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Family Aid 2020
   Vol. 20 No. 29
Wednesday July 28, 2021
    When you think about it, very early in the pandemic Virgin Atlantic Cargo made it clear that the red coats were going to take the bull by the horns and damn the pandemic. They stepped out brilliantly with an aggressive, well thought out strategy to move cargo upstairs on aircraft seats before anybody else.
     We can never forget that irresistible determined picture of some nice-looking people masked up out on the ramp and inside Virgin Atlantic aircraft bringing life to otherwise empty passenger cabins.
     To be sure, eventually everybody moved cargo in cabin. But for us we just love and shall never forget that during those dark days of early 2020, Virgin Cargo took off the gloves and announced their program to the world in a simple joyous photograph.
     At a time when everyone’s back was to the wall, Virgin Cargo, in a picture that appeared in almost every air cargo publication in the world, announced: “ Pick yourself up, dust yourself off and start all over again!”
     Now that bow-tie cargo award parties seem to be staging a cautious comeback —somebody should hand a special recognition award to Virgin Cargo for lifting all of us up.
     But now it is July 2021. So in our always “what have you done for me lately world,” Dominic Kennedy, Managing Director-Virgin Atlantic Cargo, confident as ever, reports that VS Cargo is ready when you are.
     “We had a record year in 2020, re-engineering our business into a successful freight-only operation, offering cargo-only services and charters for the first time in our history,” Dom declared.

Giving Thanks

     “This year of 2021 has also exceeded our expectations so far, as we await passenger demand and the reopening up of the United States.
     “We’d like to take this opportunity to thank all of our customers network wide for their support over what have been a very difficult 15 months for everyone.

Lessons Learned

     “The pandemic taught us that we need to be agile in order to survive in the most challenging operating conditions Virgin Atlantic has ever faced. We introduced cargo-only flying, a first in our history with the first flight, taking place to Shanghai on March 23.
     “We have operated 5,760 cargo-only flights in total and launched 12 new cargo-only routes to Beijing, Boston, Brussels, Chicago, Dublin, Evenes, Milan, Incheon, Islamabad, Lahore, San Juan and Xiamen, an unprecedented feat during turbulent operating conditions and demanding trading environments.
     “This resulted in a record performance over the past year, a testament to the hard work of our teams.”

FT:   What happens today if you have cargo to move that is different than before the pandemic?
DK:  We have continually reviewed our network, looking at demand and where there might be new opportunities for both Virgin and our customers. This has resulted in us flying a variety of goods from new markets, fish from Norway, flowers from Brussels, carpets from Pakistan and of course much needed PPE and medical supplies from Shanghai, Beijing and Xiamen. Through amazing teamwork across the whole of the airline, we have been able to react and adapt quickly utilizing our fleet of aircraft to the best of its ability to meet customer demand and reach markets, which the airline has never served before.

FT:   Step back as someone in the forefront of thinking about things and address vaccine distribution.
DK:  Virgin Atlantic Cargo continues to innovate, unveiling our readiness to transport crucial vaccines and pharmaceutical products through our Pharma Secure product launch back in November last year.
     To ensure the safety and security of this valuable cargo, we introduced a new Pharma Secure service for all urgent, valuable and vulnerable pharmaceutical and life sciences shipments. This new product takes our already well-established pharmaceutical offering to the next level. We want to offer our customers peace of mind so they can book confidently with us, knowing their precious cargo will arrive safely, securely and on time. We continue to play our part in supporting the Covid-19 recovery by transporting crucial vaccines and pharmaceutical products to the UK and around the world on our global network, ensuring swift access to vaccines for the public.
     That commitment continues on a global level, through a new Cargo partnership forged with SkyCell. The partnership strengthens our ability to transport precious pharmaceutical products, through self-charging, temperature controlled containers to boost the safety and sustainability of shipments, as we transport life preserving vaccines around the world on our network.

