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   Vol. 19 No. 14
Monday February 24, 2020
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Qatar Heartline To China
  Five Qatar Airways Cargo freighters departed from Doha to China on Friday, February 21, carrying approximately 300 tons of medical supplies. The airline donated the cargo, which amounted to 2,500,000 face masks and 500,000 bottles of hand sanitizer to support COVID-19 relief efforts.
  The five flights departed one after the other bound for Beijing, Shanghai, and Guangzhou as part of Qatar Airways’ voluntary offer of free air cargo transportation for medical relief aid organized by Chinese Embassies and Consulates worldwide to fight the coronavirus emergency.
  Qatar Airways Group Chief Executive, His Excellency Mr. Akbar Al Baker, said:
  “When this crisis began, we knew we had to contribute to support our friends in China. As one of the leading air cargo carriers in the world, we are in a unique position where we are able to provide immediate humanitarian support through the provision of aircraft and donating medical supplies as well as coordinating logistical arrangements.”

Buddhist Monks In Mumbai
As the world moves to thwart the COVID-19 pandemic from spreading, last week in Mumbai Buddhist monks held candles and prayed for people affected by the deadly virus.

Air Cargo India takes off in Mumbai this week as COVID-19 rages in China.
     So here are some words of advice for all conferees:

Namaste Air Cargo India

     From the moment that you take off from home, stop greeting people by shaking hands, hugging, and kissing.
     With COVID-19 on everybody’s mind extend greetings and really show the love the traditional Indian way: with hands together at chest level forming a pyramid as you smile and say “Namaste” which means “I bow to you.”
     Such is life in the year 2020 as air cargo begins its long year of trade shows and events.
COVID-19 may have dampened air freight growth across the world, but a sold-out Air Cargo India being held in Mumbai this week, February 25-27, 2020, offers a networking and educational event so that all might get a better handle of exactly where air cargo is heading in 2020.
     In a time of fear and misinformation, some folks who are attending Air Cargo India spoke up in advance.

For Kale More Has More

     An upbeat Amar More, Director, Kale Logistics Solutions, put it rather aptly:
     “In spite of COVID-19, we find the buzz about Air Cargo India unabated, as we plan to meet a lot of our customers and prospects during the event.”
     He added that “most visitors to ACI that we have spoken to are continuing with their plans to travel to Mumbai.”

For Kale More Is More

Amar More     Kale’s More is looking ahead to a packed schedule at Air Cargo India.
     “We are excited to meet our friends, colleagues, Kale customer family, media, and, of course, our fellow board and trustee members of TIACA.”
     More’s enthusiasm comes from the fact that Kale will be showcasing its United Nations award-winning Air Cargo Community system and its air cargo handling system (which is automating cargo handling at 80+ airports globally).
     It’s also fair to say that with more than 80 percent of India’s air cargo traffic moving via Kale’s system, attending Air Cargo India is a no-brainer.

No Ticket No Visa No Show For Chinese

     Sadly, there will be no participation or visitors from China following the Indian government’s temporary cancellation of all e-visas to Chinese passport holders and shut down of transportation services.
     “Due to the current circumstances, we have no exhibitors or delegates from mainland China” was the statement from the show organizers.
     But Air Cargo India will include “participation from 15 countries including the USA, UK, Germany, France, Canada, Belgium, Kuwait, Turkey, and the UAE.”

Doctors On Call 24/7

     Additionally, the organizers have taken precautionary measures for all exhibitors and visitors by ensuring the presence of doctors and a clinic; a 24-hour ambulance during set up of stalls and on the show days; hygienic cleaning services; constant water supply; and adequate supply of face masks and hand sanitizers.

Gathering At Crucial Time

Sunil Arora     Sunil Arora, newly elected President of Air Cargo Agents Association of India (ACAAI) put it this way:
     “ACI has always been an industry show where carriers and cargo terminal operators come together and showcase their vision and plans based on the trends of world cargo.”
     Putting aside the coronavirus scare for a moment, he said that “this year ACI will have more enthusiastic participation as it has come at a very crucial time with the world under the epidemic cloud of coronavirus.
     “China has been a top spot with freight movement across the world, be it air or sea.
     “We need to estimate and plan—now that the after effects of the catastrophe are playing out.”

