Vol. 8 No. 83                                            WE COVER THE WORLD                                                              Friday August 7, 2009




Dateline Kabul—ABC had just off loaded its first B747-200 charter into Kabul July 14 saying it will make a scheduled stop here every Tuesday, meaning they have a customer.
     By the look of the consignment of armored vehicles on the charter, you might easily suppose who the “customer” is.
     A ramp rat looked around and kind of sniffed the wind, saying.
     “Yeah, the Russians (Volga-Dnepr) have been here before, but maybe they have short memories.
     “This situation in Afghanistan is not good.
     “Americans up and down the line say the place makes Iraq look like a walk in the park.
     “And don’t use my name either.
     “I am not ready to be a low speed target.”
     Undaunted using words like “opportunities in Middle East,” here comes ABC to Kabul with all the certainty of old hands at the task.
     It's amazing how little people in USA and elsewhere know about Afghanistan other than being vaguely willing to blame everything happening there to pockets of resistance supported in part or in total out of Pakistan.
     The truth is a bit different.
     Afghanistan is an ancient, proud and determined people and way of life.
     Just ask Malalai Joya, (left) the youthful political leader and human rights activist.
     Ms. Joya has just returned home after winning a human rights award in London.
     “Afghans are more than just a handful of warlords, Taliban, drug lords and lackeys,” Malalai said.
     “I have a country full of people who know what I know and believe what I believe, that we Afghans can govern ourselves without foreign interference,” she insists.
     Malalai Joya is 31 years old and no favorite of the power elite, Gordon Brown or Barack Obama for that matter, but she is a voice of the people in Afghanistan.
     It’s probably good to remember that the Soviet Union that was staggering anyway was also in some part finally taken out for good by the determination of the people of Afghanistan who defeated the super power.
     But politics aside, it will interesting to watch the ABC weeklies into Kabul.
     Interesting and adventurous with air cargo leading the way as these pictures from last week underscore.

Donna Hands On For Dog Days

     What does a great international mega airline like Lufthansa Cargo AG, a small customs broker/freight forwarder in Atlanta like Alpha Sun International, a local trucking firm like New Vision Transportation, the world’s largest airline like Delta and the world’s busiest airport like Hartsfield-Jackson International have in common?
     These were the logistics service providers that all came into play after being chosen by the Little Rock Zoo to import, clear and deliver a pair of endangered species Bush Dogs from Germany.
     After weeks of coordination, Alpha Sun was able to tell LH – OK to Ship.
     Alpha Sun was contacted by Debbie Thompson, Curator of the Little Rock Zoo after they had received their CITES (Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species) Permit from Fish & Wildlife authorizing the import of the endangered species.
     Immediately Donna Mullins, (left) President of Alpha Sun International, began to coordinate the shipment movement with the carriers and after hours clearances with Fish & Wildlife Service and Customs & Border Protection.
     Because the Bush Dogs are endangered, they required a CITES from the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service as well as the German authorities.
     LH444 arrives in Atlanta at 4:20, therefore overtime services had to be arranged with FWS and CBP.
     “You have to plan for the what if’s,” Donna Mullins says.
     “What if the plane is late, what if there is a problem with clearance?
     “Arrangements were made in the unlikely event that any of the process did not go smoothly.
     “We had to make the DL connection but if there were delays, the dogs would be transferred that evening in a temperature controlled cargo van direct to Little Rock.
     “Those “what if” arrangements were not needed,” Donna said.
     “The LH 444 flight arrived 20 minutes early.
     “Right away Inspector Witherwax of FWS and I met the dogs at ATL Lufthansa and they were retrieved from the aircraft in a thoroughly professional priority movement.
     “After the FWS release was authorized I then personally carried the document to the Port of Atlanta CBP office for release.
     “Arrangements had been made in advance with Supervisor Frink to have Officer Moore awaiting to process the CBP clearance.
      “Once the CBP release was received it was back to DLH where I met up with Barbara & Tony Perkins, owners of New Vision Transportation, who were prepared to transfer the animals to Delta for a domestic flight from Atlanta to Little Rock.”
     “We were notified early the next morning by Debbie Thompson, Curator of the Little Rock Zoo that ‘the girls arrived safely and healthy.’”
     Ms. Thompson said, “if we ever have another shipment come in, we will definitely use you.”
     Donna, who by any measure is both professional and concerned, serves the community in the air cargo business as a stalwart member of The Atlanta Air Cargo Association.
     The great thing about this wonderful lady is that she takes her continued extra effort to client and community as all part of a day’s work.
     But rather than put the spotlight on herself and her company as noted here, in her lifting of others, she gladly advances everybody.
     “Too often in the air cargo business we don’t realize what is required to bring items, including animals, into the U.S. and that you can be as large as a Delta or Lufthansa, or you can be as small as an Alpha Sun International or New Vision Transportation and play an integral part in the supply chain.”
     Come to think of it Donna, just as often we forget, how far down the trail dedicated and decent air cargo people like you have brought our business.

