Vol. 10 No. 86                                                                                                    Friday September 2, 2011

IATA Sues Air Cargo Forwarders

Exclusive—Just like the two hot air balloons in our graphic, right now IATA and FIATA are bumped up into a legal dispute that looks like chump change to the winner.
     But the fallout from this encounter is raising more questions than answers, and as the throw-down continues, the faint aroma of performing seals.
     According to a motion filed in the District of Montreal Superior Court on April 14, 2011, IATA sued FIATA over the IATA/FIATA training program separation agreement reached earlier this year.
     The first hearing took place on August 10 with a procedure that, under the Canadian system, allows the defendant to question the plaintiff in court prior to the start of the actual trial in order to obtain clarification about the case.
     This encounter had a dubious beginning, as it was ground to a halt almost as quickly as it started. It was rescheduled for a later date because the expert witness IATA produced couldn’t answer subject matter questions.
     The court will eventually decide on the merits of this case and which side is right. In the meantime, we wonder how this looks on the face of it.
     Was this a brilliant, ‘confidence building’ move by IATA or had it been decided that it was more important to flex some big time muscle?
     Truth be told, so far this encounter reads like a Hollywood divorce, with air cargo left holding the bag on the sidelines.
     Everything one reads about a bad divorce is on display here—petulance; pettiness; malevolence; vengeance; vindictiveness; misguided, bad judgment; hissy-fits; embarrassment—you name it.
     In a divorce, there are at least two stakeholders; who are the stakeholders in this case?
     And why resort to a public display, and all this, over 256,250 Canadian dollars? Why not put it in a more productive framework, such as a direct dialogue or arbitration, unless the real objective isn’t “justice,” but rather some misplaced personal animosity or a power play run amok, and not something that truly impacts the air cargo business?
     No alleged disparagement by FIATA can cause IATA more lasting damage than its own actions, which speak louder than words.
     This suit comes out of two sources in IATA – one in left field, namely the Human Capital and Training Department, which doesn’t exactly come to mind as being at the forefront of the cargo agency program and air cargo industry issues. The other is the Industry Distribution and Financial Services – see chart.
     The groups normally engaged in the airline/forwarder relationship are within the conference structure and the IATA/FIATA Consultative Council (IFCC).
     We can only wonder about the IATA internal controls when a lawsuit is filed in its name - was it with or without the new director general’s knowledge and/or approval?
     IATA has a global head of cargo–Des Vertannes.
     Was he consulted, involved, listened to or bypassed?
     As a trade association, one would assume that its top cargo executive body, the Cargo Committee, would be briefed, consulted and involved when it comes to the airline industry essentially suing its customers— the forwarders—in their name.
     This is yet another question we don’t know the answer to that begs an authoritative response.
     Surely someone would recognize the “bigger picture;” in this global economy, where IATA and FIATA just recently joined in founding GACAG to better represent their common interests, why would IATA in the same breath take FIATA to court?
     It would be interesting to be a fly on the wall during the upcoming September 6 Cargo Committee meeting, to which FIATA has been invited.
     IATA is using a Canadian law firm, McMillan LLP, to represent its interests in this dispute; regardless of whatever arrangements may be in place, has anybody met a marble and mahogany lawyer who works for free?
     In one way or another, all of this will end up costing the airlines money in the end.
     Can no one in IATA’s top management honestly think of a better way to spend money? Perhaps spend instead on furthering the air cargo business? Or does this nonprofit have so much dough-re-mi that it doesn’t matter in the larger scheme of things what the expenditures are?
     We can only wonder who is steering the IATA ship if indeed department heads are the deciding facto pursuing matters of this kind.
     For the record, FIATA is defending itself vigorously and disagrees that IATA has a case in this matter.
     But industry stakeholders can only wonder how, or even better, why the new director general is taking this excursion that his predecessor bequeathed him, knowingly or unknowingly.
     How much visibility and attention does this case command?
     Has anyone considered that this may potentially be the straw that breaks the camel’s back and results in the unraveling of the entire agency program as ‘collateral damage?’
     The motion document itself makes for interesting reading in typical legalese – one could jump to the conclusion that attorneys are paid per page, however there are some statements that deserve mention here.
     Under the heading “The Cargo Agency Conference” the motion states:
     “Although each active member of IATA which operates a schedule commercial international air transport service for the carriage of cargo is automatically eligible to vote at the CAC, IATA has no control over the decisions of the Cargo Agency Conference, the CAC is not a division or department of IATA, nor is there any structural corporate relationship between IATA and the CAC.”
     For the uninitiated this may seem crystal clear and conclusive… except that member airlines must nominate delegates to a conference before they can vote.
     Any member airline’s delegates can attend a conference, but voting and quorum rules are rather specific.
The provisions for the conduct of IATA Traffic Conferences stipulate that one-fifth of the representatives of the voting member of which have nominated an Accredited Representative to such Conference, or their respective designated alternates acting in their place and stead, shall constitute the quorum.
     It may well be just a finer point and a minor detail, so that one has to wonder what the intent of this skewed quasi-factual statement really is.
     Also, the member airlines are IATA; the technical differentiation is between the secretariat and the airlines that comprise IATA.
     When writing that “IATA has no control over the decisions of the CAC,” it is important to remember it is the secretariat that produces the conference agenda and writes the minutes.
     This strenuous effort at distancing the conference structure from IATA seems rather bizarre.
     The motion alleges FIATA “failed to produce a [FIATA] training program or put a [FIATA] training program before the CAC for approval.”
     On July 20, 2011 a FIATA press release announced “a new ICAO/FIATA Dangerous Goods by Air training programme” and “the two organizations are looking at extending their partnership to include air cargo security and to establish a related programme for freight forwarders in the near future.” Albeit this occurred after the date the IATA motion was filed, it didn’t seem to inspire IATA to reconsider its case.
     Again, we can only wonder: what is this kerfuffle all about?
     There has been extensive correspondence between IATA and FIATA prior to IATA filing its motion in court and the termination of the joint training program was on the March 2011 Cargo Agency Conference agenda.
     Needless to say, there is a copious paper trail on file.
     Stay tuned - there will be more to come.
     In the interim, we welcome your comments.
Ted Braun


