Vol. 13 No. 12                                                                                                                                    Monday February 3, 2014

Baggage Belt Fire Video

bag checked by a passenger booked on Bangkok Airways flight PG931 bound for Phnom Penh, Cambodia on Tuesday, January 28th caught fire while being placed on a conveyor belt by a baggage handler.
The preliminary result of the investigation carried out by the Thai CAA, the airport authority of Bangkok’s Suvarnabhumi International airport and Bangkok Airways revealed that the bag in question contained what its owner described as “organic fertilizer samples”; a product which is known to have explosive, oxidizing and spontaneously combustible properties and one which is regulated by the IATA Dangerous Goods regulations (either as UN 20714 in class 9, UN 2067 in Division 5.1 or in pure form as UN 0222 in Division 1.1D) as forbidden for air transport.
     Classification depends on the specific product in question.

Ducked A Bullet

     The fire caused only slight damage to the conveyor belt system. However authorities openly worried that had the fire developed in the aircraft's baggage hold during the flight, this incident could have resulted in a serious or even catastrophic situation.

Question Of Understanding

     While many products that are present in everyday life have properties which make them subject to the requirements of the IATA Dangerous Goods Regulations, all too often the users of these products are unaware of the exact nature of these goods and do not associate innocuous products such as “organic fertilizers” with dangerous goods that are prohibited from being carried in passenger baggage, and strictly regulated when shipped as cargo.

Need To Educate All Around

     With the above video footage of the fire available – has come demand for tighter security checks at Bangkok International, but in truth what has been uncovered in this incident is a black hole in the system.
     The problematic chemical and physical properties of the material in question could only have been determined by either subjecting the package to an examination by gas chromatography or evaluating the Material Safety Data Sheet (MSDS) for the substance in question, provided there is one and that the manufacturer has listed all relevant data in the correct manner.
     In other words, many commodities that are forbidden for transport in passenger baggage cannot be readily identified by ordinary airport security checks.

Fat Lot Of Good That Will Do

     Airports of Thailand (AOT), owner and operator of Suvarnabhumi International which owns the baggage system that was damaged in this incident, has pressed charges against the passenger, a Thai national for carrying a forbidden substance within his baggage.
     Stay Tuned.

Lufthansa Trending Upward

Andreas Otto Lufthansa Cargoe joined Dr. Andreas Otto, member of the Executive Board at Lufthansa Cargo, for his annual “Meet The Trends” event in Frankfurt on January 30, just after he had hosted a two-day customer conference.
The events were held at The Aircraft at Burghof, featuring a lively, stylized aircraft interior, that we imagined could also serve as a unique and uplifting venue for a wedding or all-night dance party.
     But if having some fun and getting down to do an A380 tango at a press conference can be on the menu, the hosting here was perfect, the venue discreet, and unlike some other travel this flight of fancy saw everybody sitting first-class while the outside slipped silently past our shaded windows.

The News

     The good news first:
     Utilizing a variety of forecasts (Global Insight World Overview supplied information on global GDP, the Ifo German Institute showed an uptick in German business confidence, and Seabury Trade Data Base and IATA showed air freight tonnage growth), Dr. Otto reported it is indeed “a very different picture from last year.” He was “optimistic going forward” given the global growth potential which “hasn't been seen in years.” His target for 2014 was a 5 percent increase in tonnage, all without any increase in capacity.
     If those numbers hold at say 5%, Lufthansa Cargo in 2014 will outperform recent business uptick predictions of IATA.
     Despite “straw- in- the- wind” as those predictions can be, Lufthansa Cargo could more than double the 2.1% industry-wide forecast being floated by the Geneva bean counters.
     Dr. Otto added, “We will carefully watch the market, utilizing 16 MD11Fs, but can quickly bring back 2 MD11F if the market meets our expectations.
     “A key approach is to be careful to manage how the business develops in the course of the year.”