An Air Cargo News/FlyingTypers Original

   Our exclusive series “Women In Air Cargo” asks our readers to send some words and a picture about somebody that you know who is female and has made a difference in air cargo.
  This effort is not limited to just success or failure, it is meant to raise awareness about the legions of unique women who in most cases are unsung heroines in the air cargo industry.
  So write and we will share your story with our readers around the world.

Women In Cargo Hall Of Fame

Budoor Al Mazmi

Lisa Schoppa

Tulsi Mirchandaney

Gloria Whittington


     Air Cargo News FlyingTypers leads the way again as the world’s first air cargo publication to connect the industry to the broadly expanding and interactive base for social commentary—Twitter.
     Here are updates from Twitter so far this week. To be added to this 24/7/365 service at no-charge contact: acntwitter@aircargonews.com

August 6:    Goes Around Comes Around Dept: Old SAS hand Leif Rasmussen (photo left) rides again as SAS Cargo’s new President and CEO Aug 17 as Kenneth Marx (photo right) leaves after five years.

August 6:    Swissport named Stefan Roschi new head of its aviation security business effective Sept 1. He succeeds Louis Seliner who left the company.

August 6:    The smartest air cargo security guy in the world is Harald Zielinski, Chef Security Officer of Lufthansa Cargo (see video right). Now, Harald who started as a Frankfurt street cop says TSA has approved a new technology Luftansa will use for air cargo that is so secret he can’t explain it.


August 6:    With fuel hedge profits of about $105 m for first six months, Cathay Pacific is parking five freighters, six passenger planes, boosting unpaid leave and is looking to slow deliveries of B787F & A330s.

August 6:    British Airways Cargo down 6.8% last month vs 2008. United Worldwide Cargo July traffic fell 19.5%. First 7 of 2009 down 28.1%.

August 5:    Called off. India carriers one-day strike Aug.18 by Jet Airways, Kingfisher Airlines and Spicejet. Government invited them all in for talks.

August 5:   
Ten Worst Airports for Delays 2009 1. (EWR) pictured here 2. (ORD) 3. (MIA) 4. (DFW) 4. (LGA) 4. (JFK) 7. (SFO) 8. (IAD) 8. (ATL) 8. (PHL).

August 5:    Delta Airlines’ drastic cut back of its Cincinnati Ohio hub includes dumping Frankfurt & London this fall. Regional chamber protesting.

Summer Pleasures
     Summer means fun.
     It also means being closer to the kids, longer than perhaps at any other time of year.
     Our daughter Florence who graciously edits Air Cargo News FlyingTypers, making this journal a more intelligent read, is in real life a poet.
     When she was barely 18, Flossie was named among the best poets in America by Scholastic Magazine- (distributed to grade schools across USA each week—they also own the Harry Potter franchise).
     In any case, just out of college Scholastic gave Flossie her first job overseeing the same awards each year that she had won in 1998.
     Flossie won for writing about her brother Geoffrey Arend II, her brother who now is the actor featured this summer in the box office movie hit “500 Days of Summer”.
     But when Geoff was little (and he was not six foot four and in great physical health) he was sickly and had trouble with asthma.
     Flossie captured this and became famous for putting a part of her life experience, while growing up, to poetry.
     Then she moved into adulthood, graduated from college and went to work just as it happens everywhere else.
     Recently she began writing again.
     A picture came to her attention so she wrote about it.
     So as we close the first week of August 2009 we take a summer break.
     Later you might want to comment or read more Flossie at http://cursivecollective.wordpress.com/tag/flossie/
     Maybe we can encourage her to write a lyric about air cargo.
     Perhaps a tome with a title like “The Ballet of the Forklift Trucks,” is what I’m thinking.