AA Flies Passive Aggressive

      With preparation for the launch of an enhanced cool-chain pharma service figured to almost the nth degree—including a pilot program and training of 2,400 ground and warehouse employees around the world—American Airlines Cargo debuted ExpediteTC Passive this Thursday, September 1st, with Dave Brooks, President of American Airlines Cargo declaring:
      “ExpediteTC Passive cold-chain service provides our customers with another important option for moving time- and temperature-sensitive cargo.”
      “The worldwide rollout of this service is supported by extensive training to provide a consistent, reliable service across our network.”
      ExpediteTC Passive supports ambient temperature control using state-of-the-art cool rooms, expedited handling processes and high-visibility monitoring to ensure cargo is handled within desired temperature ranges.
      The offering augments American’s current service, ExpediteTC Active, which utilizes dry ice and battery-powered containers to actively regulate temperature levels, regardless of ambient conditions.
      ExpediteTC is supported by a 100 percent money-back guarantee that the shipment will be flown on the routing for which it was booked.
      AA also said a help desk is available for the service 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
More: www.aacargo.com.



DNATA Load Control
On The Mark

What is dnata Load Control Center? How many people work for the company & where?
The dnata Load Control centre is part of the dnata airport operations control centre , it is a state of the art centre located just outside the perimeter of Dubai Airport, it has 120 work stations all with system access to all DCS systems and internet; the staff can also access all operational systems for both dnata and Emirates from these work stations. The number of Load Control Staff is 250 producing in excess of 19,000 load sheets per month for Emirates/Fly Dubai and 135 other airlines who operate out of Dubai.

