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   Vol. 23 No. 12

Wednesday March 13, 2024


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IATA World Cargo Symposium 2024

     The party may be just about over for IATA’s World Cargo Symposium in Hong Kong where the show closes on Thursday at noon at the Hong Kong Expo Center but no doubt results are in when standing back and taking measure of the gathering experience for our air cargo business.
     For many here it feels as if a cloud has just been lifted.
     If you turn the clock back to September or October of just last year, in 2023 the mood was one of gloom, with little or no sign of a peak season.
     Yields and volumes were low as an omnipresent gloom seem to hang over the industry.
     Fast forward to WCS 2024 with more than 1,900 animated, involved attendees inspiring IATA DG Willie Walsh jubilantly proclaiming the cargo event as the "biggest" since IATA went into business in 1945.
     The mood here is buoyant and you would be hard pressed to find anybody that was in Hong Kong this week, who is not talking about growth and opportunities.
     Thank e-commerce in no small part as a reason behind some creditable optimism moving forward in 2024.
     Listen to Tom Owen, Director Cargo at Cathay Pacific, who termed that growth as “phenomenal”, which is not a word one hears all that frequently around the air cargo industry.
     And in a world of what goes around comes around, hey friend, how about Hong Kong doing it once again; perfectly placed and willing and able to handle any new twist in the air cargo road.
     Hong Kong, given its unique location in the Pearl River Delta, home of a great deal of Chinese-based manufacturing offers spectacular connectivity of its airport and air services.
     Our regular readers have read our coverage of Canaio Smart Gateway towering over the cargo area at the airport.
     This impressive investment received more than a few accolades during WCS, and why not?
     Here is where all your air cargo tomorrows are greeted by a truly smart facility, integrating both the traditional cargo functions of pallet buildup and breakdown with the e-commerce action.
     Of course, e-commerce is not without some challenges, but here is a best bet that the always elusive last mile has been finally approached to do things faster and more efficiently with the traditional “speed bumps” found in air cargo operations smoothed out.
     Finally with its third runway almost ready for full scale operations, Hong Kong’s cargo capacity just added an eye popping one million tons of e-commerce opportunity.
     Hong Kong delivered a genuine humdinger event at WCS 2024.
     Thanks Hong Kong & IATA—We needed that!
Bob & Urs

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Brendan Sullivan, Marie Owens Thomsen

     Brendan Sullivan, International Air Transport Association (IATA) Global Head of Cargo pictured here far left with the people that brought IATA World Cargo Symposium to Hong Kong, led the charge Tuesday March 12 where the news was as big as the audience itself.
     “We can report that more than 1,900 people, a record number of delegates are here for our conference!” a jubilant Mr. Sullivan reported.
     “Adoption of ONE Record is a priority,” Mr. Sullivan said right away.
     ONE Record is a standard for data sharing and creates a single record view of the shipment defining a common data model that is shared via standardized and secured web API. The standard is based on mature but progressive data sharing technologies that are well aligned with the best practices used by leading airlines. This means ONE Record is directly accessible to IT teams and service providers.
     “The journey to digital cargo is challenging but IATA’s ambition is clear,” Mr. Sullivan said.
     “Digital, digital, digital!”
     “Our commitment to sustainability is unwavering,“ Brendan Sullivan insisted.
     “There is no shortage of demand for SAF, the challenge is supply.”
     Looking ahead Mr. Sullivan said:
     “IATA is developing CO2 connect program.
     “Most importantly, people are at the core of air cargo and everything we do.
     “Being constant toward objectives is not easy,” Brendan said, “but we will never waver!”
     Marie Owens Thomsen, IATA SVP Sustainability and Senior Economist at the opening arrived in Hong Kong with an impressive set of charts that illustrated a positive industry view.
     “Global GDP growth remains at 3% with unemployment rates at or near historic lows,” the lady said.
     “Our industry has made an impressive financial recovery,” the economist noted.
     “Cargo is back at 12% of total revenue.
     “Revenue growth driven by passenger segment and cargo is well on the way to going back to pre-pandemic equilibrium,” Ms. Thomsen said, adding:
     “On the whole air fares are not increasing above inflation.”
Bob & Urs

Chuckles for March 13, 2024

Tom Owen, Michael Steen, Vivien Lau, Willie Walsh, Kirsten de Bruijn

     One of the highlights of any really fine conference aside from networking and sessions, (and if you’re really lucky this week at IATA WCS Hong Kong a bit of local color experience to remember this jewel of a destination) are the ideas and friends; and maybe one or two new ideas that will endure, that you pick up along the way.
     One cogent observation and there were many (with a final count of 1920 delegates) at this event, came from Tom Owen, Director Cargo, who, noted growth of “e-commerce, represents a special opportunity for Hong Kong given its proximity to the gigantic Pearl River Delta manufacturing hub of southern China.”
     Tuesday March 12 as IATA World Cargo Symposium got underway at Hong Kong Expo Center attendance was on everyone’s mind.
     At “The Roundtable” were Willie Walsh, Director General IATA, Michael Steen CEO Atlas Worldwide, Vivien Lau, CEO Jardine Aviation Services, Kirsten de Bruijn EVP CargoJet.
     Here is some brief takeaway from that session:

Michael Steen: 
Air Cargo needs to get greater engagement with legislators when it comes to sustainability.
     We need to do more faster.
     But as an industry we have some challenges coming towards us.
     As example, out of 650 freighters about 100 are due for retirement.
     Am concerned that we haven’t done enough to attract young people to our industry.