Numbers Versus Image

     Listing a number of contributing factors, Dr. Otto mentioned the corporate Lufthansa Group share price being up 20 percent in January 2014, backed by record passenger traffic (80 percent load factor and 85 percent on time flights) and service improvements.
     Dr. Otto noted that despite the significant employment numbers the airline generates, the industry image in the public opinion “is not getting better,” adding to numerous external challenges the business continues to face.
     Looking at its top four markets, Dr. Otto said he “is happy with the Lufthansa Cargo share on a global basis, especially citing a 25 percent increase in China to Europe traffic since 2012.
     “The bottom line is that Lufthansa Cargo remains profitable in a difficult market environment, as reflected in operating results,” beating Air France/KLM Cargo, Singapore Airlines Cargo, and Cargolux as “the rest of the industry looks critical.”
     “The challenge is to continue the momentum, and keep the airplanes (including newly inducted B777Fs) full and busy.”
     Summarizing developments, Dr. Otto highlighted the Lufthansa Cargo 2020 project, touting its “secure market position” and touching on the ongoing fleet upgrade: “B777F is the best and most expensive aircraft in the industry” and continues to make the FRA hub more attractive and competitive. It fosters lean logistics and creates a quality level that can be measured in terms of on-time deliveries and effectiveness in the “digital supply chain.”
     The eCargo initiative increased from 45,000 air waybills in 2013 to 200,000 by the end of 2014, and is projected to reach 2 million by 2020!
     Dr. Otto revealed that Lufthansa Cargo realized a 12-13% price increase but had been hoping for 20% .
     A bit of opitimism was discovered as now Lufthansa Cargo customers are saying, "they are optimistic about growth in 2014.”
     Dr. Otto acknowledged that although Lufthansa Cargo has “a huge belly capacity, the freighter fleet including the recently inducted B777Fs with more to come in 2014 are still needed and central to the carrier’s business plan “for the foreseeable future.”

Planning Ahead

     FlyingTypers asked Dr. Otto to elaborate on the recurring theme of efficiency and optimization, that were central to last year’s (2012 ) “Meet the Trends,” gathering which had promoted special products, new service channels, advanced margin management, and IT modernization. In his response Dr. Otto said, "Express products are on the increase (+10 percent in QTD) and will be relaunched [eFlash].
     “Regarding margin managements, we moved from actual to chargeable weight and changed our processes accordingly.”
     In terms of cooperations, Dr. Otto said, “It is expected that the CEO, Karl-Ulrich Garnadt, will present, as a minimum, one partner in 2014, around mid-year,” which Dr. Otto expected would have “a huge impact on the business and the markets.”
     In an unrelated context, he mentioned he “didn’t recall having any such conversations [regarding partnerships] in the past 15 years, and although nothing specific has been concluded,” he said FedEx had been conducting some discussions with a number of legacy carriers, including Lufthansa Cargo.

Chuckles for February 3, 2014


Southwest Aruba Jamaica service

     Maybe it’s because we experience a kind of “cabin fever” in the U.S.A. around this time of year, as for all of January we found ourselves frozen amid Arctic air and snowfall, but Southwest Airlines that changed the domestic landscape here, now will ramp up international services beginning July 1.
     The service begins with Aruba, Jamaica and Bahamas service from Atlanta and Washington (BWI) with no end in sight for opening new markets.
     Perhaps it's not time for primetime launching to the tropics in Summer, but at least we’re one step closer to shaking up the skies all the way to Kokomo.

Get On Board Air Cargo News FlyingTypers
For A Free Subscription
Click Here To Subscribe


Eastern Airlines

     Last week a group in Miami, which reportedly included some Chinese investors, filed for obtaining a 121 certificate. Eastern Airlines, which once filled up airports like MIA & ATL (pictured circa 1990) and single-handedly invented the “Air Shuttle” concept (between LGA and DCA), attempts a Summer of 2014 start up.
     Eastern is going back into the skies if it can get some new Airbus aircraft, or maybe even some China-built regional jets; as its name implies, it would fly some east coast U.S. routes to Latin America and elsewhere.
     The idea that Eastern would use Chinese jets seeking market sales to carriers outside of China is especially intriguing, recalling that 35 years ago the “old” Eastern took a new airplane from a start-up company in Europe called Airbus when it ordered a fleet of the untried A300B4s.
     The rest (for Airbus) is history.
     Based in Miami in some former Eastern Airlines hangars on the 36th street side of the field, the new Eastern Airlines would again carry aloft the proud name of an airline once led by iconic aviators, including Eddie Rickenbacker and Frank Borman.

If You Missed Any Of The Previous 3 Issues Of FlyingTypers
Click On Image Below To Access

FT012714 FT012914 FT013114