Allegory Of The Four Elements

     She is always the first to arrive. This does not bother her; it is a simple fact. The cups are arranged neither haphazardly nor precisely, but rather sit, empty in their saucers, awaiting the preferred placement of those to whom they will serve. Four perfect, white cups cradled in four white saucers; they gleam, dazzling in the sunlight. Positioning her own cup directly in front of her, she runs her hands over the smooth corrugations in the bole, feeling the warmth of the wood under the sun. The tree has many hundreds of years within it; she reads the lines like Braille, closing her eyes. A ring – A family of robins stains the branches like droplets of blood; they lay eggs, grow old; their babies stretch wings, leave; they curl in empty nests and die. A different ring – the river floods, the ground rumbles under hard hooves, soft paws; branches break and are lost in the rising water; the musky, mottled scent of animals passes as they flee to the mountains. She doesn’t move too far outward. There was a time when she would have, but that ache is old and painful, and unnecessary now. She opens her eyes and sighs contentedly; the cups are set; she is happy to have never chipped or cracked a single piece in transit. As if she could.
     Atla is second to arrive. She pulls herself clean of the roaring river and steps onto the heated sand. This takes special effort and always leaves her feeling desperate and drained, melancholy and aching with loss. Fortunately, the feeling passes quickly. The flapping tail atop her dark head cheerlessly prods her towards the giant bole. She shields her eyes from the sun and looks to the bole; a lone figure with a long back and straight, flaxen hair sits motionless. Beyond her lies a dark forest and beyond that, a great mountain with its head poking the clouds. The fish on Atla’s head smacks open its mouth as if to encourage her; the weight of its body is an assurance. She kneels before the river and runs a hand through the flowing water, which seems to part at her touch, then envelopes her hand lovingly. A smile trickles through her face, lifting her features, and she removes her hand and turns to face the hill. The figure has not moved and remains sitting before the bole. Atla walks steadily up the hill; her feet lost within the waves of her black, serpentine skirts gives her the appearance of driftwood as it rides a gentle current. Behind her a trail of slick, wet grass leads the way back to the river.
     “Hello, Terra.” Atla lightly touches her sister’s golden shoulder and takes the seat beside her. Her skirts lap softly against the bole, even as she is still.
     “Hello, Sister. And what of today?” At the sound of Terra’s voice the creature that sits astride her head lets a shiver loose through its body, the bushy tail like dandelion seeds shifting in the wind. It was resting until now, curled at her crown. From a distance, its tawny body seemed to Atla like a bun in her sister’s hair. It chitters nervously, its tiny front paws pensively preening. There has been silence for so long.
     “Today was tepid. I had a moment of sheer sadness, but this did not last.” Terra nods her head in assent, her eyes drifting towards the mountains.
     “Ilma is here,” she whispers softly. Both heads turn to the figure as it drifts down over the mountains. At first glance it seems that an errant cloud has moved astray of the cumulus flock, which clusters around the shepherding mountain as if corralled by an unseen hound. The runaway cloud takes form and color. A small bird is popping atop the light and delicate head of a small, graceful girl. She is attenuate and diaphanous against the dark, cross-hatched forest, and as she lands before the bole the leaves and slightest branches on the trees around her quiver, the grass swaying like drunken dancers at her feet.
     “Hello, Sisters!” she sings aloud gaily. She runs and it is as if wings stretch out for miles on either side of her, the grass bending in her wake. “I have brought the Ewer!” She is slighter than her sisters. Her skin is so pale as to almost seem silver – the color of snow under the pregnant moon – although not in a way that might denote illness. Ilma glows. She sits opposite Atla, who regards her with half-lidded eyes. The bird above Ilma is pacing the small expanse of her snowy head, chirping in mimicry to her speech. Ilma produces a slender, silver ewer from the folds of her dress and places it carefully. It shimmers and vacillates on the table, as if it were occupying space somewhere else as well as on the bole. The pursed spout of the ewer is delicate above the thin neck and handle, which curves over its profile like a lock of fine, newborn hair. A symbol is carved into its surface of a crescent over a circle, balancing above a cross.
