Vol. 9 No. 96                                            WE COVER THE WORLD                                          Tuesday August 17, 2010


Heading Forward

   After our first week under the 100% screening mandate, the Airforwarders Association (AFA) asked members how things went. Here is what they told us . . . .
     IACs representing 709 operations across the U.S. participated.
     Of the 709, 88 are Certified Cargo Screening Facilities (CCSF's) with another 13 having CCSF applications pending with TSA.
     On the primary question, "How would you categorize your first week’s experience under the 100% screening mandate?"
     67% reported no issues whatsoever. They likened the event to "Y2K".
     28% reported only scattered problems but categorized them as minor start-up glitches.
     5% reported encountering serious issues.
     When asked to advise which airports and which airlines posed the most problems, few were named and there was no discernable pattern. Not surprising given that 95% reported few, if any issues.
     Next we took the pulse on expectations and asked "How are you feeling about the fall peak and beyond?
     55% were quite satisfied that industry had things well in hand and did not anticipate any problems.
     39% acknowledged they were a bit worried but cautiously optimistic.
     6% have serious reservations about industry's ability to scale up to significantly higher volumes.
     Clearly, this is a result of a lot of hard work, planning, and investment by all of the stakeholders - IAC's, our trucking partners, airlines and TSA. Being realistic, the first week of August is not known for high volumes. That test will come in the fall but members seem optimistic that as processes are refined and more CCSF's come on line that the industry is up to the challenge. AFA will be following this closely with additional surveys in the coming weeks.

     The rise in exports from India has not only awakened infrastructure majors to the importance of investing in airports, but has also prompted airport operators to ramp up facilities. While private airport operators at the metro airports of Mumbai, Delhi, Hyderabad and Bangalore are doing their utmost to smooth the flow of cargo traffic to and from the airports, Cochin International Airport Limited (CIAL) in the southern corner of the country (and, incidentally, the first privately-operated airport) has made a smart move. Cochin has chalked out plans to turn into a major transshipment hub for international cargo.
     The move is well thought out. Within easy reach of the United Arab Emirates (UAE), Cochin airport can take a major share of the credit for making India the most dominant exporter to the Gulf nations. According to official data released by the UAE’s National Bureau of Statistics of the Ministry of Economy, India and China accounted for nearly a quarter of the country's total imports in 2009. In fact, India exported a record Dh 61.5 billion worth of goods to the UAE in 2009, while China's exports amounted to Dh 47.8 billion.
     As part of the initiative to turn into a hub, the Customs department at the airport recently started an electronic data interchange system at the CIAL air cargo complex. Cochin’s seaport and the Vallarpadam container terminal would also be linked to CIAL through the new data interchange system.
     The new system, ICES- 1.5, will ensure electronic clearance of air cargo by Customs. Meant for cargo handling – the software for the system was generated by the National Informatics Centre (NIC), the government's web services organization, at the National Data Centre in New Delhi – it would aid not only exporters and importers, but also airlines and banks in the processing of shipping bills. According to the Customs department, CIAL is the first airport in the country to function with the most advanced version of the facility. Owned and operated by the Customs department, the ICES facility has been started as a pilot project and if it is successful, it will be installed at other airports.
     In a release, CIAL pointed out that the complexities involved in manual and computerized software would be replaced with the new system and “the clearing time will be reduced drastically.” The facility will enhance the cargo handling system and raise it to world-class standards. The new system would also help CIAL to cut down on procedural delays in export document preparation.
Tirthankar Ghosh

Cathay Pacific Cargo
HKIA Humdinger Terminal

Cathay Chief Executive Tony Tyler points out some of the features of the new Cathay Pacific Cargo Terminal to Ms. Eva Cheng, Secretary for Transport and Housing of Hong Kong.

     Cathay Pacific Airways staged an event on August 10 at Hong Kong International Airport (HKIA) to highlight the state-of-the-art features of the new Cathay Pacific Cargo Terminal. With a development cost of approximately HK$5.5 billion, the facility marks a significant investment in Hong Kong and underlines the airline’s continued commitment to developing the city’s position as a global aviation and airfreight hub.
     Speaking at the event, the airline’s Chief Executive Tony Tyler said: “Hong Kong's position as the world’s leading international airfreight hub is a remarkable achievement, but we cannot afford to take our preeminent position for granted. A concerted effort to improve Hong Kong’s capacity and competitiveness is needed if we are to face up to growing competition from other airports in the region.
     “We are building a terminal that will be one of the biggest, busiest and most efficient in the world, employing state-of-the-art operational and environmental features. We believe that more capacity – and more competition – will result in an increase in cargo flights to Hong Kong, which in turn will bring economic benefits to the city.”
     Eva Cheng, Secretary for Transport and Housing of Hong Kong, said: “This project is strategically important. It will, in particular, increase the air cargo handling capacity of the airport by some 50 percent, to 7.4 million metric tons per year. We expect more competition for this business upon completion of the project, with lower cost, better service and greater efficiency.”
     In March 2008, the Airport Authority awarded Cathay Pacific Services Ltd (CPSL), a wholly owned subsidiary of the airline, the franchise to invest in, design, construct and operate the new air cargo terminal at HKIA under a 20-year agreement. Scheduled to begin operations in early 2013, the facility will occupy a site of around 10 hectares in the airport’s cargo area.
     Work originally began on the terminal in the summer of 2008, but was suspended later that year due to the severity of the financial crisis. With the pick-up in the economy and a corresponding rebound in the airline’s business and the airfreight market generally, Cathay Pacific has been able to resume construction and continue to fulfill its commitment to investing in Hong Kong.
     The terminal is being designed for an annual air cargo throughput of 2.6 million metric tons and will help boost the efficiency and competitiveness of the Hong Kong air cargo hub. At the heart of the cargo terminal is a HK$1.4 billion mechanical handling system, or MHS, which will be the most advanced in the world to date.
     Forwarders and shippers will then enjoy a reduced cut-off time for pre-packed export deliveries, while a fully mechanized buffering area organizes and pre-queues export cargo to allow a seamless, just-in-time operation run in cooperation with ramp-handling company HAS.
     The ground floor will feature a dedicated Quick Transshipment (QT) area, where transshipment cargo will be re-sorted according to its onward destination without the need to travel to higher floors of the terminal. This will enable a significant reduction in the minimum connection time.
     The new cargo terminal is just one of a number of major investments Cathay Pacific has made in its home city, Hong Kong. The airline is the largest private investor in the infrastructure of Hong Kong International Airport, including its state-of-the-art corporate headquarters at Cathay Pacific City. It has also significantly enlarged its fleet since 1997 and has just announced plans to buy 36 new passenger aircraft valued at around HK$75 billion.

