Vol. 10 No. 69                       THE GLOBAL AIR CARGO PUBLICATION OF RECORD SINCE 2001               Tuesday July 19, 2011

BRU Cargo Summer Horror Show

     The situation at Brussels Airport is far from clear or a done deal, in true divided Belgian fashion.      Aviapartner has provided passenger and cargo handling at Brussels and lost it all; or have they? As of November 1, they can no longer put a foot on the ramp (pax and cargo). The Aviapartner staff 24-hour strikes indeed created a terrible confusion at the airport. They went back to work after a series of meetings with Brussels Airport, Swissport and Flightcare where promises were made that all jobs would be spared and people would be taken over by Flightcare or Swissport. It is likely Brussels Airport is trying to buy time; with the holiday season approaching, they hope to keep things rolling while giving Swissport the time needed to get things organized. Flightcare is also feeling more than uneasy about the situation; it remains to be seen if they will not lose clients to Swissport, from whom they can expect much stronger competition. Aviapartner has gone to court in an attempt to cancel Brussels Airport’s decision, yet on the face of it they have only a minor chance to have it reversed.
     The Belgian federal government has since ordered a detailed review of the tender procedures. It also has asked that the airport not sign the contract with Swissport until the results of the examination become available. This is a rather unusual development that risks opening a Pandora’s box. It also turns the whole principle of a fair tender on its head; if one doesn’t like the outcome, simply attempt to overturn it by legal manoeuvring after the fact – a bad precedent. Equally critical - would the airport risk sidestepping all the rules in such an important EU tender? Not surprisingly, the unions are fighting this tactic because they want full transparency fearing that delays will be detrimental to the Aviapartner staff; they need clarity in terms of which entity will take over their contracts. All the same, Aviapartner also elected to take its case to the courts to fight the decision. How all this will impact any orderly transition while maintaining reliable and quality services is anybody’s guess.
     These newest developments point in another direction as the court has since declared in an abridged proceeding that Brussels Airport cannot sign any contract with Aviapartner or Flightcare, or for that matter, take any action which might be to the disadvantage of Aviapartner until the court has the opportunity to investigate the tender process in detail. It goes without saying that this can take anywhere from months to years.
     To make it even more confusing and convoluted, it has been announced that the existing concessions will eventually be extended beyond the end of October, or until a final decision is rendered by the court. If this is in the realm of possibility, why bother with a lengthy tender in the first place?
     Not to be left out, Swissport Belgium is now also going to court, seeking an injunction to try and reverse the court’s first decision. Who’s on first base? And just when it looked like it couldn’t possibly get much worse, according to a report in the financial press, “Swissport declares war on Aviapartner”! I hope no one gets shot at for real.
     Furthermore, a Swissport executive is quoted as stating that Aviapartner has lost concessions to Swissport in other EU countries (Spain, France, Cyprus and Germany - MUC) and that Aviapartner should evaluate their situation in light of these facts. While in response, Aviapartner complains that Swissport has allegedly calculated their cost based on the clients they expect to have in BRU and not on the current volume of Aviapartner, therefore the 10-15 percent lower costs projected by Swissport were misleading…
     Now, total confusion reigns and only time will tell how this will end.
Ted Braun

All in the family . . . Geoffrey & Geoffrey II with Ralph A. O’Neill in Atherton, California, 1980.

(Editor’s Note)—Once upon a time in 1980, I asked my friend Ralph O’Neill what he thought of "An American Saga," the unofficial biography of Pan American Airways founder Juan Trippe.
     O’Neill, who founded NYRBA, The New York Rio & Buenos Aires Airline, which was much bigger than Pan Am, had lost NYRBA to Trippe in 1930 after the stock market crashed less than a year before.
     O’Neill never got over it – not even 48 years later, and he said:
     “The Saga book is a gas: mellifluous and malodorous.”
     Thinking back on what Ralph said and how he twisted the word “Saga” around always makes me laugh.
     In any event, if you have some time and can find it—Ralph’s book, "A Dream of Eagles," is great, two-fisted good guys/bad guys summertime reading.
     One of the great moments in the book recalls when Ralph, who was a WWI fighter “Ace,” went to work for Bill Boeing and ended up falling in love and marrying Mr. Boeing’s executive secretary, Jane Galbraith.
     Ralph and Jane were married for at least 50 years and during the early years she flew everywhere aboard Ralph’s NYRBA S38s and Consolidated Commodores.
     Talk about a match made in heaven.

      But back to air cargo… the news that handler Swissport was taking over ground cargo at Brussels Airport recently made the rounds in most publications earlier this year, including this one. (Related story)
     But as our intrepid senior contributing editor Ted Braun reports here, the rest of the Brucargo Saga may be turning into a Summer 2011 horror show.


