Vol. 11 No. 16                                                                                                               Tuesday February 21, 2012

$5MILL IN LOST REVENUES. Fraport Fiasco!
     The ground workers at Fraport, who guide airplanes in and out of parking positions, are on strike—a result of the newly opened fourth runway, for which the ground workers are still without a new deal. FRA had to cancel about 231 flights on Monday and Tuesday, with revenue losses upwards of $5 million as mentioned.
     The action is threatened to continue until Friday. Talks are continuing, although reportedly no one had yet blinked at noon Tuesday.
     There are approximately 200 workers—about 1% of the workforce at FRA—and as members of the GdF Union, FRA has called on the Union to engage in talks. FRA conducts approximately 1,250 flights daily.
     Lufthansa controls about half the flights at FRA and reports that the impact from the ground handler strike on the carrier “is very small.”
     “Lufthansa Cargo is operating all its scheduled cargo flights; also, Lufthansa Passenger Airlines is operating the majority of its services—and above all, its long-haul flights—as scheduled," a Lufthansa spokesman told FT.
     “Additionally, we do not see any impact of the strike on our cargo bookings,” he added.


     While Air India and other subcontinent carriers continue to report losses and cutbacks, the situation for another nearby state carrier, Pakistan International Airlines (PIA), has turned out to be worse by comparison. PIA has found itself on the critical list, strapped with heavy losses, declining market share and other systemic challenges, and was described by one wag last week as “a microcosm of Pakistan.”
     The woes of PIA are nothing new and have continued for most of the new century, dating back to 2001 when the Afghanistan conflict turned the skies above Pakistan into a war zone.
     That action closed seven major airports and resulted in 21 international carriers suspending service to the country.
     But PIA, with its rich history, tenacity and culture for flying and airline building that dates all the way back to 1946, deserves a better fate than that forecasted by State Bank of Pakistan recently:
     "The situation at PIA has worsened to the extent of rendering this airline almost financially unviable."
     PIA lost 19.29 billion rupees ($212.7 million) in the first nine months of 2011, its most recent reporting period.
     Many of PIA’s 40 aircraft are reportedly grounded due to spare parts shortages as funds dry up, and flights are regularly cancelled due to mechanical problems.
     "Just like PIA has the potential to do well, Pakistan's economy does too.
     “But both haven't because of mismanagement.
     “In the end that is the story—mismanagement," Salman Shah, a former Pakistani finance minister, told Reuters.
     A quick look at PIA’s Board of Directors reveals that most members are politicians, industrialists or bankers.
     The carrier’s managing director since early 2011, Capt. Nadeem Khan Yousufzai is a former pilot who has served at the carrier as First Officer and Captain since 1975, with Instructor Rating on all types of aircraft operated by PIA.
     He is “a VVIP pilot who flew Heads of State and Government,” the PIA website states, and continues:
     “Capt. Yousufzai had been a keen participant in equestrian sports and was the best horse rider and feather weight boxing champion in Cadet College Petaro.
     “He is a clay pigeon shooter and has also earned the title of Mr. Pakistan in body building.”
     One major problem is seen in bloated staff at PIA, which is described as the result of “political favors and outright cronyism.”
     PIA is currently negotiating with the state for yet another rescue package.
     “PIA is a rather sad-sack of an airline,” a source said.
     “Once upon a time, the carrier was the pride of the nation, with others wishing to be in the airline business, like start up Emirates Airline, which actually sought the expertise of, and leased its very first aircraft from, PIA.
     “PIA took delivery in 2006 and was the launch customer that revived the Boeing 777-200LR project that, until PIA bought eight of the aircraft, only had three orders from EVA Air.”

     Fat Tuesday is today, the last day before Lent's 40 days of repentance (between Ash Wednesday and Easter Sunday), and also Mardi Gras in New Orleans, which is currently awash in parades featuring colorful floats and costumes to celebrate carnival and the spirit of the season.
     We have now had a couple years since the BP oil spill, and still further away from that unspeakably horrible hurricane Katrina. It is also only six years until New Orleans 300th Anniversary, and Mardis Gras is playing to larger crowds of tourists who are all over “The Big Easy” this week.
     At Louis Armstrong New Orleans International Airport (MSY), however, the word up for air cargo is not so good, as the old pro, Larry Johnson, air cargo development manager, has retired and departed a once vibrant and pioneering cargo facility, which, in 2012, has dropped cargo off its radar completely as far as we can tell.
     What’s worse, if you look at the MSY website www.flymsy.com, it omits any mention of the words ‘air cargo’ and ‘airfreight’ altogether.
     Clicking the sites’ search button using the words ‘air cargo’ nets zero results.
     Examine a bit further and the only mention of air cargo on the MSY site is “Express Shipping,” with these exact words:
     “A drop off box for Federal Express (FEDEX) and United Parcel Service (UPS) is located across from Travelex America. Hours of pick-up are posted on the drop boxes.”
     It's all a far cry from the days when MSY sported a pioneer air cargo club and was a regular stop for industry executives on the cargo speakers’ circuit.
     To be fair, many U.S. gateways are noticeably disinterested in air cargo these days.
     But the loss of Larry to the natural progression of things (we assume that he is OK and enjoying a well-deserved retirement after thirty-plus years at MSY) and even worse the lack of evidence on MSY’s website regarding the historic culture of air cargo is shocking.
     Recently, New Orleans Mayor Mitch Landrieu (pictured) told the New Orleans Aviation Board:
     “We know we have a long way to go to achieve the world class airport that this City deserves. Our current facility is over 50 years old, and as a result of our crumbling infrastructure and other factors that drive costs up, we’ve seen the cost per enplanement (the cost to airlines to operate service from MSY) increase over the last several years, putting New Orleans at a competitive disadvantage to other cities with lower costs.”
     Again, no mention of a plan or even a passing reference to air cargo in New Orleans.
     All of this brings new meaning to the words of a great jazz standard, and a tune that Louis himself performed:
“Do You Know What It Means To Miss New Orleans?”

