More challenges, opportunities 22

ahead for air carriers By Karen E. Thuermer

One of the successful business sectors benefiting air cargo is perishables. Not only has the increase in global population resulted in higher demand; more people have money to spend on fresh perishables from around the world. Enter COVID-19 and a ramp

up for a vaccine to counter the pandemic. The rush to distribute the vaccine will also put pressure on air cargo and the cold chain. According to the International Air Transport Association (IATA), to transport one vaccine dose to 7.8 billion people will require the capacity of 8,000 747 cargo aircraſt. A survey by Air Cargo News found that the air cargo industry is expecting to face capacity shortages when a Covid-19 vaccine is developed and needs to be transported around the world. Meanwhile, people want their perishables.


Derrick Chengery, in charge of Airport Excellence & Cargo for American Airlines Cargo, reports that AACargo is working to be fully prepared when the rush of vaccines come on the market. Many of AA’s widebody aircraſt have remained in service during the pandemic to help operate the airline’s cargo-only network. In September over 1,000 flights were scheduled. “Our vast network of

climate-controlled storage space — including a 25,000 square foot facility at Philadelphia International

In recent months, AACargo has

broken records on its cargo-only flights for some single-shipment weights: 118,687 pounds of soybean seeds on a B777-300 from Buenos Aires (EZE) to Miami (MIA) on April 26; 110,282 pounds of cherries from Los Angeles (LAX) to Sydney (SYD) on July 31, also operated with a B777-300. “This September, we

Airport — will

support in keeping vaccinations safe while in transport,” Chengery says. “Meanwhile, our aviation maintenance technicians regularly perform maintenance on all stored aircraſt, allowing us to easily return planes to the skies should we need greater capacity for vaccine distribution.” Noteworthy, AACargo is

distinguished with the CEIV Pharma certification, which IATA awards to air carriers that have established the tools, procedures and staffing to ensure pharmaceutical products are properly handled and arrive at their destination with full efficacy. Simultaneously, American’s

celebrated our largest shipment aboard a cargo-only B777-300 flight, weighing in at more than 125,000 pounds and including 112,349 pounds of fresh fish and 10,931 pounds of vegetables,” Chengery reports. Air Canada continues to

evolve its cargo-only network and ready itself to accommodate emergency supplies including vaccines. The carrier is CEIV Pharma certified. Meanwhile, shipments of perishables have remained steady for Air Canada. “That is with dips and spikes based on regional lockdowns and pandemic measures that affect the economy,” reports Matthieu Casey, Director Cargo Revenue Management & Business Strategy, Air Canada. “There was a dip in demand for lobster to Asia at the start of the pandemic due to restaurants being closed.” Casey maintains that the

Air Canada continues to evolve its cargo-only network and ready itself to accommodate emergency supplies including vaccines. (Air Canada photo.)

that could have had a significant negative impact. “Canada imports thousands

of bees each spring to help fertilize crops,” he says. “Without these shipments, crops across Canada would

have been

severely impacted. By working with groups like Agriculture and Agri-food Canada as well as bee exporters and importers, we were able to transport thousands of bees from New Zealand on a single flight, something that would have been impossible under normal circumstances. The conversion of some B777

and A333 Air Canada passenger aircraſt to accommodate cargo flights was an important response. “This allowed us to provide more capacity on cargo-only flights not only for materials like PPE, but for perishables from Israel and South America,” Casey adds. Korean Air has been actively

using the belly space of its grounded passenger aircraſt such as B777-300, B787-9, and A330- 300. Today 23 pure freighters from a total of 164 aircraſt are in full operation.

perishables business remains robust. “From salmon to cherries

to soybeans, we’ve been busy meeting the world’s needs during these unpresented times,” Chengery.

grounding “From April to September

greatest challenge for the carrier was losing passenger capacity from Latin America. “But this also presented us with an opportunity to establish cargo-only flying on these routes,” he adds. Casey recounts how the of

aircraſt caused disruptions in the supply chain

2020, Korean Air operated passenger aircraſt about 420 times per month to transport cargo only, averaging 12,000 tons per month,” reports Penny Pfaelzer, spokesperson. “And we are ready to utilize more grounded passenger aircraſt.” Pfaelzer points out

how overall cargo demand has been reduced due to worldwide lockdowns, the weakened global economy, and the prolonged US-China trade war. “However, cargo rates rose in the second quarter due to a dramatic drop in the supply of passenger jet’s belly cargo as well as an increase in the demand for emergency transportation, such as infection control kits,” she says.


