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   Vol. 17 No. 35
Monday June 11, 2018

     Ever since Ed Sullivan, the man who introduced The Beatles to America in 1964, coined “A Really Big Show,” we have thought of that phrase when we anticipate showing up for another air cargo trade event.
     The trade event journeys continue: from New York to Palm Springs and Shanghai to United Kingdom, a slightly delirious season of trade events, shows, and gatherings are driven in part by the need to meet and greet and fulfill the never-ending quest of filling up the coffers.


CNS Is The Top

     Today on balance, the CNS Partnership Conference is on the money as the right sized, performance-driven, top world event for air cargo.
     Spreading that thought a bit wider, IATA hit the sweet spot when it patterned its World Cargo Symposium (WCS) after CNS Partnership Conference.
     CNS Partnership began in the U.S. as a middle ground meeting in a nice venue, gathered yearly for the past 28 years with mostly airlines and forwarders in attendance.

Still The Ace

     2017 and 2018 have seen an increased focus on other stakeholders such as airports, ground handlers, and service providers. This year, CNS still holds the “Ace” as the most pleasant, customer-driven place to take a meeting over the course of a three-day event with airlines, forwarders, and others, including airports, GSSAs, truckers, and various factions of the transportation business.
     We have always loved CNS—from President Tony Calabrese to Mike White and Lionel van der Walt in between—for its open, arm’s length access to everybody, top to bottom.

Notable Alternatives

     By comparison, WCS has grown rapidly during the past few seasons, and is in reality a commercialized edition of a yearly mandated meeting of top IATA cargo executives that has been held for the past 40 years. It is the cargo version of the more widely publicized IATA passenger yearly meeting that draws top IATA management.
     Another notable difference between CNS and WCS (aside from the huge commercial advantage CNS holds in its direct customer contact meetings held 24/7 in private suites) is that access between the classes at WCS is limited in availability by several “invitation only” events.
     At CNS, almost everybody is welcome to attend every gathering with many of these same executives, who during the day are sequestered in the aforementioned non-stop customer meetings.      They are always nearby, whether happily out with the people at night, at the cocktail events, drifting around the lawn parties and golf courses, or waiting patiently in the queues for lunch or dinner.

Will Success Spoil Air Cargo Europe?

     Casting the net a bit wider, in recent years buzz in the business has been on the biennial Mega Air Cargo Europe.
     No doubt, Air Cargo Europe has developed into “the” really big show that is held at Messe Munich.
But success has had its impact, so get ready to wear your track shoes and comfortable clothing to experience a trip through the looking glass into (to quote a favorite book title by the late Tom Wolfe) a Kandy-Kolored Tangerine-Flake Streamline Baby transportation fairyland.
     Sure, there are hundreds of display stands and thousands of people.
     But at Air Cargo Europe, success has caused this event to completely outgrow the exhibit halls with what appear to be declining creature comforts at hand.
     For example, in 2017 the meager walking space allotted for attendees to move between display stands looked and felt like pig runs in a slaughterhouse.
     No doubt, heavy attendance at any industry event has its advantages.
     In general a packed venue is more productive, more innovative, and more energy efficient.
     But only up to a point.
     Marching up and down narrow corridors filled with legions of conferees lined on both sides by massive, multi-story sky scrapers, delivers a trade show experience that forces those seeking respite and space to breathe to the open air lawns located outside the venue between the buildings.
     The hope is that Air Cargo Europe can find more expansive space to accommodate what should be another “Really Big Show” next May.

The Last Word

     Thinking a bit further ahead, there are many events bidding for industry attention scheduled for the remainder of 2018.
     The dearth of shows scheduled raises more than just the challenge of attendees making choices and finding the time and money to show up.
     For example, just as CNS Partnership ended, less than three weeks later came Air Cargo China (ACC) in Shanghai, a gathering that included some of the same people who were in attendance in Palm Springs.
     What did these people bumping into each other again in so short a time have to say to each other?
     A quick look at the Air Cargo China panel sessions reveals that Alexis von Hoensbroech, Chief Commercial Officer, Lufthansa Cargo, soon to be CEO of Austrian Airlines, discussed about the same thing in China that was delivered as his Keynote Address at CNS in Palm Springs.
     We support carrying the discourse further, but also think this example illustrates a need for panel planners to seek out more current, updated industry issues for discussion.
     A driving force in China air cargo and aviation right now is airports, a subject that got no show at ACC.
In any case, it’s fair to say less duplication of topics would go further to support driving greater interest in panel sessions at these events.
     To be continued . . .