Describe a typical day to Mark Spicer hour by hour.
I start every morning at 05.15 and visit the gym at 05.45 for a 30-minute aerobic workout, which sets me up for the day, reaching the office by 06.45.
      I check my diary to see what’s planned for the day and read all the reports from the previous 24 hours and analyze any failures or issues that might improve the business. I then conduct a team meeting with my direct reports and discuss the underlined issues, task the team with arranging meetings with the staff and discuss operational improvements.
      When these meetings take place I make sure and attend them. These are varied because Load Control is a stake holder in almost every department in Dubai Airport. I also visit the 2 load control satellite offices in Dubai Airport, (we have 2 offices in the airport where a number of staff are located to handle manual flights and any airline specific needs). My purpose is to review any on-going projects with my project manager and get a status update. I also set up a customer visit based on someone who requires a face-to-face. Usually it is one customer during a week.
      I find that I spend at least 2 hours a day answering e-mails and general admin duties, P2P’s/ITSR’s/Updating PM’s/budget data/daily performance data.
      I leave the office for home between 04.30 & 05.30 and arrive home at around 06.00, grab dinner and then go on the laptop to see if any new requests have come in, check to see if I missed any mails, (I do like working at home as it is tranquil and I don’t get interrupted). This for me is a normal work day. On the weekends I still get up at around 05.30 but usually go cycling or a road trip on my motorcycle into the mountains in Hatta.
Can you briefly walk us through load control planning for a B777C aircraft?
We are very fortunate to have a good team within Emirates SkyCargo who oversee the build-up of the cargo after its acceptance. As all members of the team are not only experts in cargo handling, they are also fully trained load masters so they are able to enter the cargo into the correct contours and units, envisaging its final loading.
       When we receive the final unit weight statement from cargo we simply locate the loads to ensure the dangerous goods are segregated correctly and ensure we keep the lateral balance as low as possible to ensure we aren’t penalized on the take-off weight. However, when we have odd-sized shipments like the drilling pipes that we recently carried for a client it is always slightly different. In this case, we worked closely with the Cargo team to not only create a load plan that could carry all the load but also reduced the loading and offloading times. In this particular example, this was achieved by maximizing the use of crushable pallets to avoid the need for straps (120) to secure the pipes, without the crushable load we did not have the need for the straps, which would take hours to fix. Thanks to the expertise and the close communication between Load Control and Cargo we managed to ensure the use of the straps was kept to a minimum and thus reduced the ground time to ensure the aircraft was available to operate its next sector on time.
Would you also briefly explain how the process might differ for the same aircraft in passenger variant but also include the belly cargo discipline?
Planning of the passenger aircraft is more of a challenge than the freighter variant due to the variable profiles of passengers, baggage and cargo on any one flight - but this ensures that no two flights are the same and thus reduces the monotony that can creep in when you follow the same routine day in day out.
      Our planning starts 10 hours before the departure, we first calculate the baggage requirement based on the booked passenger load, once this is complete, cargo also starts planning to maximize the remaining space.       When we receive the final cargo figures two hours before departure, we then try to ensure we can uplift the maximum possible revenue, but without compromising on safety. Firstly, we will check the go show priority of the cargo and select the appropriate hold version that will allow us to maximize space. We then start to locate the cargo and baggage to ensure that all the temperature-critical cargo is in the correct hold, the dangerous goods are segregated accordingly and the baggage is planned so that the priority and transfer baggage can be offloaded quickly at the next station.
      All of this is done whilst also taking into consideration the connection times and travel distance of the ramp transfer cargo and at the same time also trying to ensure an optimum trim to reduce fuel costs.
Describe loading characteristics…what airplanes are a “dream” to work with and which ones in your years have been or are most challenging?
The Boeing B777-300ER is the most versatile aircraft in the Emirates fleet, it operates almost limitless possibilities of possible loading combinations, it is the ideal aircraft to be used on multi sector flights and you can avoid any possible over-stowing of loads. It has a very large payload that allows about 20,000 KG for cargo on most routes, making it a favorite with the cargo team as well.
      The new A380-800s however, are more of a challenge. The passenger configurations are great for passenger convenience, but it does mean that the aircraft is very nose-heavy and with the majority of the hold space in the forward it makes it difficult to trim. The aircraft also has unique peculiarities, not normally encountered on a modern passenger aircraft, which require a lot of extra focus. In truth however, there are no bad aircraft to work with, the biggest problem faced is the unpredictability of load due to the profile of the passengers who transit through Dubai. I am fortunate and grateful that I work with a good team who can adapt to these challenges so easily.
