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   Vol. 19 No. 13
Thursday February 20, 2020

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China Pandemic Worse Before better
     Media in Vientiane, Laos waiting for China's Foreign Minister Wang Yi's arrival at Wattay Airport for a Special ASEAN-China Foreign Ministers' Meeting on the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) on February 19, 2019 wear face masks to protect themselves.
     The COVID-19 patient count has reached to 74,185 and the death toll count has been confirmed to 2,004 so far in China.

The Coronavirus pandemic in Wuhan, China, continues to dominate the news.
     Dr. Liu Zhiming, director of the Wuchang Hospital in Wuhan, contracted the virus and has now died. He is just one of more than 3,000 medical workers affected by the virus, with half that number “in severe condition.”
     This brings into focus the plight of medical professionals on the ground in China.
     One major handicap both for the people operating in China and for the rest of the world as it attempts to gain a better understanding of this unfolding story is the Chinese Government communication firewall challenging transparency.
     To date, China has not accepted any help from the CDC and only marginal help from the WHO at a time when the best medical minds in the world are desperately needed in China.
     Wuhan has almost double the population of New York City and yet it appears, according to reports, like a ghost town.
     “Cities in China were vibrant until two months ago,” said Dave Ramaswamy, Principal of data gathering company Indus Latin Ventures on the YouTube program War Room Pandemic.
     “Currently the view from the streets of several China cities tells a story that no data can capture; cities are dead, desolate, and that speaks volumes,” Ramaswamy declared.
     His description of the speed in which the virus is spreading is frightening:
     “Imagine a petri dish full of virus and these viruses are doubling every minute.
     “The public health structure in China has collapsed,” Dave Ramaswamy said.

Upcoming China Trade Show

     In the face of what appears to be an out-of-control epidemic in China that has seen, among other things, Disneyland in both Shanghai and Hong Kong shuttered and even parts of the Great Wall of China closed down temporarily, we asked Messe Muenchen if plans for Air Cargo China ( June 16-18 at Shanghai Convention Center) were still a go.
     Rudolf Schmid, Deputy Exhibition Director at Messe Muenchen told FlyingTypers:
     “We are observing developments in China very closely and are naturally concerned about what has happened.
     “But in regard to trade fairs or events in China, there are currently no conditions or restrictions beyond the next few months imposed by the Chinese authorities.
     “So we do not intend to cancel the fair and you should consider that there are still four months to go until the show and by then the situation should have eased.
     “We are still assuming that the trade fair will open on June 16th,” Herr Schmid declared.
     According to reports more than two dozen large trade fairs and industry conferences in Asia have been postponed with billions of dollars in deals waiting on hold.
     The deferred events, including some scheduled as late as April, show the ripple effect of the virus on global businesses. Airlines are cancelling flights as governments and companies curb travel and thousands of factories and shops remain shut.

China’s Wings Clipped

     According to reports, more than seventy international airlines have suspended flights to China, with another four dozen flags shutting down altogether.
     Right now, the China cargo market is miniscule. The generated numbers are the result of one-way emergency traffic on main deck freighters filled with medical supplies. This is what is left of air service—essentially down to 20 percent of normal airline operations in and out of China.
     China flags still in the air total less than half in normal service, according to some reports.
Casting a long, languid look at empty airline gates and terminals across China, Official Airlines Guide (OAG) wrote:
     “Five weeks ago, China was the third largest international aviation market in the world; today it ranks 25th, just behind Portugal and slightly ahead of Vietnam.”

The Boesch Factor

     Speaking of the ongoing challenges in China, Bill Boesch reports exclusively:
     “There is a lot more than gentle concern and in some quarters, actual panic as this terrible pandemic impacts millions of people and the global airline industry.
     “On the cargo side Amazon’s effect on express carriers and the trade war with China had already delivered a huge negative impact.
     “That effect was heightened with changes in agreements reached with Mexico, Canada and Europe that balanced trade with the USA’s major trading partners.
     “The China coronavirus pandemic may just be the straw that breaks the camel’s back of some U.S. air cargo charter carriers.”