     At last month’s CNS Partnership Conference, which bannered itself as “Preparing for Tomorrow’s Reality,” the Airports Council International – North America (ACI-NA) Air Cargo Committee coordinated a panel titled “Airport Partnerships: Driving Solutions.”
     Considering that all of us are over, under, around, or through an airport every step of the way in air cargo, maybe what our world could use right now is a great, informative discussion of what is happening in places we all share.
     Well, guess what? From the endless stack up of air cargo tradeshows that have happened so far in 2018, the Airport Partnerships CNS session towers head and shoulders above all of them.
     Here is our firsthand report.

Discovering Columbus - Who Knew?

     Bryan Schreiber, (right) Manager of Business Development – Air Cargo for the Columbus Regional Airport Authority, which operates Rickenbacker International Airport, moderated the panel.      Panelists included Milton de la Paz, Vice President of Airline Relations from Dallas Fort Worth International Airport (DFW), and David Whitaker – Chief Commercial Officer for the Columbus Regional Airport Authority, as well as airport cargo consultant Michael Webber of Landrum & Brown.

First Person Partnership

     Bryan Schreiber, who also serves as the ACI-NA Cargo Committee chairman, acknowledged the ongoing cooperation between the trade associations. CNS and ACI-NA embody the kind of information exchange needed at the individual operator level between the largely public sector U.S. airports and the private sector airlines, handlers, forwarders, and trucking companies.
     “I’d like to express on behalf of the airport community our appreciation to CNS for including over the past several years, and now under Michael White, airports in the conference and seeking ways to extend this partnership,” Schreiber stated.
     “No issue on the ground is generally solvable by one entity, and airports are increasingly aware of their unique responsibilities.”

Hey Friend, Do It Again

     Evidentiary of this relationship, both Webber and de la Paz had been panelists in the previous year’s CNS conference, and Webber hailed the role of CNS and of the Air Forwarders Association in holding “road shows” in key U.S. markets where airports need the private sector’s support in elevating awareness of critical cargo issues. Webber observed that “airport operators are near enough to the impact of traffic bottlenecks and related issues but often report to municipal, county, and occasionally state agencies with little or no such exposure.
     “So rather than being received negatively, airport operators may welcome the public complaints of a motivated private sector because elected officials often respond more affirmatively to angry business owners than to well-intentioned bureaucrats.”

Overview Brief

     A deep thinker on these matters, Michael Webber (left) provides a brief overview of cargo challenges confronting a variety of U.S. airports.
     “Because airport operators’ principal investments are in ‘bricks and mortar,’ the standard master planning horizon is 20-30 years, but must accommodate the needs of airline and handling tenants whose assets are more portable and whose planning is often in cycles of weeks and months.
     “So airport operators must ensure that cargo operators have sufficient opportunities to provide input on cargo facilities planning, but similarly incumbent on the private sector to take full advantage of those opportunities.
     “While on-airport tenants (airlines and handlers) are relatively reliable to show up for airport-hosted public meetings on cargo, critical off-airport cargo entities—such as forwarders and trucking companies—are much more challenging to engage.
     “Localized traffic congestion that often overlaps between municipal roadways and on-airport arteries is an exemplary challenge for which on- and off-airport cargo operators must be part of the planning narrative.
     “As the bridge between their private sector tenants’ needs and essential approvals from municipal, state, and federal departments of transportation (DOTs), airport operators have a unique facilitation role,” Michael Webber said.

Big D My Oh Yes!

     From the perspective of one of the world’s busiest airports, Dallas Fort Worth - DFW’s Milton de la Paz (right) recalled having fused “interests and efforts of the more airport operations-centric tenant group that focuses on ramp safety and operations efficiency with the broader commercial concerns of the DFW Air Cargo Association (http://dfwaca.com/).”
     Although the two groups have some members in common, they historically worked more in parallel rather than finding intersections of common cause.