Tushar The Cargo Pusher

Tushar Jani     Tushar K. Jani, veteran air cargo player and President of apex air cargo body Air Cargo Forum India, echoes similar sentiments. “The show, which comes every alternate year, provides a great platform for the industry.”
     Coming as it does in the midst of an epidemic that is looming over the Asian continent, Jani emphasized that “the event is being held at an appropriate time to discuss the challenge and get an insight into how industry veterans and experts plan to tackle the slowdown.
     Mr. Tushar said he thinks that the Indian aviation sector will get plenty of traction as the event unfolds this week.
     “While domestic air cargo is still showing small growth, international was just coming around, but then here came the virus that has made it so challenging.”

India On The Half Shell

     “India, without a doubt, will be the center of attention.”
     Kale’s More points to the work that he has been doing globally to “create digital cargo communities around airports and more importantly also link airports globally with partner airports through its digital corridors.”
     As the creator of North America’s first airport cargo community system (ATL), the next task for Kale is connecting the airports in North America with Indian airports using digital corridors to facilitate and grow the trade between the two regions.
     In fact, this subject of connecting the U.S. and Indian air cargo industry using digital corridors is expected for discussion at the high-level panel between India and U.S. officials during President Trump’s visit to India today—just ahead of ACI.

The Elephant In The Room

Keku Gazder      But like it or not, COVID-19—or rather its effects—will be the elephant in the room.
     With the show listed as sold out, Keku Gazder, CEO of AAICLAS (AAI Cargo Logistics and Allied Services Company Limited), is looking forward to discussions on “the effect of coronavirus impacting the sizeable amount of India’s import traffic from China in the pharma and telecom sectors.”
     “No doubt COVID-19 is driving greater sourcing from India for the western world.
     “We are also seeing growing opportunity for freighters at this time,” said Gazder.

Chance To Share & Learn Deep Dish

     Speaking for ACAAI, President Arora points out that at Air Cargo India, the situation arising from COVID-19 as well as the slow growth of economy “will be discussed threadbare as to how and what steps need to be taken.”
     “Perhaps,” he said, “an action plan will be conceived especially by large freighter operators flying in and out of China.
     “Right now,” he cautions, “airlines and all players in supply chain management must not view this unfortunate situation as an opportunity to increase rates and revenue, but in turn work on increased throughput by deploying extra frequencies.
     “This is a time in history to gather, learn from each other, and work even closer together.”
Tirthankar Ghosh

Chuckles For March 3, 2014

Fat Tuesday New Orleans

     The great annual celebration that we so dearly love and have celebrated in our publication for the past 45 years occurs tomorrow.
     February 25 marks Mardi Gras, otherwise known as Fat Tuesday, continuing
the Carnival celebrations of New Orleans. Also known as Shrove Tuesday, the events celebrate the Christian feasts of the Epiphany that culminate on the day before Ash Wednesday.
     Mardi Gras in jazz-rich New Orleans is like nowhere else in the world.
     Mardi Gras is French for "Fat Tuesday," reflecting the practice of the last night of eating rich, fatty foods before the ritual sacrifices and fasting of the Lenten season that continues until Easter Sunday.
     New Orleans is also home to the great Tulane University.
     For many years during the formative period of organized air cargo, the
great airport cargo pioneer Larry Johnson of MSY was punching way above the weight of that gateway, working with people all over the world to put our industry on the map.
     Fortunately, in 2020 we have our friend and colleague Michael Webber, Associate Vice President of Landrum & Brown, the Global Aviation Planning & Development group, to represent the holiday from a table at Cafe du Monde in the French Quarter.      Beignets in hand, he's ready to share his views on a unique celebration and a great American city.


