(Exclusive)—As the first Air Cargo Africa trade show
called it a wrap late last week in Nairobi, Kenya, we spoke to people
on the ground that said a new show in a new town was just the ticket to
jumpstart the industry trade show season in 2011.
Batten, Executive Vice President of Global Cargo at Swissport, had this
to say about Air Cargo Africa:
“I was in NBO 3 days for the entire
conference, which is the first in the region and pivotal in many respects
as Africa holds huge potential for Swissport.
“We have a very solid business today
in South Africa, Algeria, Tanzania and Kenya.
“In Kenya our new Swissport warehouse
operation is worth mentioning; it opened last November and represented
a USD 10 million dollar investment.
“At the award dinner we won ‘Air
Cargo Handler – Africa,’ which was a pleasant surprise and
shows that our operations are providing the quality needed for the African
“But to be perfectly honest, I still
feel we need to improve a number of areas, which is why our message in
Africa was to continue to strive for better consistency of service across
all Swissport locations worldwide.
“Also, as we expand in Africa we will
bring to market more innovation in terms of technology and systems.
“Looking at Air Cargo Africa, what
surprised me about the conference was the quality of attendees for the
first event of its kind.
“The conference itself was reasonable,
but too much time was spent talking around the different tracks by the
event leaders, although the MC, Aaron Heslehurst, was at his best as always.
“Likewise, awarding gifts for the
attendees at the end of the sessions was laborious, but a nice touch.
“People were talking about the challenges
Africa faces and the need to build on all levels from aviation to facilities,
government and infrastructure, with IATA guiding the way.
Kenyan/African market is extremely buoyant but demands a lot as it is
driven primarily by perishables. Kenya has committed to change and to
upgrading the airport facilities and had the Minister of Transport, The
Honorary Amos Kimunya, (left) in attendance to enforce the commitment
to the industry.
“Likewise, a number of new warehouses
are being built to improve the general quality at the airport, although
this is sadly lacking in other locations where governments still run ground
and cargo handling companies in the region.
“The infrastructure in these airports
is not good and a lot of change needs to happen and hopefully movement
to Swissport in the future,” John Batten said.
Ram Menen DVSP at Emirates SkyCargo, told FT:
“Africa is the next frontier with
great potential and opportunities.
“Good show, good conference, good
quality turn out.
“There has been lots of interest and
the networking opportunity was great!” Ram Menen said.
“These are great times for us.
“Trade in Africa is diverse and it
is proving to be a major hub for air cargo.
“Infrastructure here is still a challenge
for us, but we are seeing African governments addressing this and it should
improve,” he said.
Emirates operates a freighter four times
weekly into Nairobi while also serving 15 African destinations including
Lilongwe, Entebbe, Lagos and Dakar.
If you have some cargo and need an African
connection, chances are
Airlines Cargo’s Tewolde Gebremariam (“Call me Tewo”),
who is also the carrier’s CEO, can make some sense in terms of “reliability,
capability and price.”
“With a varied and growing eet of
freighters, Ethiopian can tailor a program to suit any need,” Tewo
“Tewo’s bold vision is for Ethiopian
Cargo to “become a market leader as a world class African cargo
airline in 10 to 15 years.”
“We currently operate seven dedicated
freighter aircraft (four MD-11F, three B757F and one AN-12 aircraft).
“At the same time we have transformed
our hub (ADD) into one of the best cargo operations in Africa, offering
the full menu of services including cold rooms, automation and 24/7 security.
“There is room to grow with Ethiopian
Cargo,” Tewo declared.
in Nairobi, Kenya, Peter Scholten, (right) VP Commercial Saudi Airlines
Cargo Company, told Flying Typers:
“The Nairobi event on balance has
“Attendance is adequate, the conference
is not huge, but the players are here and although the facilities are
what they are, everyone seems happy to be discovering ‘a new market.’”
“Moderators have been good and discussions
“The big thing about Africa is that
people are looking for the next China or India and so Africa in many ways
just fills that bill.
“For me, I have lived in Nairobi,
so it’s good to be back home.
“Saudi Arabian Airlines Cargo Gateway
Jeddah, if you look at a map, is very close to Africa; in fact only 40
minutes by air.
“Jeddah serves as a natural hub for
Africa for a growing number of our services, including into Nairobi, which
will increase later this year.
“Saudi Arabian Airlines is rapidly
expanding flights across Africa, including the northern part of the continent
where we operate all the way from Casablanca to Egypt.
“Most recently we concluded an agreement
to operate nearly 60 charters from Dubai to Lagos, Chad and other destinations.”
Enfield, Head of Marketing and PR at Lufthansa Charter, noted that the
full day exhibits on Tuesday and Wednesday and half-day exhibit on Thursday
were “surprisingly successful for a first time event.”
“Lots of quality contacts and a good
amount of visitors.
“For us to be in Nairobi confirmed
our view that the African market is interesting and growing.
“Of course the unrest in some other
parts of Africa was one of the top issues of discussion that people talked
about in the exhibit area.
“During the exhibition we collected
monies to support Lufthansa Cargo's 'Cargo Human Care' project, Mothers’
Mercy Home in Nairobi.
“Mothers’ Mercy is an orphanage
with 98 children and a medical center.
“We raised funds by raffling a Lufthansa
Cargo Charter B747-400 1:100 scale model as a prize.
“The motto was: ‘Make Children
Smile - Donate a Future - Win a Jumbo Jet!’
“The effort turned out well as Air
Cargo Africa attendees helped us raise over €500EUR.
“Thursday, after the show ended, we
packed up and then Volker Dunkake (right) and I drove to Mothers’
Mercy's Home to visit the children and present the monies raised.
“Mothers’ Mercy was quite impressive
as are the people of Kenya.
“In this job I have travelled a lot,
but the friendliness and warmth of the people we met in Nairobi was something
I have never experienced before to such an extent.
“Everybody made us feel warmly welcomed,
the staff in the hotel felt like family on the second day already, and
even in the street or around the exhibition center a lot of people just
gave us a smile and an hello.”
John Ryan, (left) Regional Sales Director
of Airline Services International (USA), told FlyingTypers “We learned
that everyone must include China amongst the many nations seeing the great
potential in various parts of Africa,”.
“We thought the Air Cargo Africa show
was very good; there weren’t huge crowds, however, there were many
good, quality contacts and much potential for future growth.
“Top discussions here were, of course,
the Africa air cargo market as well as communications, security services,
beyond gateways and markets outside of just Kenya.
“Nairobi is a busy city with many
“Our overall impression is that is
was well worth the week we spent here, especially amidst talk of possibilities
for business that was very upbeat,” John Ryan said