Vol. 8 No. 108                                                                  WE COVER THE WORLD                                      Friday October9, 2009

Rise Of Fall In Air Cargo

Franz Zoechbauer
Head Of Cargo
Austrian Airlines Cargo

FT:   How has 2009 been so far?
FZ:  In 2009 the gap between capacity offered to the market and demand was enormous. This naturally had an impact on the yield. On top of it, the demand to/from Eastern Europe, our main focus area, dropped significantly. In conclusion, the first three quarters of this year were certainly not up to expectations.
FT:   What lies ahead for Q4?
FZ:  Since the beginning of September, we have seen an increase in demand and our load factors on our long haul routes are up to normal pre-crisis levels. We also increased our freighter operations to/from Kiev from 3-4 flights per week in summer to 5 weekly flights now. Concerning the demand, we are seeing a healthy positive trend but the problem still lies with the yield.
FT:    How does early 2010 look?
FZ:   We are cautiously optimistic for the first half of 2010 and more optimistic for the second half of next year. We have taken necessary steps to secure business on the longer term.
FT:   What is AUA Cargo doing to weather the awkward business climate?
FZ:   There is no doubt that cost cutting is the name of the game. We have cut costs in every area of our business ensuring the customer would not be affected. This is certainly an ongoing exercise. We invested in our product portfolio introducing our new product "cool" whereby, the focus is on the pharmacy sector which strengthens us as a quality carrier. In August/September 2009, we started a cooperation with Jade, whereby, Jade combines the destinations in Asia (ICN, TSN, PVG, HKG) with Vienna 4 x per week with a B747-400. This operation will strengthen our operations (flights and RFS) to/from the CEE countries. One can cut costs but also revenues must be increased which requires us to be even more in the face of the customers and meet their expectations.
Heiner Siegmund

Part I
Part II
Part III
Part IV

A Woman Of Substance

     “It’s a man’s world,” has long been an understatement when talking about women in the corporate world.
     More recently, professional women have been changing this view while proving beyond doubt that they are as good, if not better, in tackling even the trickiest corporate issues.
     However, not very often, do we hear exceptional success in the Arab aviation world which makes Gulf Air Cargo’s Batool Hussain Ali an inspiration.
     Highly passionate about her job and daring to take on challenges in her offbeat career, Bahraini Batool Hussain Ali, was one of the first five women to be recruited by Gulf Air for the cargo division.
     Confident to the core and enjoying her Gulf Air Cargo career to the fullest since 2007, Ms. Ali, currently working as the Agency & Industry Affairs Specialist, says she has no regrets about choosing the job she has today.
     “I was nervous in the beginning to join an entirely male-dominated department, but gradually became comfortable, thanks to my encouraging boss, Mr. Ebrahim Mohammed Al Hamadi, Senior Manager of Gulf Air Cargo.
     “His constant guidance made me feel at home in the workplace right from the beginning.”
     Born and brought up in Bahrain, Ms. Ali graduated in accounting before she joined Bahrain’s national carrier.
     Still finding time to continue her formal education Batool will be completing her MBA from the Al Ahlia University shortly.
     She hails from a family of six siblings, none of whom have a career in aviation, Ms. Ali joined Gulf Air Cargo despite having a banking background and work experience with the revenue department of the airline.
     What is a typical working day like at Gulf Air Cargo?
     “I feel I’m always on the move, even though my job doesn’t involve hard physical labor, because this is the operational side of the cargo department. “My predominant task is to handle interline business with other regional and foreign airlines.      “I also supervise cargo’s accounting system, as well as handle our crucial trucking system which includes our contracts in Gulf Air offices in Europe and other continents.
     “I am also involved with Gulf Air’s cargo website www.gfcargo.com and make sure it is up-to-date and accurate,” said Ms. Ali.
     Asked what was most interesting about her job, she said:
     “I love the fact that this job is all about maintaining communication and relationships with our organization members outside the Gulf Air headquarters which includes our regional offices.”
     “This is not a difficult job, not in any way frustrating except occasionally when we have a few technical hiccups regarding the cargo details, which depends on IT support that should also improve shortly,” she said with optimism.
     Asked if she received any preferential treatment being a Bahraini, she said, “Mr. Al Hamadi does not discriminate between employees. Every staff member receives equal support and opportunity; men or women, Bahraini or expatriate.
     “I often receive emails from the European sector and elsewhere with people addressing me as Mr. Batool Hussain Ali.
     “I find it amusing, but know that it is only because people in other parts of the world are not familiar with the names we Arab women have!
     “And I often prefer to keep it that way and let them believe I am man enough to deal with them,” said Ms. Ali, laughing.
     The global economic recession has not spared the business of Gulf Air cargo also, she admitted, but asked:
     “Which business in the airline industry has not been hit by the current crisis?”
     “With the drastic rise in fuel prices, bankruptcy is more of a norm than an exception these days. Even though our offices may not be affected because other airlines in Europe and the American sector are doing fairly good business, other cargo trucking companies are surely affected, mainly because the fees have gone up on the production side,” she explained.
     Mother of a three-year old, Ms. Ali says her role model is her father, without a doubt.
     “I deeply admire my father, for he is a gentleman, a real professional and a perfect family man, a brilliant combination.”
     Batool said she enjoys working for the national carrier because it allows her to pursue one of her favorite hobbies, travelling to foreign destinations.
     Ms. Ali added that she did not have too many regrets about not having all the time for her family as she is fortunate to be able to see her husband on a regular basis even while at work!
     That is because her husband, Zakareya Ameeri is also employed with Gulf Air’s Network Control under the Information Technology division.
     “A 21st century Bahraini girl is like any other smart woman, who can successfully work in any field. There is nothing to stop her in a country that offers equal opportunities for its women,” she concluded.
     It is Ms. Ali and career-oriented women like her who can break free of the many limitations that exist in patriarchal societies all over the world, and make revolutionary changes for others to follow.
Geoffrey Arend
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