FT:   What went well and what didn’t?
DK:  We had a record year in 2020, with business up 49% year on year, despite a reduction in capacity. Our partnership with the Department of Health and Social Care and the NHS is something we are particularly proud of, operating cargo-only flights from Shanghai to London Heathrow, bringing over 8.5 million kilos of essential PPE into the UK.
     I continue to be in awe of our incredible teams, who work tirelessly and with that core Virgin spirit that has made our cargo operation the success it is today.
In terms of the challenges, operating amidst ongoing travel restrictions has been no walk in the park. We have been able to overcome this recently with ultra-long haul flying for example, where red list destination flights are operated by two sets of crew to enable services to return straight back to the UK.

FT:   What did you discover about yourself and what will you retain from the way you have had to do business these past 15 months?
DK:  This is an industry that moves at a phenomenal pace and no day is the same and the last 15 months have been the most challenging but also the most rewarding. To work for a company that has empowered cargo to lead the way through the COVID crisis has been a real honour and privilege. Of course, we are looking forward to the world opening up and welcoming our passengers on board, but it has been a fantastic opportunity to show to the world the valuable role cargo plays.

FT:   What surprised you?
DK:  Nothing really, working for an airline and in the aviation industry, we are used to surprises.

FT:   Word up to your staff and customers as you think about these things and move forward.
DK:  As mentioned already, I am in total awe of every single member of our cargo team and I cannot thank them enough for the role they have played in the survival of Virgin Atlantic. To our customers, again, the biggest thank you—their support, and that of our suppliers, continues to contribute to the survival of Virgin Atlantic.

FT:   What are you most looking forward to doing both business and personally as restrictions ease and COVID finally recedes?
DK:  In terms of business, I look forward to spending more face-to-face time with our customers, colleagues and partners. As for me personally, like the rest of the world, I can’t wait to step on a plane and head to somewhere sunny.

FT:   Are you a bit fatigued of zoom, webinar and other web-driven contact? Or will you make that medium a go to form of contact and communication? If answering yes, how much face-to-face? Or wait and see how you feel?
DK:  I think it is a combination of the above. Virgin Atlantic recognized the need to work incredibly quickly and efficiently at the start of the pandemic, and web-driven contact enabled this. However, face-to-face contact certainly allows for further communication and deeper discussions, which I know the team have enjoyed as they’ve started to spend more time in our offices and cargo facilities.

FT:   How will Virgin Cargo emerge during the rest of 2021? Name the highs of course but also what can we all do better?
DK:  Virgin Atlantic Cargo will continue to play a vital role as the airline looks to return to normal service. Our flights to Europe continue to be in popular demand, which has dramatically shifted our route network. Highs also include the success of our Pharma Secure product, as we continue to support the vital global transportation of vaccine distribution and life sciences shipments.
     Sustainability will continue to be a key focus, careful consideration of fuel and carbon efficiency have been built into our fleet decisions for many years - and will remain a key feature of our fleet planning.  We have committed to achieve Net Zero emissions by 2050, and will be pursing all avenues to achieve that goal – through fleet and operational efficiencies.  Environmental responsibility is considered in everything we do.

FT:   What has air cargo shown during the pandemic and should there be an industry wide campaign to advance air cargo to targeted industries or some other form of coordinated effort led by FIATA, IATA, CNS or even alliance partners? If so what would be the message?
DK:  Virgin Atlantic and air cargo has adapted and innovated to ensure its long term future post pandemic. We launched our cargo operations in direct response to global conditions and remain committed to keeping global supply chains open.

FT:   What would you tell a young man or woman entering air cargo right now, knowing what has happened during the past 15 months in addition to your career experience?
DK:  If you want to work for an ever-changing industry, where no day is the same, have the opportunity to innovate and share ideas, plus get to meet and work alongside the most wonderful people—then this job is for you.