India Budget Slams Air Cargo

Ahead of next week’s Air Cargo India trade show event scheduled for Tuesday, February 25-Thursday, February 27 at Grand Hyatt Mumbai Hotel & Residences, comes word of impact felt as the China Covid-19 news worsens. Add to that the recently released Government of India Annual Budget, squashing hopes for anticipated cargo infrastructure improvements at India’s largest gateways.
     Hyped as the ‘make or break’ the widely reported Indian Budget, announced on January 30, might have delivered hope to the aviation community and air cargo stakeholders.
     Last year, the 2019 Budget had raised expectations about momentum that seemed to indicate that India would enter the aircraft financing and leasing market, as policy to increase foreign direct investment into Indian airlines.
     But all of that went by the boards for 2020 as in the 2020 Budget, aviation received a cursory mention.
     Of course, there was the announcement that 100 more airports would be built by 2024 to support the Prime Minister’s ambitious last mile connectivity scheme that would allow the common Indian to fly.
     These moves, however, would direct attention to smaller regional airports that do not impact, the continued major gateway airport capacity challenge.


Manish Gupta      Last week quoting a study by CRISIL, Fortune India reported:
     “Congestion at India’s four major airports—New Delhi, Mumbai, Bengaluru, and Hyderabad, which together handle over half the country’s air passenger traffic—would continue over the medium term. Currently, these airports on an aggregate operate at over 130% of their capacity. With healthy passenger traffic growth projected, this rate is expected to rise further in the next 12 months.
     “Capacity at these four airports will increase a cumulative 65% to 228 million annually (from 138 million now) by fiscal 2023. However, traffic is expected to grow strong, at up to 10% per annum over the same period,” says Manish Gupta, senior director, CRISIL Ratings. “Because the additional capacities will become operational in phases only around fiscal 2023, high passenger growth will add to congestion till then.”


Nirmala SitharamanNational Logistics Policy

     For air cargo, India’s Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman promised funding for the much-awaited National Logistics Policy to develop a single window e-logistics market in the country for faster movement of goods.
     “The policy will clarify the roles of the Union Government, State Governments and key regulators and create a single-window e-logistics market and focus on generation of employment, skills and making MSMEs competitive,” Minister Sitharaman declared.

Down On The Ground

     The situation on the ground, the big picture of the State of India itself, unfortunately is anything but promising.
With global geopolitical hurdles, increasingly impacted by coronavirus, the Indian economy has entered a slowdown mode with declining consumer demand and reduced private sector investment.
     Add to that the general unrest in the country with the passing of the Citizenship (Amendment) Act, 2019 that has seen women and youth in large numbers demonstrating in the streets of Mumbai and elsewhere.

Amit MitraBudget Pushback

     Former Secretary-General of the Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FICCI) and now Finance Minister of the state of West Bengal Amit Mitra was scathing in his criticism of the 2020 Budget.
     He said, "Before the budget, the Indian economy was in the ICU. “But after the budget, it will go straight to the ventilator.
     “This is an anti-people and thoughtless budget that leaves people at the bottom of the pyramid in every way.”

Air Cargo Decline in 2019

     In 2019, the economic slowdown impacted Indian air cargo resulting in a 5.3 percent decline in freight traffic.
     Result: Order cancellations and deep discounts in freight rates. Add to that there were no new buyers.
     According to studies, cargo companies had scaled down their growth projections for the full financial year.
     The numbers have been borne out by reports from the Ministry of Civil Aviation, which said that aircraft movements and freight traffic had decreased by 1.2 percent and 4.7 percent, respectively. Those figures, incidentally, were from August 2019. At that time, carriers like IndiGo and SpiceJet, transporting goods in aircraft bellies, were keen to increase their share.
     IndiGo’s CEO was quoted saying: “We are now focusing on inbound cargo business from Southeast Asia and Middle East and I am very pleased with the response we are getting on these sectors.”
     Those last figures from the Airports Authority of India (AAI) only underscore the trend.
     Domestic air cargo, for instance, in April-October 2019-2020 was 8,05,488 tons while in the same period in 2018-19 was 8,03,554 tons, a change of 0.2 percent.
     International cargo followed the same route: in April-October 2019-2020 was 12,05,123 tons while in the same period in 2018-19 was 13,13,312 tons, a -8.2 percent change.

India Airports & ICEGATE

     A look at the major international airports once again brings front and center the appalling need for the infrastructure improvement long overdue.
     There are long lines of trucks waiting and the Customs ICEGATE (the Indian Customs and Central Excise Electronic Commerce/Electronic Data interchange (EC/EDI) Gateway, a portal that is supposed to provide e-filing services to the trade and cargo carriers and other clients of Customs & Central Excise Department) is often off line and not working.