FAA To India—Fly Right

     The U.S. Federal Aviation Administration threat to downgrade Indian aviation to Category-II has not been passed. But while the scare lasted, it had the stakeholders worried.
     To begin with, the threat to put Indian aviation at par with sub-Saharan African countries is a must to avoid and would have meant more than an embarrassment for the country’s airlines and its aviation regulatory bodies.
     As a top aviation pundit commented, it would have meant tough times for domestic carriers.
Comments by the Civil Aviation Secretary M Madhavan Nambiar at the end of the audit said it all:
     “The Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) has been able to put all systems in place and final audit was done by FAA in the last 2-3 days, following which it has been decided to keep India in Category-I.”
     The FAA audit is mandatory before permission is given to a foreign airline to operate in the USA. The FAA looks into the concerned country’s Civil Aviation Authority (CAA)/Directorate General for Civil Aviation to ensure that it is capable of providing safety certifications on its international carriers. The audit is conducted under an ‘International Aviation Safety Assessment Program’ (IASA) and focuses on the country's ability to adhere to standards and recommended practices of International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) for aircraft operations and maintenance.
     Under the IASA programme, the FAA had conducted an audit of the DGCA India in 1997 and had then awarded Category-I status.
     In March 2009, the FAA, based on the report of an audit conducted by ICAO in October 2006, did a reassessment of the DGCA. While the FAA’s IASA team found India to be compliant in areas of aviation legislation, operating regulations, civil aviation structure and safety oversight functions, and licensing and certification obligations, issues were raised about the technical guidance for DGCA inspectors, hiring and retaining technical personnel in DGCA, establishment of an on-going surveillance program of air operators and the resolution of some safety issues.
     The DGCA had to set right these safety concerns in five months failing which India would have been downgraded to Category-II. That would have meant a big blow to the country’s growing aviation sector.
     Under Category II, while no expansion/ changes to the services of Indian air carriers would have been permitted by USA, the existing operations would have been subjected to ‘heightened FAA surveillance’. Obviously, the downgrade would not only have caused economic losses but would also have been a major setback for the country in ICAO, EU and in the international aviation community.
     The FAA IASA team revisited the DGCA on September 23, 2009, to confirm and validate the action taken after the audit in March 2009. The visit also checked out if the information which had been provided to FAA by DGCA in the last few months was correct or not. During the discussions, the FAA team confirmed that action had indeed been taken by the DGCA to set right the safety and other concerns which had been mentioned in March 2009 audit.
     The DGCA, it was found out, had met international standards in the area of aviation law and regulations. It was also confirmed that the powers of the Director General were well laid down in the Aircraft Act, 1934 and Aircraft Rules, 1937 and that the regulations were available to all users.
     As for CAA structure and safety oversight functions, the FAA team acknowledged that the lack of financial resources was not a constraint for the DGCA and that there had been an eight-fold increase in the annual budget for DGCA this year. Additionally, the FAA was informed by the DGCA that a feasibility study for the establishment of a Civil Aviation Authority had been commissioned and would begin this month: October 2009. The FAA team was also shown the technical guidance, which had been prepared in areas of operations, airworthiness and enforcement for the guidance and use of safety inspectors of the DGCA for day-to-day functioning including the training provided to the inspectors on their use. The FAA was also shown the availability of an increased number of flight operations inspectors on board with DGCA. In March 2009, there were only four such inspectors but today there are 14 full time Government Flight Operations Inspectors (FOI) and 18 FOIs on secondment from industry.
     The FAA team pointed out that the DGCA India had taken corrective action on the concerns raised and had completed it in the available time and space. It was, according to the officials, a rare feat in the history of the IASA. India was then found fully compliant with FAA observations and ICAO Annexes 1, 6 and 8 and retained in Category-I status under FAA IASA.
     At the end of it all, India’s Director General of Civil Aviation, a relieved Nasim Zaidi declared: “Following the Category-I status, we are now on a level playing field.” Spearheading the move for corrective action, Mr. Zaidi and his team have plans to complete its target of 4,300 surveillance activities this year.
Tirthankar Ghosh