Alas Atlantis Last Flight

     The greatest air cargo vehicles to fly out of this world are down to just one final flight: Atlantis blasted off on July 8 from Cape Canaveral in front of one million people.
     For the past thirty years, the USA space program has brought the thrill of victory and also the agony of loss as it carried our most precious cargo into the depths of space.
     But each flight renewed a sense of adventure as humans flew on yet another voyage of discovery.
     Just like the loss of the Concorde a few years back, a future without these regular space adventures seems unthinkable.
     But as Richard Garriott of Austin, Texas, a man with the resources to have paid to travel aboard a Soyuz spacecraft to the International Space Station last October, says:
     “Many have said that this is the end of America's human spaceflight program.
     “This isn't true.
     “The shuttle era has ended, but a new era of human exploration has already begun.
     “In the future NASA will be buying launch services in the same way it purchases satellite launches:
     “The makers of these new vehicles can now sell flights to customers not associated with NASA.
     “The new era will include frequent visits to space by numerous private citizens via suborbital rockets provided by Virgin Galactic/Scaled Composites, Space Adventures/Armadillo Aerospace, X-Cor and others.
     “Ahead, NASA leads exploration to asteroids, moons and planets with private enterprise supporting NASA's

mission of science and exploration, and follows behind to build lasting commerce and habitation beyond the Earth.
     “This is good for NASA, the vehicle makers and anyone who believes, like I do, that they can create business opportunities in space.
     “My company, Space Adventures, has already flown seven private citizens to the space station and has a circumlunar mission planned in a few years.
     “Entrepreneurs are now planning missions to follow NASA's leadership and return the value back to Earth.
     “Also, more flights mean more results, lower costs, more safety, more profits and more jobs.
     “That is good for space exploration and good for America.”
     We wonder how long it will take before those ‘lower costs’ take effect – it seems a trip to space nowadays is reserved for the wealthy elite. At least with the space shuttle flights, we could take pride in the workaday joes and janes who pledged their curiosity and their lives to the stars.
     As the Space Shuttle era closes and the various intergalactic air cargo vehicles are retired to museums around the USA, we celebrate the 30 years of their service and recall the men and women – those we lost aboard Challenger and Columbia, and those that met the moon up close and personal.
Thanks for the ride.


     Belgian Liege Airport has opened a new 812 m_ (8,740 ft_) perishables center to accommodate its growing business in this segment. Apart from being TNT’s European hub, the airport acts in the same capacity for Ethiopian Airlines Cargo, which mainly takes perishables on its northbound flights. Other main ‘providers’ of fruits and vegetables are Israeli carriers El Al Cargo and Cargo Air Lines (CAL).
     The new perishable center, laid out in an existing warehouse, is to be considered an extension to the (EU) Border Inspection Post inaugurated in 2003. Apart from perishables, Liege Airport is gaining an important market share in live horses. In 2010 Liege Airport handled 1,237 horses, 2,758 tons of fish and 963 tons of lobster. In all, the perishables and live stock infrastructure of Liege Airport amounts to over 1,500 m_ (16,145 ft_). With a volume of 639,434 metric tons in 2010, Liege Airport was 8th in the ACI ranking of European cargo airports. It is also the best performing Belgian cargo airport, trailing Brussels (476,135 tons in 2010).


     “Saudi Airlines Cargo African freighter network currently covers Johannesburg, Nairobi, Addis Ababa, Khartoum, Ndjamena, and Lagos now that the carrier has increased its capacity from 3 weekly flights to daily B747 freighter flights to Lagos, Nigeria.
     “Lagos flights operate from Riyadh Hub and connect with the carrier’s weekly 25 freighter flights from Far East and Europe into Riyadh Hub,” says Shihab Al-Amoudi, Head of Global Communications & Advertising and Media Spokesperson of Saudi Airlines Cargo.
     “Lagos is the fastest growing destination in our network and an important milestone in increasing our presence in Africa.
     “Operating 12 freighters whilst utilizing belly-capacity on 125 passenger aircraft, we are rapidly expanding a global network of 225 destinations.
     “We are planning more destinations in Africa as we grow our network.”