     “Our daily, non-stop flights from DFW and SEA offer the fastest routes to the Middle East and beyond.
     “We look forward to helping more American firms enhance their trade ties not only with the UAE, but also with markets in parts of South Asia such as China, South Korea and Japan, and numerous points throughout Emirates’ extensive network in India and Africa.” said Ram Menen, Emirates’ Divisional Senior Vice President Cargo, as Dallas/Fort Worth (DFW)- Dubai (DXB) via B777-200LR flights went non-stop daily on February 2. This will be closely followed by B777-300ER daily services Dubai-Seattle-Tacoma (SEA) International Airport, commencing next month on March 1.
     “When combined with the efficiency of one of the youngest fleets in the skies, unrivaled ground-handling facilities, and the very latest information technology at our Cargo Mega Terminal, Emirates SkyCargo is the ideal partner for Dallas/Fort Worth and Seattle-based businesses as they look to boost trade,” added Menen.
     Emirates North American operations at DFW and SEA join existing flights from New York (JFK), Houston (IAH), Los Angeles (LAX), and San Francisco (SFO), as well as Toronto (YYZ).
     Next on tap EK adds Ho Chi Minh City (June 4th), Barcelona (July 3rd) and Lisbon (July 9th).


     That big Fruit Logistica Berlin event from February 8-10 in Messe Berlin once again delivered the goods and has fast become a peach of a trade show for everybody who attends the yearly gathering. There were big turnouts of fresh produce amidst the halls, and thousands of suppliers and customers went up and down the line and included growers, transportation experts, materials, handling, and others.
     In total, more than 2,400 companies from across the entire fresh produce value chain were present in a single location—including global players as well as small and medium-sized suppliers from all around the world.
     More than 56,000 visitors from 139 countries attended the event.
     Said Messe Berlin COO Dr, Christian Göke: “Fruit Logistica is a top-class premium product characterized by the presence of the industry's key decision-makers as well as by excellent reviews from exhibitors and trade visitors who praised the commercial results achieved at the exhibition.”
     But it is not all beer and skittles at Fruit Logistica.
     The event is all about innovation and pushing the envelope towards new thinking as well.
     For example, at FL, an area called “The Greenery” included a grouping of new, innovative fresh products, including a mini seedless pepper called “Sweet Pepper Power” and a new variety plum tomato branded “Red Egg.”
     If the idea is to get more veggies into people “and the other way around” Fruit Logistica is at the forefront of that movement.
     Yes, Fruit Logistica (like almost every trade show) gives awards, but at least here judges and attendees alike can internalize the winners and judge for themselves.
     And some of the winners are not only interesting, but seem like fun as well.
     A runner up for the Fruit Logistica 2012 Innovation Winner was www.lovemysalad.com.

     It is described as an international social salad network initiated by entrepreneur Rijk Zwaan as a way to help increase vegetable consumption.
     “lovemysalad.com brings consumers and professionals together to inspire each other by sharing their passion for vegetables,” Rijk Zwaan said. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4nvBeRkeCYg
     The Fruit Logistica trade fair also offered specialized sectors connecting the fresh fruit and vegetable business with products across the entire value-added chain, from growing to the point-of-sale.
     Products on show included fresh, unprocessed fruit and vegetables, dried fruit, nuts, herbs and spices, organic products, self-service flowers, and potted plants.
     Also taking place at the Berlin Fairgrounds (as if the Fruit Logistica Expo was not enough) was the Fifth installment of FRESHCONEX, a specialized event for the fresh produce convenience segment that attracted over 11,000 visitors.
     Highlighted by The FRESHCONEX Business Forum, an integral part of the three-day event included meetings presenting information on the latest trends in fresh convenience products.
     Ian Neil, Sales Manager, Perfotec B.V., declared:
     "For us, FRESHCONEX is the most important trade fair in Europe.
     “This is where the whole industry gathers in one place."
     Kell Holm, President and CEO, Fresh-Appeal USA Inc., added:
     "Fresh-Appeal participated at FRESHCONEX four years ago.
     “Now we have a new product that we were able to present perfectly here.
     “We are very pleased with our presence at the show."
     Come September 2012, Asia Fruit Logistica takes off in Hong Kong http://www.asiafruitlogistica.com/en/
The next Fruit Logistica Berlin is set for February 6-8, 2013. http://www.fruitlogistica.de/en/
     The next FRESHCONEX Berlin is also set for February 6-8, 2013. http://www.freshconex.de/en/


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     Florida gets an air cargo airport alternative as Duncan Macdonald, Director of Project Development for United States Sugar Corporation (L), congratulates Florida Cargo Fresh, Inc. CEO, Fred Ford, upon executing an agreement with SugarHill LLC to form a new company known as Airglades International Airport LLC for the purpose of developing and operating a major international air cargo airport in South Central Florida.
     United States Sugar Corp. and Hilliard Brothers of Florida formed SugarHill LLC to combine talent, expertise and resources with Florida Cargo Fresh, Inc., which is headquartered at Miami-Dade International Airport in Miami, Florida.
     United States Sugar Corp. also owns and operates subsidiaries such as Southern Gardens Citrus and South Central Florida Express Railroad.
     Hilliard Brothers of Florida is a major citrus, cattle, and sugar cane grower in South Central Florida.


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