and airport authorities. So far, workshops have been held at 45 airports in


23 countries around the world, among them Armenia, the Dominican Republic, Kazakhstan, India, Nepal and the Philippines. The scheme continues to evolve. In 2012, DPDHL


and UNDP added the GARD-plus programme, a refresher course to foster a sustainable approach. More recently they introduced a ‘train the facilitator’ GARD workshop to develop national trainers. In Armenia, the experiences with GARD led to the


establishment of a national strategy and platform for disaster risk reduction that has extended to training of government staff in elements like crisis management and firefighting, as well as safer engineering.


www.heavyliftpfi.com


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