July 28, 2:00 p.m.
For ATA Webinar

     Lisa Schoppa (CO/UA), President of Animal Transportation Association (ATA) told FlyingTypers that the one hour webinar originally scheduled for July 21, “has been changed to Thursday July 28 beginning at 2:00 p.m. EST.
     Lisa told FlyingTypers:
     “Admission is now free as ATA has decided not to charge for the webinar.
     “Additionally all webinar participants are eligible for 50% off their first year’s ATA membership fee.
     “So now everybody can join ATA and Brandon Fried, Executive Director of Airforwarders Association to discuss how TSA security directives and other requirements have impacted freight forwarders/airlines, and how those changes are affecting animal transport worldwide.
     Once again Pet Webinar date is now July 28 at 2:00 p.m.
     So hold the date, Thursday, July 28, 2011, from 2:00 pm - 3:00 pm EST; 18:00 GMT.
     To register call the ATA office at 703-234-4106, or email info@aninmaltransportationassociation.org
      After registering, attendees will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the Webinar.
          BTW-System Requirements PC-based attendees need Windows® 7, Vista, XP or 2003 server.
          Space is limited.
          Reserve your Webinar seat now at: https://www2.gotomeeting.com/register/385378026



RE: Ditch Belly Lift Sez DJ

Dear Geoffrey:

     I was intrigued by your Ditch Belly Lift American Friendship story and the commendable contributions to our collective air cargo intellect offered by Mr. D. J. Ghosh.
     The air cargo business is a multi-faceted transport discipline, and to an extent unique in the fact that it is almost entirely demand derived.
     I do recall a vertical integration exception back in the early nineties as KLM's GM for Saudi Arabia/Yemen.
     I was based in Dharhan, headquarters of the legendary oil field development behemoth, ARAMCO.
     The consortium purchased and operated their own aircraft to ferry people and materials (cargo) to and from their far flung drilling sites on the Arabian Peninsula.
     This is one example of how I have come to view the business of air cargo on an equal footing as the transport of people, viz. passengers.
      It is probably not politically correct to label people as cargo, albeit they do eventually convert to that nomenclature human remains, but in the core sense there is a similarity if one views moving people by air as an exercise in placing a corollary value on time and space.
     KLM had it right mixing people with cargo on its DC-8 & B-747 "Combi" main decks, separated only by a flimsy "bulkhead."

     So, what's the difference?
     Even fish may apply as the time in '83 that we loaded onto a 747 Combi aircraft six-foot lemon sharks originating off the coast of Florida.
     They were at home in electrically aerated sea water contained in specially built glass tanks fastened onto the main deck floor of the jumbo, just behind the passenger compartment on a flight from Atlanta to Amsterdam.
     The live cargo was destined for an aquarium in Holland.
     I like to say there was a group of lively bankers flying up front, or "loan sharks."
     Whether it be piranhas, people, pharmaceuticals, air transport is the selling of time within a space assigned a specific dollar value return, i.e. profit.
     As Southern Region Cargo Director for KLM in the early eighties, I presented a case where the company made more money carrying cargo in the winter -- off-season for passenger traffic -- than flying low fare "ski groups" and their wares.
     The dollar value of filling the belly with general cargo was higher compared to the stowing of bulky, volumetric skis and ancillary luggage coupled by the fuel expending weight of the low yield passenger.
     It was pure arithmetic in how best to maximize the value of time and space among the animate and inanimate commodities offered.
     Applying similar metrics in the Middle East, to the pleased astonishment of the cargo manager, I once gave the order to reduce the passenger count of a weight sensitive DHA-AMS flight in favor of moving a large shipment of fresh tomatoes tendered in ULDs... harvested from the desert, too!
     By the nineteen-eighties, the legacy U.S. carriers had missed their mark by not paying attention to cargo, literally giving away the business to those who cared: the intermediaries, or cargo agents (forwarders) that launched their own fleets, followed by the so-called integrators.
     U.S. airlines were managed by passenger minded "travel" executives giving short shrift to cargo.
     Much to the detriment of air cargo logistics development, their best talent was elevated to the hierarchies of the organization where passengers were the meat and potatoes, and cargo, gravy.
     Now they are hungry for cargo.
     In a commentary from this past week's edition of Aviation Week, George Hamlin quotes a statistic from the U.S. Transportation Department that beginning in the late 1990s, the legacies no longer covered total operating expenses with their passenger revenues.
     Since none of the legacy carriers operate freighters, and domestic cargo revenues in particular have been decimated by the ascendency of the U.S. integrators (FedEx and UPS), an inability to cover the expenses of running a passenger-oriented network with passenger revenues helps to explain the legacies' recent interest in ancillary fees and charges.
     In context to time tested horizontal integration of premium space and time, the next time a baggage fee is assessed, one may consider, as with the live passenger, a suitcase is actually freight in disguise worthy of an uplifted price tag when properly loaded in the appraised speedy space of flight.

Don Palmer
KLM GM (ret.)
Don Palmer, Director Business Development Cargo, Gate Safe, Inc.
dpalmer@gatesafeinc.com www.gatesafeinc.com

Dear Don,

     Thanks for writing.
     I loved your letter.
     It brought back so many special memories including KLM Combi flights when with a couple of Geneevers under our belts we would slide into cargo to see what was up and label the trip "research". Like the time whilst everyone on the maindeck was eating dinner, we chatted up the handlers as they fed the horses at the same time and loved the juxtaposition.
     Later when I created "True Blue” the story of KLM Cargo for Jacques Ancher as a 200-page picture book that was printed in Dutch & English, those happy days and many others shared with KLMers like Jan Kok, Henry Kluck, Jan Meurer, Leo van Wijk and Pieter Bouw and others in cargo were recalled to bring the story alive.