     “I am here; we may begin.” A fourth girl quickly takes the remaining seat between Ilma and Terra and places a nest upon the bole. The action is so fluid, so fast, as to deny any gradational movement. It happens as a flash; one moment there was an abscess in the crescent of girls; now there is none.
     “Welcome, Pele,” Terra rumbles. Her voice sends pebbles skittering obliquely down the distant mountainside. Pele nods her acknowledgment to each of the girls in turn. A small stag sits with legs folded atop her head and bows its antlers in unison with her. They do not seem surprised or moved by her sudden appearance. The abrupt attendance, paired with the pale pink rosiness of her cheeks, would seem to accompany a matched heaviness of breath, or veil of perspiration over Pele’s soft skin. This is not the case. She has arrived in perfect stillness, a jag of lightning frozen against an obsidian sky. Pele’s hair glows red under the brilliant sun.
     “I see why we have gathered, Sister Pele,” Terra murmurs, gesturing to the nest. It sits in the center of the bole. Three small babies lie nestled inside a cradle of twisted twigs, their eyes fluttering in sleep. They are smaller than human infants, no larger than sparrows. Directly the nest was placed upon the bole, all four girls have eyed it; Terra, a little warily.
     “Yes, Sister Terra. It is of the utmost importance. But first… Atla?” Pele lifts the ewer and passes it to her sister. Atla accepts it with both hands and closes her eyes. All of the girls bow their heads as the symbol on the ewer begins to glow blue; there is a sound of a brook-water running over stones; the carp on Atla’s head tilts forward, its mouth opening. A cool, clear liquid falls from its lips like water over a cliff, misting as it pours into the ewer. It hits the silver with a hollow tinkle, a seraphic sound that echoes into the air.
     Atla passes the ewer back to Pele as the carp closes its mouth. The stag on Pele’s head rises and stamps its hooves. Pele closes her eyes and bows her head to the ewer. Her hair falls forward, cloaking the ewer in a crimson shower. The stag lowers its neck and snorts, its nostrils flaring around puffs of smoke that billow into the ewer. She lifts her head and passes the ewer to Terra as the stag resumes its folded position on her head. The ewer bubbles and steams in front of Terra.
     Terra is quiet compared to the lively rodent dancing on her head. It has skittered and scampered about during the whole procession in anticipation of this act. As the ewer is passed to Terra, it leans forward expectantly, its front paws folding and unfolding, its tail flickering like a furry whip. Terra closes her eyes as the rodent opens its front paws outward. Something crushed and fragrant cascades from its tiny hands into the ewer, an earthy, scented mixture of herbs and spices. It prances back to the crown of her head as Terra opens her eyes and pushes the ewer towards Ilma.
     Ilma places her hands gently around the ewer and closes her eyes. The bird on her head chirps and hops forward, fluffs its wings, fills its red breast with air and begins to sing. As it sings, it flaps its wings towards the ewer, pushing the steam into the open air. Ilma smiles as she opens her eyes and lifts the ewer, posing it above the bole.
     “It is ready,” she announces, and begins to pour each girl a cup. By now the babies have awakened. One sits with hands fisted and mouth blowing bubbles; the next is kicking its legs against the nest impatiently; the third is content just to look from girl to girl, as if it knows what will be said.
     “Drink deep,” utters Pele. She takes a long sip and nods to Ilma for more. “This is a matter of dire importance.”
     “There haven’t been any in so long,” Ilma whispers, peering at the nest as she fills her sister’s cup. “This is quite exciting!” The bird above Ilma is aloft and fluttering.
     “Not since us, Sister,” Atla says, smelling her cup. There is a lilt to her voice, a deep sinking at the end of what she has said. “This brew may not be strong enough for this.”
     “It is the strongest, Atla. There is none stronger.” Terra’s voice resounds like an echo in a cavern. The sisters can feel it rumbling the earth under their feet. Her rodent is chittering wildly.
     “I was not implying ineptitude, Terra.” Atla grumbles, water bubbling from a geyser.
     “We should be rid of them,” Pele bristles. Her eyes smoulder and sheath a deeper conflagration than she can safely allow. Terra rises from the table.