Nostradamus Could Not Have Predicted

     As a veteran freight forwarder put it, “We are happy that the government took the initiative to launch ICEGATE and usher in steps to ease business processes through a single window system.
     “Government has allowed us to set up Air Freight Stations.
     “These initiatives,” he said, “have borne fruit. 75 percent of air cargo gets cleared in less than 48 hours with Delhi being the fastest among metros, according to the time-tracking color dashboard recently launched by the Central Board of Indirect Taxes & Customs (CBIC).
     “But, even Nostradamus could not have predicted what we are going through.
     “Economy is down and now with Coronavirus, the situation has gone from bad to worse.”
     The veteran freight forwarder who asked that his name be withheld, makes the point.

Coronavirus Pandemic Impact

     “Coronavirus has already started impacting electronic products like mobile displays, open cell TV panels, printed circuit boards, capacitors, etc. accounts.
     “Such products are essential for TVs and smartphones.
     “Already, Chinese suppliers have hiked prices making phones from Xiaomi, Vivo, Oppo, OnePlus, etc. costlier.”
     Other than electronics, the auto industry—already depressed for quite a few months now—is also expected to be affected.
     Electric vehicle manufacturers will also find the going tough, with parts supplies dwindling.

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Alexandre de Juniac and Holger Winklbauer

The International Air Transport Association (IATA) and the International Post Corporation
(IPC) signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to reinforce cooperation between the two organizations.
  “International e-commerce is growing at around 20% per year, leading to rapidly changing market conditions for airlines and posts. Ensuring customers get their packages on time while safety and security in postal air transport is maintained is the main priority for posts and air transport operators alike. Cooperation across the supply chain is a must and our MoU with IPC is an important step toward strengthening our activity in this area,” said IATA’s Director General and CEO, Alexandre de Juniac (left in photo above).
  Holger Winklbauer, CEO of IPC concurred, “For more than 10 years, the cooperation between airlines and postal operators has enhanced processes and increased visibility of airmail transport.
  “With this agreement, we want to further strengthen our ties and identify further opportunities for cooperation and joint developments.
  “Both of our sectors can win from a reinforced cooperation in terms of competitiveness and quality of service. Ultimately, this agreement will benefit consumers through more reliable and faster delivery of cross-border mail and packets transported by air.”
  The duo announced that they plan to work together on seven specific areas:

  1.  Improving the security, handover, carriage, delivery and settlement of airmail between postal operators and air carriers. This includes e-commerce, economic and commercial matters.
  2.  Developing and maintaining industry standards and procedures as well as services and solutions for both physical flows and electronic data interchange relating to airmail.
  3.  Aligning existing services and solutions, along with developing new ones to ensure harmonized compatibility and efficient application of resources.
  4.  Finding technology-based standards and solutions for piece level tracking in airmail.
  5.  Addressing volumetric challenges, through initiatives such as Air Packet Box, and allocation and booking procedures for airmail.
  6.  Developing regional onboarding initiatives and global campaigns on airmail process optimization and standardization.
  7.   Improving the involvement of ground handlers and other industry stakeholders on matters concerning airmail.

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United Airlines Delhi-San Francisco

   United Airlines inaugurated daily nonstop service between New Delhi and San Francisco December 9, 2019.
   The service between Indira Gandhi International Airport and United’s hub at San Francisco International Airport operates on a daily basis during the winter months and three times weekly during the summer season.
   The service is the first by a U.S. carrier between the two cities and is the airline’s third daily nonstop service from India in addition to the existing daily, year-round services from Mumbai and New Delhi to New York/Newark.
   Commenting on the inaugural United Airlines flight from Delhi, Videh Kumar Jaipuriar, CEO-DIAL said, “At Delhi Airport, we are delighted to welcome United Airlines’ non-stop flight service between New Delhi and San Francisco. This route will provide our booming air cargo industry and individuals another opportunity to fly non-stop between the two countries. This route will not only help improve air cargo and the business-related travel experience but also encourage personal visits by a large Indian diaspora based in San Francisco.”

If You Missed Any Of The Previous 3 Issues Of FlyingTypers
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Vol. 19 No. 10
China Pandemic & Air Cargo 2020
Slowdown Slowed ACD Results
An Open Letter To Qatar Airways
Chuckles for February 11, 2020

Vol. 19 No. 11
Love Letter To Kansas City
NLB KC Grand Slam At 100
Chuckles for February 14, 2020

Vol. 19 No. 12
Are Amazon Fulfillment Employees Revolting?
New Era Going For Brokers
Chuckles for February 17, 2020

Publisher-Geoffrey Arend • Managing Editor-Flossie Arend • Editor Emeritus-Richard Malkin
Film Editor-Ralph Arend • Special Assignments-Sabiha Arend, Emily Arend

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