You have been at this job for 24 years. Tell us which incidents of poor load control stand out in your mind?
This is a rather difficult one to answer -thankfully in my 24 years I’ve never been part of an incident or accident directly attributed to load control. That being said, in my previous company we never focused on Ideal Trim, it was acceptable to be anywhere within the trim level, and there was no information of fuel cost or extra cost of a poor trim. I now see this as poor load control. My previous company never focused on maximizing space as we do in my team, often flights would have cargo off loaded when there was no need to, it all comes down to your planning.
How do dLCC activities square with environmental issues?
We try and do as much as we can, where we can. We are the leaders in fuel cost savings and focus on reducing fuel cost for aircraft, this is not only for profit but has a large part to play in helping the environment.       In addition we have a paper saving project and on-going energy saving projects in our office facility.
What sort of fuel impact do you have? What other initiatives are being taken to enhance green focus at dLCC?
Last year through our ITL project we were able to save Emirates an estimated 25 million dollars in fuel, just by getting better trims and the aircraft flying more efficiently and we are looking into more projects and initiatives to enhance the green-focus further in our line of operation.
dLCC serves we understand, 140 customers in Dubai and even more worldwide, Why should an airline say in Australia consider utilizing dnata Load Control Centre?
We are the experts in Load Control, we have 250 trained staff who handle 12+ DCS systems, this is unusual as most handling agents only handle a couple of airlines and are not familiar with so many systems and procedures.
      Our expertise will deliver a cost saving product to any airline that tasks us with reducing their fuel cost. Our cost base is low so in turn, we can deliver load control at a competitive price, thus reducing the cost of handling load control by the airline (as the airline will not need to train their own people and will not have a large cost attributed to load control).
What did you study in University? How did you get into load control?
When I left school I studied for a CIG London in Motor Vehicle studies, once qualified I changed direction and became a service engineer in Catering & Vending. I joined BA in the 80’s as a ground agent and worked my way through the ranks in all areas of BA and several different stations, I then went back and studied Management at Oxford Brooks University in the 90’s as I needed to gain a formal management qualification.
Does/has load control ever felt like a high wire walk?
We are aware that we are handling the lives of 100,000 of people every day but we are confident in our approach to safety, we have excellent procedures and processes in place and most activities are backed up with a safety process, either system or people-based. To answer your question “ Yes” it’s a stressful position, maybe the most stressful in the airline, but with a good team around you and good training and recruitment of quality people, the job is a lot easier.
How do you balance your life? Hobbies/Sports/Music/Favourite City/ Family/Vacation Spot?
I use the gym as stress relief and try to balance my life, I love cars and motorcycles and own a Subaru WRX Sti performance car and 2 motorcycles - a ZX10 sport bike and a KTM 450 dirt bike, weekends are spent in the desert on the dirt bike or at track days racing my sport bike around the autodrome.
      I play golf with a handicap of 9, my favourite city is Perth and my favourite music is R&B. Vacations are varied but LA/SFO and Vegas are where I’ve been for the past 4 years. I have two children, a 25-year old daughter and 23 year old son, my daughter has just had a baby boy so I’m now a grandfather.
What would you like to see changed about the way Load Control is perceived by others and conducted?
Load Control (LC) is the silent hard working side of the business, there’s no glamour in LC so it’s often overlooked. I would like to keep driving awareness of how important it really is, if we continue to show cost saving statistics I’m sure if will get more favourable press.
What can be done better?
With the advances in computer systems and in technology we can improve trim’s and save money for airlines. In a world of growing cost we need to improve systems that can support the cost-efficient delivery of LC and ultimately reduce fuel and result in cost savings.
What interaction do you have with others involved in what you do who are not working for you or a customer? What trade shows? What reading material?
There’s very little written about LC and rarely do we see trade shows publicizing it. Aside from the industry contacts and my team I would like to start visiting a few more trade shows to increase my interaction.
What do you consider to be the biggest challenge today in load control? Is it an industry issue? Education?
The biggest challenge we face is the need for continual improvement - we need to create modern systems that support the decision making of Load Controllers, Optimum trim and maximizing payload - this is where profit and efficiency can be increased.