Cargo City Süd Hotel Is A Dream

          “There’s a small hotel-
          “With a wishing well-
          “I wish that we were there-

     I have always loved small hotels. Those sweet and simple lyrics are from a Rogers & Hart song about a place in Bucks County, Pennsylvania.
     Unfortunately, finding a great small hotel near any airport in the 21st Century is near to impossible.
     However, there is one near a cargo area in Europe that I’m reluctant to write about, because I don’t want it to get too famous as that will surely lead to change.
     There is a spot just off the main runways at Fraport. In that spot, the U.S. Air Force once utilized Rhein Main as a military base to support U.S. activities in Europe, Africa, the Middle East and South East Asia, and a logistics hub for troops, dependents and all kinds of airfreight.
     Today, the area is referred to as Cargo City Süd.
     The small hotel is called “InterCity Airport Hotel.”

Mr. Wüstefeld (right in picture on left) is shown with ACNFT publisher Geoffrey Arend inside the hotel's neat little memorabilia-packed, vest pocket saloon called JU52. Harri (in picture left) welcomes customers to JU52.

     Once upon a time, in the late 1940’s, this place served as a stopover spot for families traveling back and forth across the pond.
     The building itself was once a billet for pilots that flew the Berlin Airlift.
     In an era when location is everything, InterCity at FRA lies within walking distance of the biggest, most important air cargo area in Europe.
     From the front door of the hotel you have a couple of choices, all on foot.
     You can go to work at the airport just across the way, strolling past the silent reciprocal piston DC6 & DC3 aircraft parked at FRA at the Airlift Memorial, which started all this air cargo business 61 years ago, or you can walk along a foot path in another direction and visit the Zeppelin Museum, which recalls the time when giant airships came to call at FRA.
     The museum is open all year.
     The best way to describe InterCity: understated tranquility.
     The rooms are bright and neat.
     They may be somewhat small for some, but I tend to think of them as comfortable cozy and well thought out.
In tandem with a nice restaurant and great location, this place just works - period.
     Behind modern cladding, the hotel’s soul streams straight out of the A2 leather jacket-and-goggles era of Terry & The Pirates. It’s a location where scores of early air cargo and transport layover pilots ate and drank and grabbed some winks before firing up the engines and roaring down the runway, off into the heavens to some faraway destination with a strange sounding name.
     The small hotel has early era photos adorning its walls, a badge of ongoing service at FRA since the late 1940’s.
     A short walk up and down the halls of the first floor is a true step back in time, with fabulous pictures of airport operations during Frankfurt’s historic early post-war period.
     The airport operations portrayed here are simply great, but the topper is the original theme of Frankfurt Main in the form of a globe of the world sitting on an obelisk, topped by a bird of peace, a palm branch in its beak.
     In summer and autumn, tables are arranged in the outside quadrangle courtyard of the hotel, where you can have a drink or a meal as people once did at the airport during the 1930’s.
     You can credit InterCity General Manager, Anton Wüstefeld, for his fine and deft touch at creating and maintaining this hostelry as a unique experience at the airport.
     InterCity FRA is a wonderful place to stay or get a simple, well-prepared meal anytime of day. You can even just stop in to talk over old times in the JU52 saloon with bartender Harri, who is surrounded by priceless memorabilia.
     Harri balances things neat and fine in his vest pocket-sized place, and can always be relied upon for a hot and right plate piled with wiener schnitzel, even late into the night. Paired with a tall cold one – that will hold anyone ‘til morning.
Contact InterCity Hotel, Frankfurt Airport. www.intercityhotel.com

     Or maybe the headline could say: “Hooters Wings Fun” as a reason to go into this place that opened at Frankfurt Airport last Friday.
     Entrepreneurs Manfred Metzger and Bastian Klink, both from Karlsruhe, Germany, are the owners and managers of the franchise operation.
     "Hooters Frankfurt Airport will cater to passengers and the general public, as well as the more than 70,000 staff working at Frankfurt Airport,” said Metzger and Klink.
     Sounds like some queue fun if all those people actually show up.


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