     “That is not our way. Even if it were, I would not allow it.”
     “Who are you, Terra Sister, to allow me anything?” Pele counters, rising from the table to meet her sister. Her buck has bowed its neck and is shaking its antlers wildly. “They were left. If I had not happened upon them… ” Pele pauses, the heat of her anger staining her face, the color rivaling her burning hair. “It would be an act not entirely unknown to us.”
     “We have never acted, Sister,” Terra says, her voice gentler now. “We have only allowed.”
     “I say we do nothing,” Atla offers, cutting between her sisters. “They could mean all or very little; to me, there is meager difference.” Her fish smacks its lips carelessly, spraying the table with water.
     “Enough!” The word leaves Ilma like a sharp turn of the wind, knocking the others into silence. “We must do what we came to do, and drink of this.” She lifts her cup to illustrate. “We are speaking too fast and thinking too little.” Terra nods her head in agreement as she and Pele slowly take their seats. Atla has held her cup all the while and continues to sip slowly.
     The earth stills, and suddenly the rushing of the river ceases and falls mute, the wind abandons the trees to their statuesque silence and all the animals on lofty crowns and deep within the forest are quieted. It is more than silence; it is the vacuum that follows when the skin of sound is ruptured – the nothingness that trails a loud crack of thunder. Even the babies clutch hands and arms noiselessly, their eyes wide as the saucers, which take their cups without the charmed tinkle of glass meeting glass. The ewer is emptied. All of time passes, or none of it. The sun shines strong and bright, hiding Time behind its unchangingface.
     “I… still don’t know.” Terra hangs her head dejectedly as her rodent curls itself up on her crown. “This has never happened; I have always known. Perhaps you were right, Atla Sister.”
     “No, Sister. Nothing comes to me, either. Perhaps it was my liquid; perhaps it was not fresh.” Atla’s fish laps softly at her charcoal hair and turns its tail to the bole.
     “Or my heat,” chimes Pele, “too hot, or not enough.” Her stag has folded itself and closed its eyes in resting.The skin of her cheeks has resumed the hazy coral color of morning clouds; the fight, gone.
     “Sisters, we have all done nothing differently. This is at the fault of no one.” Ilma takes her sisters’ hands one by one and squeezes them tightly. As they each look to the babies, Ilma drops their hands.
     “We can’t be rid of them; I know this,” Pele whispers.
     “We can’t leave them. We must do something,” Atla adds. Her fingers are twisting around a lock of midnight hair. A drop of water falls from the strand and hits the bole.
     “Perhaps they are meant to replace us,” Terra whispers. The girls all look to her, fear creeping into their faces. Ilma’s bird begins steadily chirping, like a melodic metronome.
     “No,” Ilma says, “There were none before us, and there will be none after us.” She reaches into the nest and lifts one of the babies, cupping it in one hand. The baby is quite small and fits snugly in her palm. Her sisters inhale sharply, holding their breaths in anticipation. Ilma strokes the baby’s belly with one finger; it giggles and pushes at her with one hand, smiling a toothless grin. Ilma laughs and holds it up to them. Her eyes, a cloudless blue, have sharpened to colorless ice.
     “Don’t you see, Sisters? We are the four, and always will be.” She holds the baby to her face and presses her forehead to its belly; it places its hands to her skin and gurgles with satisfaction. Her sisters look at the remaining two babies, as if the answer were written on their faces, or hidden in their eyes. Atla holds the leg of the baby who likes to kick, and looks up at Ilma.
     “What is it Ilma? What do you see?” Ilma lifts a baby and places it in Terra’s hands, which cup together to hold it. Terra looks down at the infant, a smile spreading over her face like the sun as it reveals itself to the earth. The warmth spreads over the baby as it giggles and reaches for her.
     “Oh, Ilma. I see,” she whispers, and hands the child to Pele who, after only a moment, has started to smile and coo, her eyes blazing with an orange fire.
     “What is it, Sisters? Please, I don’t-” Before she can finish, Terra has lifted and placed the last child in Atla’s hands, and Atla grows silent, the blue of her eyes pooling like still waters. The baby beneath her is softly patting her palm with its left hand in a soporific rhythm. She looks to Ilma, who is smiling beatifically.
     “My sisters, these are our sisters… and they are new.”