From Kansas City To New Orleans

     Born and raised in Kansas City (as FlyingTypers readers now know), I moved to New Orleans in the late 1980’s by the generosity of a full academic scholarship to attend Tulane University’s MBA program.
Allen Toussaint, Dalai Lama and Dr. John     I had a few options but only one that assured me the opportunity to hear the music of Dr. John and the Neville Brothers with great regularity. Tulane had an excellent reputation as an international business school with an emphasis on Latin America – perfect for someone whose undergraduate studies had been equally focused on Business Administration and Spanish Literature.
     Besides, Tulane seemed like the only place where one might someday encounter the likes of Allen Toussaint, the 14th Dalai Lama and Dr. John as a power trio.
     I met my future wife during my first year at Tulane and we would welcome our first-born during final exams of the second year. The day that Marta and I were married by a justice-of-the-peace, New Orleans was having a typical torrential downpour that left the groom soaked and caked in mud. I understand that in some cultures that is considered a good omen but our reception was held in my brother-in-law’s home, which would be destroyed by Hurricane Katrina years later.
Mike and Marta Webber      With a new baby, I needed to find work immediately and began contacting a variety of local characters associated with New Orleans’ trade and transportation community.

New Orleans Organized Cargo

     I became the managing director of a newly-minted trade association with Board members representing the Port of New Orleans, the New Orleans Aviation Board, the New Orleans Consular Corps and the International Freight Forwarders and Customs Brokers Association of New Orleans (IFFCBANO, for short!)
     Traveling around Central America with a pack of New Orleanians seemed exotic. These were great years for New Orleans and for New Orleans International Airport.

Larry JohnsonThe Great Larry Johnson

     I was learning the air cargo business from some of the best people imaginable – most obviously Larry Johnson who was MSY’s Air Cargo Manager, but also freight forwarders like John Hyatt from the Irwin Brown Company and airline veterans like Roger Mascaro from El Salvador’s TACA International Airlines.
     Thanks very largely to the efforts of Hyatt, New Orleans would have the most attention-garnering booths at Central American trade shows, hauling a Dixieland jazz ensemble.

Long Descent During Times of Change

     Sadly, whatever momentum we may have had seemed to dissipate over a number of years.
     Our trade association was absorbed into a newly-formed Pan-American Commission by then-Louisiana governor Buddy Roemer who promptly failed to qualify for the run-off in his next election – losing to oft-indicted Edwin Edwards and former Ku Klux Klansman David Duke. I remained in New Orleans a little longer by joining the international department of a great old Louisiana bank (First Commerce Corporation) before taking my first full-time airport job as the Director of Marketing & Economic Development for the Airport Authority up Interstate 55 in Jackson, MS.
     Larry Johnson stayed with the MSY until his retirement a couple of decades later. I had dinner with him a few years back when he joined me at my brother-in-law’s restaurant on Canal Street. He looked good and seemed content in his retirement. He happily recalled when my wife and daughter (then a newborn and now-29 years old) would be at the terminal at MSY to see me off on trade missions. He is an uncommon gentleman.
     For many of us in the industry, including people who may have been his competitors, Larry was among our first thoughts as reports came in about Katrina’s devastation and more specifically, about the makeshift morgue that MSY’s air cargo facilities had become. Our friendly forwarder John Hyatt had to chop his way with an axe through his home’s attic in order to save himself and his family.

MSY Today

     Like much else about New Orleans, the extent to which MSY has recovered is debatable. Always a strong tourism attraction and conference favorite, MSY ranked #42 among North American airports in Calendar Year 2018, according to Airports Council International – North America. MSY accommodated slightly more than 13 million passengers for the year. MSY ranked significantly lower (#61) in air cargo for the same year, accommodating only about 56,000 metric tons for the year – about 35% less than it had in Calendar Year 2000.
     While double-digit losses were common among U.S. airports for that period, those of us who once aspired to see New Orleans International Airport gain prominence as an international air cargo gateway cannot help but be disappointed.
     Since Larry Johnson’s retirement, evidence of enthusiasm for air cargo development has seemed inconsistent at best.

Miss New Orleans

     I’ll forever be grateful for having lived in that pre-Katrina version of New Orleans. Even in its current condition, New Orleans is—to me—the American city least like any other American city and it was as close to the ideal of the “melting pot” as any American city ever attained.