Jan Meurer

Jacques Ancher

Pieter Bouw

Leo van Wijk

     I never thought as that time flew by that one day these memories would resurface with such fondness and downright emotion.
     But that is exactly what has happened.
     So thanks again for sharing and hope to see you soon.
Your friend,

Dear Geoffrey,

     I don’t often feel the urge to react to somebody else’s opinions in print, but I do feel that our friend DJ Ghosh’s remarks must be put into context. I do not agree with much in the article you published, but I do see, like him, immense opportunities, downturn or no downturn.
     For the rest, he seems to be advocating the integrator model as a panacea for our industry. While I am a great admirer of the achievements of the integrators, and the great solutions and innovations they have brought to their countless customers, it is obvious that the market share of the forwarder/airline combination continues to be dominant for the simple reason that it can provide the diversity of solutions and reach that shippers require. In other words, the integrators have not come in and eaten the cake of the forwarder/airline combination, the cake has grown exponentially and both models find ample opportunity for sustainable and profitable growth. In fact, integrators make ample use of forwarders’ and airlines’ services to complement their own offer to their customers.
     Regarding the even more extravagant claim that belly capacity should be abandoned in favor of freighter capacity, I ask our friend to consider a world in which countless long-haul passenger operations would be cancelled due to the missing revenue and profit streams, or DJ (and all his fellow travellers) would find their tickets exorbitantly expensive, setting the industry back several decades to when air travel was a luxury few could afford. Or in which shippers and forwarders would be deprived of half the excellent solutions they have today for their sophisticated supply chains. Or in which twice as many aircraft would need to take off into the sky to accommodate the freight that was previously transported in bellies, thereby hugely exacerbating environmental impact, congestion, and many other problems.
     I for one prefer not to contemplate such a world, and I am proud to be the leader of a passenger airline that treats cargo as a core and essential business, to the benefit of our shareholders, customers and the global economy.

Best regards
Oliver Evans
Chief Cargo Officer
Swiss International Air Lines Ltd.

Dear Oliver,

     Hope that all is well.
     It cannot be said of you that you do not write thoughtful letters!
     DJ enjoys omnipresence at almost every air cargo trade show I have ever heard of, from Nairobi to AMS to China to Sao Paulo.
     We can figure most of our opposite number at these gatherings based on who they are, where they work and what they think and say.
     In DJ’s case, I am not absolutely sure what he does aside from think big thoughts about air cargo and share the same with lots of industry stakeholders.
     I imagine he does some consulting, although I’m fairly certain that not many belly carriers will be seeking his advice.
     But we are glad DJ is out there as mentioned, at times in the air, everywhere.
     Makes for a better Masala, I say.
     Super Summer 2011!

Your friend,

RE: German Security Gets Lift


      At a time when the TSA is under fire for their body searches of 90-year olds, nuns, the handicapped and even 6-year old children, doesn't it make sense to follow Germany's lead and offer these screen jobs to our Veterans, supplemented by active servicemen and women?
      Immediate benefits would be a far more educated and experienced workforce, guaranteed employment for retiring and returning veterans and I would imagine a huge reduction in the associated cost.

Andrew Titley, Managing Director
Albion Group of Companies



Epic Famine In Somalia

     The United Nations said it has started airlifting food aid to rebel-held parts of Somalia, which is suffering from a drought, and that Islamist insurgents had abided by a pledge to allow relief workers free access.
     The U.N. described the drought as an emergency, one level short of a famine. Some 10 million people are affected in the region. Dubbed the "triangle of death" by local media, the affected area straddles Kenya, Somalia and Ethiopia.
     The U.N. children's agency, UNICEF, began airlifting food and medicine into the city of Baidoa.
     "The reason we airlifted was essentially the need for speed," said UNICEF's representative for Somalia, Rozanne Chorlton.
     "We just had to try to get more supplies in more quickly because there was an increase in numbers of internally displaced people."
     Right now East Africa is experiencing what U.S. State Department officials say is quickly becoming one of the worst humanitarian crises in decades.
     Several seasons of drought have decimated crops and livestock in Somalia, forcing tens of thousands of refugees to seek help in camps in neighboring Ethiopia and Kenya. Rains are not expected until October at the earliest. This means that prolonged support is needed.
     The best way to help is by identifying organizations that are on the ground and carry low administrative costs, which means more of your money will reach the people in need.
     These organizations are a good start:
Doctors Without Borders
(IRC) International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC)


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