The New Zealand government has

decided to extend its

International Air Freight Capacity scheme to end of November, which pleases Air New Zealand. The scheme adds capacity to maintain trade links with global markets

to enable essential

imports such as medical supplies and high value export cargo as well as providing financial support for international airfreight carriers to guarantee airfreight

capacity on key

routes with airline and carrier agreements. According to Air New Zealand

officials, this equates to nearly 700 flights. “With the assistance of the New

Zealand Ministry of Transport, our continued flying through the IAFC agreement has been instrumental

in helping vital

export industries like produce, seafood, chilled meats and flowers maintain international trade at a time when many other global supply chains have been severely disrupted,” says Air New Zealand Manager of Global Cargo Sales Alex Larsen. Air New Zealand has

maintained flights to its primary export destinations from New Zealand including Los Angeles, San Francisco, Shanghai, Hong Kong, Tokyo, Sydney, Melbourne, and the Pacific Islands. “It’s also meant we’ve had access to a further 50 export destinations beyond these markets through connections with our other airline and trucking partners

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Issue 7 2020 - FBJNA


WFS launches Project Coldstream

Worldwide Flight Services (WFS), the world’s largest air cargo handler, has launched Project Coldstream to co-ordinate its response to the anticipated global transportation of some 16 billion doses of COVID-19 vaccine, expected to commence in late 2020 and continue through 2021/2. According to the International

Air Transport Association (IATA), the industry expects this to be the largest airliſt of a single commodity ever, requiring the equivalent capacity of 8,000 747 aircraſt. Headed by taskforce

leader, Mike Duffy, WFS’ EVP Innovation, and supported by senior operations, commercial and communications specialists across WFS’ global network, Project Coldstream is working closely with airlines, forwarders and logistics providers, government agencies and industry


such as Pharma.Aero and The International Air Cargo Association (TIACA) to clearly understand temperature and

handling requirements. The group will be responsible for developing in-house solutions to the challenge, ensuring the preparedness of WFS’ pharma handling capability, devising plans for additional capacity where needed, and working closely with WFS’ airline customers. WFS’ multi-million Euro

investments in a network of temperature-controlled pharma handling facilities at strategic airport locations around the world over the past two years means it has already earned preferred partner status with many of the world’s biggest transporters of pharmaceuticals and medical devices. WFS currently operates 12

dedicated pharma facilities in Amsterdam, Barcelona, Brussels, Cape Town, Copenhagen, Frankfurt, Johannesburg, London, Madrid, Miami, New York JFK, and its €10 million state-of-the-art Pharma Centre at Paris CDG. These facilities are all either IATA CEIV or Good Distribution Practice (GDP) certified or compliant.

Air Partner prepares for peak season, vaccine

Air Partner is preparing to aid in the quick and efficient delivery of COVID-19 vaccines and other essential cargo during the anticipated tight peak season. The global aviation services group has already carried out hundreds of charter cargo flights in the fight against pandemic. “Careful advance planning

is well underway in the air transport industry to ensure that capacity needs can be met for any large-scale delivery of potential COVID-19 vaccines around the world, in addition to the high demand of commodities that surge in the fourth quarter due to the holiday season and end-of- year contracts,” said Jack Burt, vice president of U.S. cargo at Air Partner. “While some vaccines and related materials will be able to be transported by land, air cargo will be vital in reaching international locations without local manufacturing capabilities, and Air Partner is ready to assist in that key role.”

With access to any size cargo

aircraſt, including those ideally suited for the shipment of pharmaceutical and medical supplies, as well as the most advanced temperature- controlled containers, Air Partner’s global freight team is well-equipped to meet the specific transport needs for sensitive and time-critical items such as COVID-19 vaccine- related supplies, materials and equipment. This includes adhering to highly regulated and temperature-controlled specifications, as evidenced by the company’s recent work in the urgent transportation of more than 5,000 experimental COVID-19 test kits from South Korea to Washington, D.C. Boasting a global network

of offices, such as a recently opened location in South Africa, Air Partner’s freight team can help clients reach any destination in the world - including smaller, more remote and unimproved locations.

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