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   Vol. 19 No. 29
Friday April 10, 2020
Project Airbridge Not AirBridgeCargo
Project Airbridge Not AirbridgeCargo

On Sunday, March 29th, Atlas Air operated the first flight for Project Airbridge from Shanghai, China into New York City’s John F. Kennedy International Airport.
     The flight carried 130,000 N-95 masks; nearly 1.8 million surgical masks and gowns; more than 10.3 million gloves; and more than 70,000 thermometers.
     The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) “Project Airbridge” effort to move critical supplies into the U.S. continues at fever pitch via more than 70 all cargo flights scheduled during April alone, utilizing aircraft of only U.S. Flag—UPS, FedEx, Atlas Air and some others.
     Currently emergency medical cargo is moving from China, Malaysia, Mexico, Honduras and elsewhere to Chicago, Miami, Los Angeles, plus into integrator hubs in Columbus and Louisville.

No AirBridgeCargo

     A sidebar to all of this is an all-cargo airline with lots of freighters and 18 of the newest B747-8Fs in the world, AirBridgeCargo (ABC) that apparently is not part of Project Airbridge.
     The company, at last count with a fleet of 21 B747Fs: six B747-400Fs and 18 B747-8Fs, has been under increasing pressure as it reportedly recorded losses of over USD$100 million in 2019.
     So looking to right its business as the world turns, ABC, we suppose, is undoubtedly busy right now utilizing its mighty freighter fleet elsewhere in this very needy coronavirus-infected world.

FEMA Freighters Full

     The FEMA-led freighter effort has come under some criticism by U.S. House of Representatives Democrat lawmakers questioning the relief process.
     Undoubtedly in the rush to do good during a unique time in the history of the U.S., some fault in the process will be found by lawmakers and others.

Days of Future Past

     The Project Airbridge charters of today are reminiscent of the way the aerial China trade first grew in the 1980s with B747-200s flying into Asia empty and returning full of cargo, able to make profits with essentially one-way traffic.

Signal from Noise Simple as ABC

     We wonder, (unless there is a rule that under any circumstance a foreign flag cannot carry FEMA traffic) that AirbridgeCargo Airlines, which today operates 18 of the best, most economically viable U.S.-built B-7478s is not part of the FEMA-led Project Airbridge?
     We hear all day long, how Boeing is a most valuable U.S. manufacturing asset.
     Well, those freighters that are being operated by ABC, kept an awful lot of people in Seattle building airplanes, and the assembly line of the B747 open and running when it otherwise might have been shut down.
     Something about fair is fair, comes to mind here.

The Art of the Deal

     A source told FlyingTypers, “Perhaps this is not just an aircraft issue, but also the airport ground handling, space and road networks which in this case are easier if thrown into the integrator networks.
     “As example, not having to worry about who is going to load in China, when you have your own equipment and staff could in this case make things less difficult.”
     However we wonder if the U.S. did get the best deal for those 72 or who knows how many more relief flights upcoming in 2020?

Do the Math

     One statement in the UPS press release about their 25-flight deal with Project Airbridge stands out:
     “The first charter flights have already arrived, and will continue for the next two weeks.
     “In total, the 25 UPS-managed flights will carry more than three million pounds of materials – the equivalent of 14 full Boeing 747 freighters.”
     So we thought about that one for a moment and wondered:
     Why would anyone book 25 flights on UPS or anybody else for that matter, when it appears that booking the same tonnage on 14 AirBridgeCargo B747-8F frequencies could save the rough equivalent cost of 11 flights?
     Perhaps the aircraft filled with masks and robes and plastic gloves cube out before they weight out?
     UPS offered an explanation:
     “There are a variety of aircraft being used: 767, MD-11, 777, 747-400 and -8, a combination of UPS aircraft, and third party carriers we have chartered.
     “That also explains the 25 flights/14 747 equivalent question, as some of the aircraft are smaller than a 747.”

     In any case, FEMA, fair to say, might have spread the wealth and saved some money at the same time.

Operations will Continue

     Meanwhile, amidst reports the flights will probably be extended beyond the current number, UPS, for its part, seems to have landed the major share of the action.
     UPS said that it will also dedicate space for FEMA in its new healthcare facility in Louisville.

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
Vol. 19. No. 26
PayCargo Freedom In Pandemic
Past Pandemic Air Cargo Could Power The Economy
Air Cargo Delivers The World
Chuckles for March 27, 2020

Vol. 19 No. 27
China Back To Work . . . Sort Of
United Cargo A Dream Of Eagles
Cruise From Hell To Mercy Sailing
Chuckles for April 1, 2020

Vol. 19 No. 28
Who Are Those Masked People
Virus Crisis—Forwarders Get No Respect
Indian Agents in CASS Throwdown
Chuckles for April 6, 2020
QR Cargo For AMS Adds Up

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