     Amar More is Director, Kale Logistics Solutions.
     Kale is pronounced (Kah-Lay) Kale is also a well-known last name in the Maharashtra State of India.
     Amar is well-known in air cargo and logistics circles as the ‘Go-to’ man who knows everything about technology. A professional with huge experience in supply chain, consulting and technology industries, he is sought after as a speaker in cargo conferences. He was a keynote speaker at Sustainable Development Goals of Sustainable Transport and Peace conference held at the United Nations, Geneva, where he spoke on ‘Facilitating International Trade by creating multimodal digital cargo communities.’ Director with Kale Logistics Solutions, More is also an elected representative of the technology domain on the Board of Directors of TIACA. Always on the lookout to bridge the technology gap between the developed and developing logistics industries globally, More spoke with ACNFT.

FT:   What is your top priority in July 2021 looking ahead?
AM:  Building Digital Cargo Communities around airports and ports for trade facilitation. We are experiencing tremendous demand for digitization of cargo at airports and ports and are currently actively working with around 40 airports and ports globally assisting them in decongesting their facilities, facilitating trade and making them more sustainable. We are working with several of the top 25 cargo airports in creating world class digital infrastructure for them for air cargo. Facilitating trade by creating such digital cargo communities at these airports and ports is our top priority and North America and the Middle East will be our focus area in the coming year.

FT:   How has Kale weathered the storm of COVID-19?
AM:  When COVID 19 started, we thought that it will significantly impact our revenues adversely as our revenues have a direct correlation to the shipment/cargo volumes. And, indeed, the pandemic did significantly impact us–but much to our surprise positively. We actually ended up doing over 25 percent better than over our planned budget. COVID 19 necessitated that the industry digitizes its operations not just for efficiency but for saving lives (remember the virus stays on paper for upto 72 hours and congestion aids the virus transmission). We saw that 2020 had at least 4-5 years of digitization packed into one. A lot of stakeholders who hitherto had viewed automation as a nice to have thing, started looking at automation as a business driver and we saw one of the best years in terms of demand for our cargo community and handling products in 2020.
     Having said that, execution wasn’t simple at all. Due to travel restrictions, we could not travel to meet our customers. Our employees had to work from home under several constraints. The second wave did impact a lot of families within our employee base as well as customers. However, this adversity gave us the tremendous opportunity to improve our processes and controls. We found efficient ways of working from home. We also implemented several systems in North America which is thousands of miles away successfully completely remotely. We also got several marquee customers during these times and also found interest of several investors/funds and ended up raising our first external funding.
     So, all in all, it all worked out quite well. As they say, each adversity brings an even bigger opportunity. And we now firmly believe in the same.

FT:   How Can Air Cargo Accelerate Global Recovery?
AM:  I always salute the air cargo industry and dare I say that if this industry weren’t there, many more lives would have been lost and supply chains broken. So, hats off to the Covid warriors of our industry who kept goods and aid moving, risking their lives. As the new dynamics evolve and manufacturing bases shift, this industry needs to be agile enough to cater to the shifting paradigms.
     And to do that, the industry which has been a laggard in digitization has to leapfrog to catch up or surpass the digitization in other industries like telecom, finance etc. There is a great push from regulators, customers and just the whole situation for the industry to leverage technology to eliminate excess paperwork, duplication of processes, higher dwell (idle) times and do all of this with minimal resources. The industry needs to question the conventional wisdom, shrug off the old ways of working and adopt the technological innovations to transform to the next levels of efficiency. There are several technologies available that can help the industry operate at least 30-40 percent more efficiently and these technologies don’t cost millions of dollars or significant capital investments. The industry just needs to start using some of these platforms for its metamorphosis. It’s time for the industry to move to a cloud (literally and digitally) and connect with its supply chain partners.
     This will help attract more cargo to this mode of transport and accelerate the global recovery.