Willie Walsh:  
While pace of change is slower than we would like, the direction of travel is correct.
     General observation is that without good digital processes and standards, AI cannot be used effectively.
     It’s a fantastic industry but we face a challenge attracting new people.
     Also we need to address gender imbalance.
     Freighters are critical. Having 1,900 people at this event underlines the industry’s importance.
     Biggest attendance at any IATA meeting ever!”

Vivien Lau: People make the difference. Younger generation have the new ideas.
     This week here we can all hope to uncover what is the next game changer in this industry.

Kirsten de Brujin: Air Cargo needs need more collaboration.

     Watching this conference continue, we can’t help but think, for this to be happening in an industry that has gone through incredible difficulties over the past few years of the pandemic, in a city that was, and by some still is, frequently being written off as past its best days is a remarkable result.
     Here are people doing what they do best in real time, in Hong Kong.
     Almost 2,000 people this week are together underscoring for all, that the spirit of air cargo is alive and well.
Bob & Urs

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Willie Walsh, Wilson Kwong

     In the picture this week in Hong Kong is Wilson Kwong, (r) CEO of Hong Kong Air Cargo Terminals Ltd ( HACTL) receiving the Certificate of Registration for the IATA Environmental Assessment ( IEnvA) Organization from Willie Walsh, Director General of International Air Transport Association (IATA).
     At WCS 2024 Hong Kong this week if there were Skytypers writing across the sky above the throng gathered below at HK Expo Center, the words, like the focus of HACTL would be:
     “Digitalization, Safety & Sustainability.”
     The given here is the widely-held belief that sustainability impacts all of us one way or the other.
     Here at IATA WCS, focus for a moment on the sustainability efforts and achievements of WCS host city, Hong Kong.
     To set the table, rewind the clock maybe 40 or 50 years when Hong Kong was synonymous with the manufacture of toys, textiles and cheap electronics.
     One could be forgiven for being surprised, in those days that word up around here was that “muck makes money.”
     But for some years now sustainability is front and center in the city’s sights and sensibilities.
     And nowhere is it more so than out at Hong Kong International Airport, the busiest air cargo operation in the world.
     A closer look reveals some real achievement here:
Benny Siu      As explained by Benny Siu, (left) Head of Safety, Sustainability and Quality Assurance at HACTL, the gateway’s trilateral approach to a workable Sustainability Program includes: Climate Action, Waste Management, (e.g. Revive and Thrive) and Inclusiveness.
     Some examples of these initiatives include recycling of the vast amounts of timber waste, empty wooden forklift pallets being the main culprit, into simple pieces of furniture for the less fortunate of Hong Kong, carried out by HACTL staff, all on their own time.
     HACTL is going to also utilize Renewable Diesel (RD) fuel made from fats and oils, for those vehicles and GSE that for technical purposes cannot be battery powered.
     “On the subject of alternative sustainable fuel sources for vehicles, the Airport Authority Hong Kong has set 2027 as the date to have a hydrogen refuelling station on the airport enabling widespread use of hydrogen powered vehicles,” Benny Siu said.
     It seems that Hong Kong International Airport has ambition and will power to continue to lead the way as the premier gateway in this region, and also as the most sustainable!
Bob & Urs

St. Patrick's Day Header

      Celebrate St. Patrick’s Day with these words as you lift your glass to friends and family:

  May the road rise up to meet you
And may the wind always be at your back
May the sun shine warm upon your face
And the raindrops fall soft upon your fields
And until we meet again
May God hold you in the small of his hand.

     There may always be an Ireland, and beyond that lovely prospect, always hundreds of parades around the world to celebrate on March 17th.
     This year on Saturday March 16, from 11:00 a.m. until about 3:00 p.m. on an island called Manhattan, a green stripe runs down the middle of Fifth Avenue from 44th to 86th Street for The St. Patrick’s Day Parade, one of New York City’s greatest traditions.
     On St. Patrick’s Day a kind of wonderful delirium takes over Gotham.
     Everyone is Irish!
     The annual procession marches up Fifth Avenue, past St. Patrick’s Cathedral at 50th Street, all the way up past the Metropolitan Museum of Art at 83rd Street.
     New York City’s St. Patrick’s Day parade began before there was even a United States of America; the first march in Manhattan was held on March 17, 1762, when Irishmen from Ireland’s Revolutionary War brought the tradition here.
     Military units continued to march each year until after the War of 1812, when local Irish fraternal and beneficial societies began sponsoring the event.
     In those days, the parade was quite small, marching from local Irish meeting halls to Old St. Patrick’s Cathedral in Lower Manhattan on Mott & Prince Streets.
     By 1851, the groups had banded together, nominating a Grand Marshall and increasing the size of the parade.
     This was when the Irish 69th Regiment (now the 165th Infantry) became the lead marchers, and the Ancient Order of Hibernians became the official sponsor.
     We love St. Patrick’s Day.
     It’s when the “Irishrey” of New York come out in full celebration. Look into the faces of the uniformed services, especially the NYC Firefighters, and you will understand it immediately.
     We also like that St. Patrick’s Day Parade remains true to its roots by not allowing floats, automobiles and other commercial overkill.
     Marching, great bands, and bagpipes fill the air as people from all over the country and the world celebrate in New York.

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. 23 No. 9
Why Women Matter To Air Cargo
Chuckles for February 22, 2024
Oman Air Cargo Ready
Vol. 23 No. 10
March Air Cargo Shows-A-Poppin
Chuckles for February 28, 2024
Can't Anybody Here Play This Game?
Buffalo Cargo Delivering At Jet Speed

Vol 23 No. 11
Bow-tie Party For The Age of PayCargo
Ingo On The Road Again
Wim Will Always Be A Winner

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

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