A Tale of Contrasts

     “In terms of land, DFW is one of the biggest airports in North America,” de la Paz noted.
Naturally, this caused panelists to observe the contrasting remedies for different airports’ cargo challenges.
     “At legacy gateways like Los Angeles International Airport, cargo improvements cannot be undertaken without complex management of existing assets and operations because some displacement and accommodation will be required.”
     “In contrast, land-rich DFW still has significant ‘greenfield’ areas that can potentially be developed for new cargo tenants and next-generation e-Commerce tenants.”
     DFW is noteworthy as it is extraordinary for an airport that ranks in the top five U.S. airports in annual passengers to also land in the top ten in annual air cargo throughput.

Hello, Columbus

     Coming from a different angle was David Whitaker from the Columbus Regional Airport Authority, which oversees the passenger-focused John Glenn International Airport (CMH) and cargo-oriented Rickenbacker Airport (LCK.
     Whitaker observed that “like land-rich DFW, LCK has the prerogative of accommodating distribution operations that might not fit at airports required to prioritize the flows of millions of passengers.
     “Rickenbacker has been successfully transformed from a former military base to a surging international freight gateway.
     “By design, the Airport Authority has ensured that its cargo facilities and services—provided by exclusive fixed-base operator Rickenbacker Aviation—are more than adequate to accommodate the growth LCK has enjoyed in recent years.”

Easy As ABC

     “In April 2018, AirBridgeCargo Airlines (ABC) became the fifth freighter operator serving LCK, joining Cargolux, Cathay Pacific Cargo, Emirates SkyCargo, and Etihad Cargo.”

Developing Alternatives

     The panelists discussed LCK’s success in developing as an alternative to more conventional international cargo gateways, such as New York’s JFK International Airport and Chicago’s O’Hare International Airport (ORD).
     “LCK’s success is partially attributable to the operator’s disciplined approach to development—both in persevering through some lean years and in not overreaching for market share.”

Success, Plane & Simple

     The Columbus-based management clearly understands why many carriers and forwarders serve legacy gateways like ORD, but knows its own market well enough to leverage opportunities driven by local demand, making LCK into a model worthy of copying—or at least considering.
     Like Huntsville before it, Rickenbacker’s success in developing an alternative gateway looks deceptively simple from the outside.

Innovation Stages Drives Conversation

     This year CNS tried something different.
     Rather than holding an avalanche of concurrent sessions, new CNS President Mike White opted for conducting meeting sessions adjacent to the static displays of various companies—a space that also hosted food services.
     The result was an audience that included members of all the obvious air cargo sectors, as well as facilities developers and technology vendors.
     For this airport session, audience questions about complex issues were never likely to produce detailed solutions developed on-the-spot, but succeeded in inspiring lively discussions.
     For example, Scott Case, founder of Position: Global and President of the International Air Cargo Association of Chicago (https://www.iacac.com/), suggested airport operators as potential mediators in battles between forwarders, trucking companies, and handlers with chronic labor and service issues that ultimately cause congestion at cargo terminals and roadways.
     Developer Bob Caton from cargo facilities developer Aeroterm asked whether the “Guidebook for Air Cargo Facility Planning & Development” (available for download at http://www.trb.org/Main/Blurbs/173274.aspx) that Webber co-authored for the Transportation Research Board was still a reliable resource for airport planners and others.
     Webber acknowledged that effort “had taken surprising turns en route to completion due to the majority of U.S. airports having surplus capacity due to bankruptcies and acquisitions of air cargo carriers since the industry’s U.S. peak year of 2000.
     “While airports long hoped that these facilities might provide capacity for new-entry cargo tenants,” Webber cautioned, “many decades-old cargo facilities are poorly suited to 21st century users and therefore may be better candidates for demolition and/or replacement than for reuse.”
     Nonetheless, the guidebook reviewed an unprecedented range of U.S. air cargo facilities and introduced planning nuances (eschewing “one size fits all” cargo facilities planning metrics) and at less than five years old, remains a valuable tool for airport planners, many of whom contacted Webber post CNS to confirm this.