Fruit Logistica Berlin February

     If next year’s trade show for perishables Berlin Fruit Logistica at Messe Berlin that features Mexico as partner country feels a pinch as world markets totter along in 2009 you probably would have to look twice to see it.
     Despite al the news you are reading most managers will tell you that whatever else is going on “people got to eat”.
     So it probably follows that getting goods from field to market has continued as a steady enterprise even through the slowdown that many are hoping is moving toward some acceleration as you read this.
     As the great Lou Conte, CEO of Contel Fresh, a top USA importer of all manner of perishables including peppers & fruits from Europe and Latin America, based in Livingston, New Jersey puts it:
     “Business is always a challenge, but we make money and actually don’t feel right unless our business partners make money too.”
     So Fruit Logistica, as gathering point for a super big business enterprise that takes off high, wide and handsome in Berlin from February 3- 5, 2010, is expecting over 2,200 exhibitors from some 70 countries.
     Put another way Fruit Logistica is the most important perishables to market event on the continent next year.
     Not only will Fruit Logistica bring all the disciplines for the selling and packaging and marketing of foodstuff perishables together in the same place at once, the event will also serve to highlight several best bets for moving goods to market.
     Fruit Logistica is where the smart money in air cargo, container and other innovative supply and cool chain operators will be in evidence during the Berlin exhibits.
     Fruit Logistica also has cooked up some terrific graphics to add both color and excitement to the show.
     So aside from all the other hooks next February including the City of Berlin that is probably the best big city visit for the least money in Europe, Fruit Logistica, is a giant up close and personal serving of a vital and continually growing part of the air cargo business.
     In any case if fruit and vegetable shipping is part of your game where else can you conduct business meetings in acres of tomatoes while maybe squeezing some nice rip melons along the way.
     Fruit Logistica includes an expansive conference program offering comprehensive background information and invaluable ideas for international fresh produce trade professionals.
     Fruit and vegetable marketing inside access will provide in-depth information in a series of seminars and panel discussions focusing on current market issues, challenges and trends
     Fruit Logistica offers an easy to follow web presence to make the going great-and easy:www.fruitlogistica.com
     “Our interactive web site offers both trade visitors and exhibitors the tools and information in a user-friendly form to be able to better prepare their participation and get the most out of their attendance at our event, Lamusse, Global Brand Manager for Fruit Logistica explained.
     “The site offers easy access from both PC’s or mobile telephones and PDA’s, enabling fresh produce professionals to be able to access the information they need, be they in the office or on the move.
     “Our Virtual Market Place has been streamlined and fully integrated into the Exhibitor Search function on the site, to offer buyers and trade visitors the opportunity to easily set up meetings with exhibitors before the event.”


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

October 7:   Going To The Dogs? Old joke that town is so small population is 9 people 10 dogs. Web count TSA Cargo Inspectors number 420 Dog Teams.

October 7:   American Society of Safety Engineers workplace symposium titled “Slips, Trips and Falls: Best Practices and Standards”Oct 22 .www.ase.org.

October 7:   Looking Up. Denver International Airport reports busiest August in airport history—marking two straight months of passenger traffic growth.

The Big Lift 2009


     A Russian Antonov 225 visited Niagara Falls, New York, USA recently picking up two Sikorsky fire fighting helicopters.
     Maybe as interesting is what the crew did while the plane was loading as all went into town to buy cigarettes by the case and Levis blue jeans.
     Nobody ever said pilot's pay is all the great in Russia.
     Not sure if they saw Niagara Falls except from the air…



     “Maybe we could have a crew member take up a collection after every landing?”
     Can Anybody Around Here Build An Airplane? Boeing apparently has forgotten how to nail together the B747 that it has been building since 1969.
     This week the Seattle plane maker took a one billion dollar charge against its B747-8 freighter program for delays in getting that airplane to market.
     Meantime the airplane that was supposed to save Boeing Commercial Airplane business—the B787 has been delayed almost since it was announced and to date has never flown.
     At FT we ready a weekend to remember as Geoffrey II marries Christina Hendricks, Sunday October 11.
     On Monday as they cross the Hudson River (celebrating its 450th year since Henry Hudson himself sailed upon it) it will be USA Columbus Day October 12.
     Air Cargo News FlyingTypers returns October 14.