FT:   How Will India Logistics Emerge From This Time?
AM:  We work with over 4,500 customers across 30 countries and believe it or not in terms of Technology adoption, India comes in the top 3 or 4. As they say, necessity is the mother of invention (or innovation) and some of the technology that severely constrained airports like Mumbai developed 7-8 years ago is becoming a need in the developed world now. As a matter of fact, India in the e-AWB ranking now stands anywhere between 4 to 6 globally which is indeed commendable.
     We saw the adoption of some of the use cases/features of our cargo community systems going up 9-10 times in the pandemic times. India had a strict lockdown and the huge amount of cargo still needed to move, be it pharmaceuticals, food or medical aid. We saw the Indian logistics industry lapping up technology like nobody’s business. The certificates for which people had to visit chambers offices could be received sitting at home and 24/7. The delivery orders became online. Customs transformed their processes. Airports like Bengaluru and Mumbai created and enhanced their air cargo single window systems. Forwarders and brokers moved to cloud-based systems for business continuity and helping their staff operate from home during the lockdowns. We saw papers replaced by QR codes.
     I feel the Indian Logistics industry has unlocked a lot of value during the pandemic times and has emerged stronger and much more digitized setting a benchmark for the world.

FT:   What Have You Learned?
AM:  You never know what you can do until you are pushed in the corner. If two years ago someone would have told me that you can still create world class software with ALL your employees working from home, that you can implement systems from India in places as far away as North America, South America, Europe, Middle East, Africa, I would have laughed my heart out. If someone would have said, people can move cargo in and out of large air cargo hubs based on QR codes (and no or little paper, people would have thought it to be a sci-fi imagination for our industry.
     But the reality is, all of this has happened in the last 18 months. It means that opportunities for improvement and innovation always exist and one must continuously keep looking for the same on the transformation journey. One must keep pushing oneself to the corner all the time.

FT:   Attend Public Gatherings or a Trade Show 2021
AM:  I am fully vaccinated now and I just hope the travel restrictions will be relaxed. I intend to travel post September 2021. However, we all have to be wary of the third wave and with the virus mutating, one can’t predict the future. India was a global case study in the first wave and faced a disaster in the second wave. So, it all depends on Mr. or Ms. Corona! But the will and intention to attend trade shows like TIACA Executive Summit is certainly there.

FT:   What Surprised You During The Pandemic?
AM:  Fortitude and adaptability of human beings. I always knew that there are good people in the world but the pandemic actually brought them into the limelight and showed us that people can risk their lives to save others’ lives. And I just don’t mean the medical professionals; they are of course considered next to God for all the right reasons. But I also saw other Gods like the essential commodity store operators, transport workers, policemen and of course the logistics industry. They all kept the world going. Their resolve to serve the community in difficult times is something that surprised me with gratitude.
     The other was adaptability. People adapted to working the way they had never seen or imagined themselves doing. Kids could study completely remotely, people could work from home efficiently, the increased awareness of sanitization, the way people started meeting online. It was simply amazing to see us humans adapting to the challenges posed by adversity. No wonder we all believe in Mr. Darwin and his theory.
FT:   Who Are The Heroes?
AM:  It’s very difficult to choose any one person when so many heroes emerged during the pandemic. But I would definitely like to mention one name and that is the Senior Vice President and Head of Cargo of Mumbai International Airport, Manoj Singh. He is an inspiring leader that the world doesn’t know much about. All throughout the pandemic, he did not take a single day off. Mumbai is the commercial capital of the country and a major gateway for pharma, medical instruments, food and other cargo. He made sure that the airport kept working even during strict lockdowns. He worked with the community and regulators in ensuring that cargo got delivered on time. He is someone who rolls up his sleeves and is ready to pick up packages if there is shortage of staff on the ground. He has transformed a severally constrained air cargo airport using digitization and successfully managed the technological and process changes even during the pandemic. His indomitable spirit and panache for digitization definitely makes him a hero in the difficult times.