Swarm in The Warm

     Palm Springs may have been 106 in the daytime during the CNS event, but it was good to see that immediately following the bright and lively panel discussion, audience members desiring to continue the deliberations on airport issues swarmed participants.
     Vendors of technology solutions touted the need for better IT integration between on- and off-airport links in the supply chain.
     Potentially working in tandem with physical improvements such as truck cueing lots, IT solutions are offered as a means of improving the utilization of capacity where physically expanding capacity is not much of an option.
     And the thought process put in motion here will undoubtedly continue.
     Stay tuned after a definite shout-out to CNS for proving change and quality presentations are more than an option—they’re the new reality.

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Just 80 years ago last month, in May 1938, four carrier pigeons went up against against an Eastern Airlines mail plane in a race to see which method could cover the 200-mile route from Washington, D.C., to New York faster.
     “The wing-weary birds, their feathers drooping, swooped down on [the] Journal and American Building a half hour before their man-made competitor slithered to a stop at Newark Airport,” read the newspaper report.
     It was the first Air Mail Week, celebrating the 20th anniversary of both the airlines and airmail in 1918.
     James Farley, Postmaster General during the President Franklin D. Roosevelt Administration, cooked up Air Mail Week 1938 as a publicity stunt.
     Air Mail Week encouraged every U.S. citizen to send an airmail letter during the celebration, which ran May 15-21.The campaign had a catchy slogan: “Receive To-morrow’s mail to-day!” and a new six-cent airmail stamp to boot.


     On May 15, 1918, aviators 1st Lt. Torrey H. Webb and 2nd Lt. James C. Edgerton utilized Curtiss “Jenny” JN4s surplus U.S. Army WWI aircraft to move 144 pounds of mail between Washington, D.C., and Philadelphia.

First of the Firsts

     In the spirit of absolute accuracy, air mail was first introduced in 1911 at an air meet above Mineola, Long Island, New York, when pilot Earle Ovington tossed a full mail bag out of his plane that was picked up by the local Postmaster.
     This ad-hoc effort was the first time a pilot officially carried any U.S. mail.

Air Mail Delivered LaGuardia Airport

     Between 1918-1939, all the air mail bound for New York landed at Newark Airport.
New Jersey, it turns out, was way ahead of New York in embracing the commercial potential of aviation, even though many pioneering firsts happened in New York and particularly over Long Island.

Speed Was The Need For USPS

     It was very simple.
     The Post Office (USPS) demanded the fastest service from aircraft to processing.
     The official New York City airport at the time was Floyd Bennett Field (FBF).
     FBF is located at the end of Flatbush Ave. in Brooklyn. During that era, pushcarts, horses, and trolley cars crowded the area and it was about an hours ride away from the General Post Office (GPO) located at 34th Street and Eighth Ave. in Manhattan. But New Jersey delivered the mail bound for (GPO) in under 30 minutes by building roads that dispatched Newark Airport mail flights via express lanes to the Holland Tunnel in Elizabeth, New Jersey, connecting to downtown Manhattan where it was a quick ride up the west side to the GPO.

“My Ticket Says New York”

     Newark aerial service landings and tickets that identified those flights as New York existed for the first 21 years of airmail and air passenger service.
     But in 1934 when Mayor LaGuardia told his TWA pilot aboard a tiny DC2 flying from Chicago Midway to New York (Newark), “My ticket says New York and that is where I want to go,” the aircraft (another publicity stunt) steered its way to New York airport and the aforementioned FBF, and the air mail future for New York was cast.
     In 1939 LaGuardia Airport opened and everything changed.

Newark Airport Closed

     The airlines abandoned Newark Airport and shortly after that in 1940 the airport minus the airlines actually closed.
     Newark Airport opened again in 1941 at the outbreak of WWII, but it never fully recovered as an airport until 1978, when the deregulation of the airline industry brought on the advent of Don Burr’s People Express.

Air Mail Week 2018

     Spend 3 minutes as Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association (AOPA) present an interesting, fairly accurate view of air mail days gone by, including a modern day salute.

A P.S. - “Postal Script”

     In 1938, those “wing weary pigeons” actually won the race from Washington to New York, but only because they were spotted a 24-hour head start.
     All in good fun . . .

If You Missed Any Of The Previous 3 Issues Of FlyingTypers
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