Brandon Fried
Air Cargo 911-91111

     I was a forwarder serving on the Airforwarders Association Board of Directors and had flown into Seattle from D.C. for a meeting the night before the tragic day. My first concern of course was for the welfare of my family and employees back in Washington since events were rapidly unfolding. The news was full of uncertainty and speculation as to how many cities and flights were involved in the plot so much of my focus was on trying to get home since the nation's air system had been grounded. I managed to rent the last available car in Seattle the next morning and began the long drive back to D.C. along with two colleagues who lived in the region. We made the trip in about 60 hours with only two sleeping stops.
     As for the air cargo industry, my primary concern focused on the fact that terrorists had used aviation as an effective attack mechanism and the airfreight system could be used as well. I wondered if those lawmakers not familiar with the business would enact legislation that would ban shipments on passenger planes and if so, what effect would such an initiative have on the industry and most importantly, our nation's economy.
     Following 9/11, there were many short-term changes. In response to the attacks, improvements were introduced to address gaps in security. It is important to note that the industry changes all the time as it adapts to new technology, regulations and emerging threats. The most significant change came a few years after 9/11 when in 2007; the US Congress passed a federal mandate to screen 100% of air cargo flying on passenger flights in the U.S. within three years.
     The monumental goal of screening 100% of domestic cargo on passenger planes was achieved and has been in effect since August 2010. In total, 3 years of incredibly focused, well-planned efforts on the part of the government, airlines, shippers and forwarders resulted in successfully meeting the Congressional mandate deadline.
     The legislation included the Certified Cargo Screening Program or CCSP. This is the system in place in the U.S., and the entire supply chain is involved in screening and security from the time the box is packed to delivery at its final destination. The industry endured growing pains as they paid out of pocket to become certified screening facilities in order to secure the flow of cargo.
     On October 30th, 2010, the foiled bomb plot from Yemen exposed the weak spot in securing our skies, international cargo screening, as the attempted attack involved cargo on both passenger and cargo planes. Consequently, the need to secure international cargo, that is cargo loaded outside the U.S. but headed to U.S. airports, is being screened was pushed to the forefront of national security issues.
     TSA re-evaluated the originally proposed deadline of screening all international air cargo by 2013 and proposed the deadline be moved up by two years to December 31, 2011. TSA is working diligently with other nations to achieve the 100% screening mandate, and AfA is working with TSA to ensure that is accomplished in a timely manner. _
     Looking to the future, focusing on improving aviation security and eliminating redundancies in TSA's air cargo security policies are the issues AfA will continue to push forward. Our recommendations are focused on:
          o Harmonization of domestic security programs
          o Advancement of national air cargo security programs with other nations
          o Expansion of the existing CBP/TSA Air Cargo Advanced Screening pilot program
          o Improvement of TSA inspector training
          o Formalization of stakeholder engagement
          o Expansion of canine detection units in pallet screening
          o Fast tracking technology research and certifications

Felix Keck
Air Cargo 911-91111

Felix Keck

     On 9/11 I was sitting at my desk occupied with some trite daily chores such as monitoring cargo capacity. At that time I was responsible for Margin Management at Lufthansa Cargo.
     We were totally shocked when we received the information shortly after the attacks. We just could not believe what had happened and felt great sympathy for the victims. However, we quickly had to turn our thoughts to other business. When the American airspace was closed Lufthansa Cargo immediately established a task force involving all relevant decision makers. We were too busy dealing with the immediate challenges emerging for Lufthansa Cargo and our team then to think about the long-term consequences.
     It was only after a night’s sleep that I started to mull over the impact of this terrorist attack on the airfreight industry and questions of security, changes in trade practices and additional costs.
     The death of so many people was a great tragedy. The event has had a serious impact on our ideas of personal freedom and data protection. And it has changed our ways of handling and transporting air cargo.      The most obvious change is the increase in security measures being mandated throughout the supply chain. These have added significant costs to the overall transportation of goods, but have also caused modal shifts from air to surface (partly due to increased costs).
     Security is a key topic for all members of the air cargo supply chain today. There can never be 100% security however much we strive for this. Numerous measures have been introduced that have improved air cargo security. Others are just placebo therapy by politicians.
     The cargo screening methods have greatly improved as well as risk profiling and threat assessments. However, more needs to be done.
     I am certain that closer cooperation among the different stakeholders along the air cargo supply chain, more transparency, global standards as well as uniform legislation and implementation of laws around the globe could greatly enhance air cargo security. The IATA e-freight initiative is one measure to enhance transparency along the transport chain. And TRAXON Europe does all it can to promote paperless cargo handling.





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