FT:   Imagine All Kale Business Partners Together At Once
AM:  We firmly believe that we, as Kale, are born to transform this industry. Our mission is to connect the cargo stakeholders and empower them with digitization. We want to democratize technology in our industry wherein people don’t have to invest millions of dollars just to be digitized. Our raison d’etre is digitization of the logistics industry and we live and breathe by this motto.
     We are very proud of the work that we have done so far. No one ever believed that over 2,500 companies from different business lines could operate on one airport cloud solution to facilitate trade and exchange data digitally but we made this happen with the help of our customers. And we are not just doing this in one location, we are creating digital communities globally across North America (where we created the first airport cargo community system in the region and are now working with several large airports to replicate the same), South America, Europe, Middle East, Africa, Asia Pacific. We have helped our customers do more with less. And it’s less talk and more action.
     Through our innovations, we have helped reduce container dwell times at ports by 75 percent, handlers’ documentation costs by 80 percent, reduced the tax refund times of exporters by 90 percent, and are helping airports save about 7 million copies of paper annually (equivalent to about 1,500 trees annually), reduce truck waiting times at airports by 40 percent, reduce the documentation time at the airports and ports by 75 percent, improve ‘ease of doing business’ rankings of countries we work with. And all these are well documented case studies and have received awards from neutral global forums such as the United Nations and several governments.
     We know that some markets are more difficult than others but we promise that in spite of the challenges, we will not be deterred. We will persevere and we will continue to help our customers become more efficient, safer and more sustainable. And most importantly, we want to express our gratitude to this industry and its stakeholders for believing in us time and again!!!

FT:   How Will Air Cargo Organized Events Change?
AM:  I believe and I have experienced that most events will move to a hybrid mode i.e. onsite and online. Indeed, this will help most organizations reach much higher number of participants. I recently spoke at and attended the National Customs Brokers and Forwarders Association of America (NCBFAA) and it bears testimony to what I say. It was a fantastic combination of in-person and an online conference.
     This is going to increase the reach of these associations and event organizers tremendously.
Tirthankar Ghosh

FlyingTalkers podcastFlyingTalkers

Virgin Cargo Lifted Us All
Oh! By Golly Here Comes Kale

Pumping TrafficAir Canada put out some figures last Friday and Matthieu Casey, Senior Director, Cargo Global Sales and Revenue Optimization could not be happier. “We’re tremendously proud of the strongest quarterly results Air Canada Cargo has ever seen,” Matt (left) told PumpingTraffic, adding “Those numbers and that effort is a testament to our continued efforts to maintain stable and consistent capacity flows for our customers across the globe through cargo-only flying. Our team achieved a record USD$358 million in Cargo revenue for the second quarter, which represents an increase of USD$89 million, or 33% compared to the same quarter in 2020. We’re relieved to see our passenger network starting to rebuild and continue to provide cargo-only flying in markets where capacity is still constrained. With arrival of our first 767 freighters in Q4, the combination of these, our continued cargo-only flying and passenger flights resuming paints a strong portrait for the rest of the year.” . . . Canada to allow fully vaccinated people from the U.S. to enter the country next month beginning August 9, which should help boost those AC numbers . . . Emirates and Miami International Airport celebrated the inaugural flight of the airline’s first ever service from Dubai to South Florida as a B777 arrived at MIA at 11 a.m. on July 22 . . . Royal Air Maroc debuts 11 routes to Europe, whilst also adding frequencies at 10 others . . . Finnair June pax numbers minus 90.8% as compared to 2019. Load factor of 34.7%. Air China reports June passenger dropped 31% vs 2019 with international -98.3%. American Airlines buckling up for a net loss of more than USD$1billion in Q2 . . . Things looking up for airports expected to lose more than USD$108 billion this year, as that number reverses earlier projections of up to 250 billion in global airport losses in 2021 . . . Hong Kong Airport year ended this past March, delivered passenger numbers down 98.6% and cargo down 2% year-on-year . . . The “new” South African Airways emerging will see pilot numbers dip about two thirds from 268 to 88 . . . Lufthansa Cargo to modernize Road Feeder Services high-rack storage system at the Frankfurt hub. Two companies Vollert Anlagenbau and Körber will carry out the modernization of the RFS stacker’s mechanical, control and IT systems in the future. LH Cargo now marketing the freight capacities of the new long-haul flights of Eurowings Discover, adding frequencies from Frankfurt (FRA). The new Eurowings Discover flights provide two additional connections weekly to Mombasa (MBA) and Zanzibar (ZNZ). Starting August 2, serving Punta Cana (PUJ) thrice weekly, and Windhoek (WDH) 5 days/week . . .

