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   Vol. 19 No. 25
Tuesday March 24, 2020
Hell Or High Water Cargo Flies
Hell Or High Water Cargo Flies

Jan Krems“Connecting products to people around the world is the United Cargo mission,” said Jan Krems, United Cargo President.
     “That role has never been more crucial than during the current crisis.
     “Our team is working around the clock to provide innovative solutions for our customers and support the global community.
     “Getting critical goods into the hands of the businesses and people who need them most is extremely important right now.
     “To support customers, employees and the global economy, we will initially operate a schedule of 40 cargo charters each week targeting international destinations and will continue to seek additional opportunities.
     “The first of these freight-only flights departed on March 19 from Chicago O'Hare International Airport (ORD) to Frankfurt International Airport (FRA) with the cargo hold completely full, with more than 29,000 lbs. of goods," Jan Krems declared.

Enter The Ghost Airlines

     The China COVID-19 pandemic that exited Wuhan and blanketed the Earth causing unbelievable pain and suffering almost everywhere, has for the airline industry brought one important point front and center. No matter what else happens, come hell or high water, air cargo always flies.
     Just when you might have thought there is no way ahead, the air cargo industry proves once again, down is not out.
     Now comes a new era, albeit short-lived of passenger aircraft carrying freight only.
     Suddenly everybody is in the air cargo charter business!
     But cargo people have always said that their B777s (the 200s especially) were ‘secret freighters’.
     Add those volumetric underbellies of A350s and A330s that can also lift some weight and everyone has the possibility to benefit from what should be premium rates for uplift here and there right now.


All Cargo Virgin Territory

     Suddenly, air cargo people who have always focused on the aircraft hold are now being refocused on the main deck as charter takes over during the pandemic.

Dominic Kennedy in Virgin Cockpit

     On Saturday March 21, Virgin Managing Director Cargo Dominic Kennedy was in the cat-bird seat as pilots (left) Captain Steve Wrigley and First Officer James Bennett ready a VS698 for push back from Heathrow to New York with eleven pallets in the hold.
     “I must say, standing out on the ramp at an eerily quiet Heathrow today really brought home to me the scale of what’s happening here—and added to my feeling of immense pride as I watched our inaugural cargo-only charter get airborne, knowing the aircraft would have otherwise been sat on the ground if not for the herculean effort of our cargo team in making this happen, especially at such short notice and in these challenging times,” Dom declared.

Not All Beer & Skittles

Bill Boesch     But it isn’t all beer and skittles, as TIACA Hall Of Fame and acknowledged air cargo pioneer Bill Boesch, former President of American Airlines points out.
     Bill, who put AA air cargo on the map of the world during his tenure as President of AA Cargo during the 1980s, tells FlyingTypers exclusively:
     “The bottom line is a matter of weight and balances.
     “No passenger weight on the upper deck changes the dynamics of the distribution in weight.
     “So, say you can at most carry 40K in the belly.
     “At $1.5/kg you would lose money or break even.
     “Most of Europe has now waived the ‘use it or lose it’ slot rules like the UK did, so the U.S. carriers don’t need to fly to protect their slots.
     “But flying aircraft at break even affords a lot of benefits to the carrier versus the cost of parking aircraft and caring for them while parked.
     “Keeping an airplane flying allows it to return to line service again quickly when this current shutdown is over.
     ”Now as we enter the era of the ‘Ghost Freighters’, make no mistake, if the yield is there, ghost flights driving use and some revenue is better than parking aircraft out in the desert,” Bill Boesch said.

Cargo Airlift Germany Returns

Carsten Spohr     “We will do everything to maintain the supply chains,” said Carsten Spohr, CEO of Lufthansa.
     Carsten, you might remember, went from the left seat to the top position at Lufthansa Cargo to CEO of the entire airline group.
     “We are working full steam on an air bridge for the whole of Germany,” Carsten proclaimed.
     Right now, we can only wonder why Lufthansa dumped its always-profitable, always-classy Lufthansa Cargo Charter Agency a few years ago in 2013.
     Anybody who ever worked with LCCA chief Christian Fink or with Heide Enfield, Volker Dunkake, Andrew Morch and some others, can attest that this was indeed one of the finest specialist groups ever assembled in the history of air cargo.

Lufthansa Cargo Charter Agency
Lufthansa Cargo Charter Agency also hosted some really wonderful, not-easily-forgotten summer parties for its business partners, held at different locations, including the Vivarium, a beautiful park and children’s zoo from the 1920s located in Darmstadt.
Aside from being great business people, Lufthansa Cargo Charter was also known for its support of charitable causes such as Mothers’ Mercy Home, an orphanage in Kianjogu just outside Nairobi, which is part of the Lufthansa Cargo’s ‘Cargo Human Care’ (CHC) project.

     Right now, that Lufthansa Cargo Charter group of people who today have been scattered to posts everywhere else might have been able, at Tante Ju, to stand up and fill up the bellies of what’s left in the air for the entire airline.

AA Cargo SteaksSaving Some Slots

     Using Pax aircraft for cargo only, makes some sense.
     Now that American Airlines will operate cargo only on its airplanes since it dumped freighters 40 years ago, the bellies of a B-B777 moved between Dallas and Frankfurt on March 21.
     Maybe the first of many, but in any case AA is sending out an appeal, in a move to fill up the bellies of what is left of its narrow body domestic fleet.
     We wonder if they will bring back their reefer meat containers from the 1970s when they operated freighters?
     We sure hope so.

The Skies Are Alive With Charters

     Delta Airlines is flogging cargo only flights aboard its rather small number of passenger A350 and B777 aircraft.
     But apparently as you read this, the first Delta Cargo Charter is yet to take wing.
     Cathay Pacific and Cathay Dragon, which have slashed capacity by 96% across their passenger network in April and May is maintaining its freighter network and putting as much cargo as possible on its bare bones, three flights a week to 12 destinations-Pax offering during the time frame.
     Over at IAG, CEO Willie Walsh proclaimed:
     “Our intention is to try and keep as much of our capacity available for critical supplies that need to be shipped around the world.”
      Korean Air said that it will operate belly-hold cargo only flights to Qingdao beginning on March 21.

Vietnam & India A Choice Move?

     Meantime speaking of cargo traffic movements, it might be useful to look for a moment all the way back to February 10th when sixty-four percent of the logistics industry shakers & movers surveyed for the 2020 Agility Emerging Markets Logistics Index said that “a recession is likely in the next 12 months.”
     Only 12% of the 780 respondents said a recession was unlikely.
     But here’s the thing, the Agility Index also found that seventy percent of those with operations and investments in China said that they will stay put, but if they were to move production or sourcing from China, that Vietnam and India were the top choices of places to relocate.

Things To Come?

     Now that China has changed the game of life as most of us on this planet know it, wonder what that survey would say, barely one month later?
     Interestingly the last and at this point possibly the final industry trade show for 2020 (although we hope not) was held during February when Air Cargo India met in Mumbai.

If You Missed Any Of The Previous 3 Issues Of FlyingTypers
Access complete issue by clicking on issue icon or
Access specific articles by clicking on article title
FT031620Vol. 19 No. 22
Virgin Moves As Pandemic Deepens
Whatever It Takes
Donna Mullins—Ten Outstanding Women In My Life
Scoot Cargo Into China

FT031720Vol. 19 No. 23
CNS April Partnership Cancelled

FT032020Vol. 19 No. 24
The World United
FIATA Door Open To Busan Fall Meet
Big Purple Profits Down Demand Is Up

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