Mike Wwebber and Robbie RobertsonHomage To The Crescent City

     Legendary songwriter Robbie Robertson (The Band) named his album ‘Storyville for New Orleans’ old red-light district and much of its content was inspired by the Crescent City. Perhaps fittingly, he compared New Orleans to the dance of the seven veils.
     Eventually, you may get to see everything but you can’t be in a hurry about it.
     I left New Orleans in my twenties and am now in my fifties.
     The city still intrigues and energized me every time I visit. I hope it has an encore or two left in it.
     I know that my own past pops up in the most unexpected places – like when I found myself catching up with the great Aaron Neville not long ago in Chicago.
Michael Webber


Music For Fat Tuesday 2020

Dear Readers,

     Don’t see how we get out of this memory without some manner of Playlist.
     Even if we could, why would we?
Louis Armstrong     Let’s start with the New Orleans native Louis Armstrong (right), who for a while was one of the most famous men on the planet, doing one of the most beloved songs of the previous century.
     An architect of rock ‘n’ roll. One night during graduate school, I was in line ahead of Fats Domino at a local donut chain. Awed into a stupor by the proximity of a living idol, I asked if I could buy his dozen for him. He politely declined with the admonition that the probable college boy should probably save his money.
     One of the songs most associated with New Orleans.
     How about the extraordinary Professor Longhair backed here by the Meters – the funkiest band America likely ever produced.
     Allen Toussaint was one of New Orleans’ renaissance men – as influential as a producer and songwriter as he was as a recording artist. No less than Paul McCartney would record his album Venus & Mars at Toussaint’s New Orleans studio and ask the owner, himself to play on it.
     The singular Dr. John. Nobody reminds me of him.
     Future founding member of the Meters and his later namesake band, Art Neville first cut this song in the 1950’s, then rerecorded it (this version) decades later with the Meters. When I lived in New Orleans, Mardi Gras wasn’t “on” until I’d heard the Neville Brothers (anchored by Art) do it.
     One of the most romantic songs ever recorded and certainly one of America’s most distinctive vocalists. Here’s Art Neville’s immortal “Tell It Like It Is.”
     The Band’s Robbie Robertson is a Canadian but a long-time fan of New Orleans, making his second solo album Storyville very largely as a tribute to the city.
     “Do You Know What It Means to Miss New Orleans”. I do and I miss it often.

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Full Speed Ahead At Air Cargo India

Virgin Galactic and George Whitesides

  I was sponsored for membership to the Wings Club in 1981, 39 years ago, by one of that organization’s founders, Ansel Edward McLaurine Talbert, who was present at the club’s creation in 1941.
  Other founding members of the Club included Juan Trippe, CEO of Pan American World Airways, William “Pat” Patterson, founder of United Airlines, CR Smith, founder of American Airlines . . . you get the picture.

Ansel Talbert, Salim Salaam and Geoffrey Arend

1978—Ansel E. Talbert, Special Commentaries Editor, Air Cargo News, Salim Salaam, chairman and chief executive officer, Middle East Airlines and Geoffrey Arend, publisher Air Cargo News FlyingTypers.

  For his part, Ed Talbert at the time was among the most famous aviation writers in the world.
  Ed Talbert served as the Aviation Editor of the old New York Herald Tribune from the 1930s, and later worked with the group at Bletchley Park on Operation Ultra, the project that decoded the very highest level of encrypted communications of the German armed forces, as well as those of the Italian and Japanese armed forces, and thus contributed to the Allied victory in World War II
  Ed served as our Special Commentaries Editor from the late 1970s to his death in 1987.
  In 2020, The Wings Club remains as the-must stop of a who’s-who of world aviation leaders.
  Today, The Wings Club venue is an elegant dining salon inside the Yale Club, which sits astride Grand Central Station in Manhattan in the shadow of the old Pan Am Building (renamed The Met Life Building in 199, after the demise of “America’s Airline to the World”).
  This week The Wings Club meets on Thursday, February 27 for a luncheon address by George T. Whitesides, the CEO of Virgin Galactic, and The Spaceship Company, a manufacturer of advanced space vehicles. Both entities are part of Sir Richard Branson’s human spaceflight venture.
  Prior to joining Virgin Galactic, George served as Chief of Staff for NASA. Upon departure from the American space agency, he received the Distinguished Service Medal, the highest award the agency confers.
  For reservations, contact Lea at (212) 867 1770 or

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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

Vol. 19 No. 13
Pandemic May Get Worse Before It Gets Better
India Budget Slams Door On Cargo
Chuckles for February 20, 2020
IATA Goes Postal
United Airlines Delhi-San Francisco

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