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Email graphicRE: Don't Count Out Hong Kong

Dear Geoffrey,

  I applaud Bob Rogers for taking the courage to tell the western world the exact opposite of what they have been preaching . . . Bob is telling the facts of life now in Hong Kong, no more, no less, but just factual. 2019 was a disastrous year for Hong Kong, there were riots, arson, destruction, stopping of public transport services, killing of a few people with a different view by the so-called democracy fighters. All under the pretext of democracy. Nancy Pelosi even called it (the riots, arson etc.) a beautiful sight (sort of). That was total lies. How the western media, and or driven by politicians who have an agenda against China and Hong Kong, have fed their readers in years past with total lies, misinformation and disinformation about Hong Kong, is beyond anyone`s imagination.
  Hong Kong is part of China, under One Country, Two Systems. The provisions of the National Security Law for Hong Kong, as introduced by the National People Congress of China in 2020 July, are very much the same set of laws all other countries have for their own countries. The U.S. now talks about national security for all matters to do with China and indeed the rest of the world. So, what is wrong with the national security law for Hong Kong.
  Stability and safety for the people are restored fully after the national security law, and we are confident of an even brighter future for Hong Kong.
  I do hope you will be able to share my comments with your readers.

Yours sincerely,
Stanley Hui
A long-time aviation man in Hong Kong
July 23, 2021

Editor's Note: Stanley Hui Hon-Chung, a go-to-guy who has appeared in our pages many times during his years when he was Chief Executive Officer of Airport Authority Hong Kong. In our experience 'Stan the Man' always would tell-it-like-it-is. Good to open the information channels to this vital global air cargo gateway and other voices, including the voice of this airport pioneer who was present and stood up to be counted upon not only at Hong Kong but also at TIACA during the great Hong Kong air cargo run up and which still continues today during the first quarter of the 21st century.
  The full three runway system will be operational in 2024. That will be a new era for aviation in Hong Kong, and indeed, in the Greater Bay Area (or the Pearl River Delta). Mr. Hui is working on a new airline, called Greater Bay Airlines, which will operate both passenger and air cargo services.

     Even though many are not flying and Canadian wildfires had clouded the sky above New York City, we kept looking up.
     On Friday July 23, that effort paid off big time as Mother Earth delivered quite a sky show as the Buck Moon had Lunar enthusiasts and astronomers alike basking in the glow. The full Moon in July is called the Buck Moon because the antlers of male deer (bucks) are in full-growth mode at this time.
     I recall my family cabin in Northern Michigan built out of logs during the 1930s by my Gramp and his brother in law, my “Uncle Bill” Kaiser.
     The fireplace, hand-made out of small boulders and stones from the land around the cabin featured a crowning jewel of a 21-point buck that Gramp and Bill harvested, whilst hunting with bow and arrow.
     We are thinking of that place around this time of year and the fresh trout we fished every morning out of the Au Sable River nearby . . . But Oh, that moon . . .

If You Missed Any Of The Previous 3 Issues Of FlyingTypers
Access complete issue by clicking on issue icon or
Access specific articles by clicking on article title
Vol. 20 No. 26
New USMCA Rules
Man Bites Dog for Cargo Security
Chuckles for July 7, 2021
Pumping Traffic for July 7, 2021
COVID Devastation of India
Contrails Days May Be Numbered

Vol. 20 No. 27
Brendan Sullivan Global Head IATA Cargo
Turgut A Force for Good
Chuckles for July 12, 2021
Small Hotel Close To Home

Vol. 20 No. 28
Tokyo Olympics Heat Up
Virgin Cargo On Pandemic
Talking It Up Lying Down
Chuckles for July 20, 2021
Don't Count Out Hong Kong
PumpingTraffic for July 20, 2021
Never Forget Flight 800

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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