Category Archives: Aviation

Air cargo proves to be more resilient in challenging times: Tushar Jani, ACFI

Taking few points from Prime Minister Announcement speech of the relief package, Tushar Jani, President, Air Cargo Forum India (ACFI), says in one of the sessions of CargoTalk second digital conclave, “It is the first time that supply chain has come in forefront and air cargo has proved to the world that this is the reliable arm of supply chain. All air cargo professionals have worked together in saving lot of lives.” He adds, “It is been proved that air cargo is more resilient and agile to come to the challenge within no time. In Covid-19, logistics professionals work like warriors, they are as important as doctors and nurses in the hospitals. They are the ones who are working on the ground to make sure to keep Covid-19 supply coming in.”

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Bangalore Airport handles 1,425 metric tonnes of perishables

Kempegowda International Airport, Bengaluru (KIAB or BLR Airport) processed 1,425 Metric Tonnes (MT) of perishable cargo during April 2020. The countrywide lockdown and subsequent blockade of district borders by Karnataka had a significant impact on the movement of cargo. As a result, perishables saw a 49 per cent drop as compared to 2,770 MT processed during the same month last year. This drop was largely owing to restriction on transportation, shortage of farm workers and various other issues faced by farmers and shippers. Doha was the top destination, for perishables from Bengaluru, having received 834 MT, Dubai was second, with 146 MT and London was third at 110 MT. Ten airlines, including two Indian carriers, transported perishables to 28 international destinations. The perishables, which included vegetables and fruits, were transported from various parts of Karnataka.

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Mumbai Airport touches record cargo import & export, in COVID-19 times: Manoj Singh

Despite transport constraints and stringent regulations due to COVID-19, Mumbai Airport handles 12000 tonnes of export and 9000 tonnes of import particularly during this lockdown period. Talking in the second digital conclave of CargoTalk, Manoj Singh, Senior Vice President & Head – Cargo, Mumbai International Airport, says, “We, as a stakeholders, have really worked hard to keep the things moving. It is not possible to achieve these numbers without the combination of all the stakeholders working toward the same goal.” “On an average, Mumbai Airport witnesses eight to nine cargo flights per day with export flights operating mainly to the U.S., Germany, South Africa, France and the United Kingdom. With this, I can see that the freighter movement will possibly increase because there is paucity and challenge on the international passenger flights.

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SpiceXpress freighters ensure India’s seamless supply chain amid the pandemic: Sanjiv Gupta

Calling these last two months hectic or challenging, from an airline perspective, would be an understatement, says, Sanjiv Gupta, CEO, SpiceXpress in the CargoTalk’s second digital conclave. He explains, “Our whole business which was based on carrying cargo in the belly of passenger aircraft got completely changed in a day and airlines stopped ferrying travellers from one place to the next. The pandemic has changed the whole scenario. At that time, domestic demand was low; hence, we started working on the international routes because we have seen demand for perishables to the Middle East, medicines and equipment from South East and China. We had a fleet of five dedicated freighters which crisscrossed the global skies carrying vital supplies including perishables, medicines, etc in this global war against COVID-19 pandemic.” “Now, we are witnessing that domestic demand is picking up,” he adds.

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Collaborative approach can bridge supply chain gaps: Vandana Aggarwal

Stressing on the swiftness with which the entire machinery; whether it is government, airports, airlines, freight forwarders or truckers are moving to grasp the needs of the times, Vandana Aggarwal, Senior Economic Adviser, Ministry of Civil Aviation shares the cataclysmic impact of the pandemic in the second digital conclave of CargoTalk. She says, “This crisis has brought out the most humane side of aviation as well. It’s something that needs to be recognised. That humanity actually raised, on the commercial side, an important collaborative approach. Till now, everything in cargo business was used to be contract bound. But here we found that everybody looked to strengthen the weakest among them and to somehow bridge the gap in our supply chain in whatever way possible.”

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Agility & Chapman join hands to deliver MRI Machines to Male, Maldives

Agility and Chapman Freeborn Air chartering have decided to unite their efforts in delivering CT scan and MRI machines to Malé, Maldives. The Ministry of Health in Maldives ordered approximately 41 tonnes of cargo consisting of MRI, CT scan machines and other health equipment for distribution to four different hospitals across the chain of islands and atolls that make up the nation. Agility airlifted the cargo into Dubai from various locations in the USA, China, France, Japan and India. The seamless movement of more than 287 pieces from five countries into Dubai was a challenge, especially when availability of flights and space became limited due to the COVID-19 outbreak. Agility worked with Chapman Freeborn and chartered a B747 freighter from Al Maktoum International Airport in Dubai. Using B747 aircraft provided significant cost savings when compared with alternatives such as the Antonov An124 or the smaller Ilyushin Il-76 aircraft, which would have required three separate flights. Satish Lakkaraju, Chief Commercial Officer of Agility India, says, “From the countries of origin, to the consolidation point in Dubai and to the final destination in Male, we were pleased to have such talented people working on this global project. We thank our Agility Dubai team and our trusted global partner, Chapman Freeborn, for expertly handling all challenges that arose.” Vikas Chaturvedi, Chapman Freeborn’s Dubai Commercial Manager-Cargo, says, “Transporting this type of medical equipment on short notice requires careful planning and close attention to detail. Our strength is the global aviation professionals working with Agility and Chapman Freeborn.”

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Ethiopian launches cargo services to Hyderabad

Hyderabad International Airport got connected to African markets with the touchdown of the maiden cargo flight of Ethiopian Airlines from Addis Ababa. This new direct connection between Hyderabad and Ethiopia opens new opportunities to reach out to the markets in Africa and beyond leveraging the robust cargo network of the Ethiopian Airlines. The airline is expected to be operating one frequency per week. With a capacity of 50 MT per flight, it will be operating Boeing 777-300 aircraft.

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Cargo agents to handle shipment against 100% advance payments by customers

The service providers are facing a cash flow crisis because of not getting payments on time from their clients. To tide over the crisis, apex bodies; Federation of Freight Forwarders Association in India, Association of Multimodal Transport Operators of India and The Air Cargo Agents Association of India has decided that for the next six months, logistics service providers will handle shipments only against 100 per cent advance payments by their clients. Generally, the payment by an exporter or importer to service provider is done only after handling the shipment and paid in advance. The service provider pays the bill and waits for the payment from their clients.

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A sensitive approach is needed by IATA, as airlines also need money: Samir Shah

“In times of crisis, expectation from the bigger brother are justified. While the airlines also need money, a sensitive approach is needed. IATA’s insistence will have very different reactions and the results could be varied. A number of IATA agents will be forced to default, even if they have always been compliant. Member airlines may also want to exit the CASS since business is generated not by the airlines but by the agents. A simple fact missed out in the insistence of remaining insensitive,” says Samir Shah, Advisor, Federation of Freight Forwarders Association in India (FFFAI). He adds, ”The problems are many and the biggest is continuity of business. The model is based on rotation of funds; clients’ payments have dried up or are delayed. This break in cycle will break many organisations.”

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Delay in payment from shippers cause misery in liquidity of agents: FFFAI Chairman

IATA CASS is not unique to India but is a worldwide payment gateway and no exclusive dispensation is available country wise. AV Vijaykumar, Chairman, Federation of Freight Forwarders Association in India (FFFAI), says, “I understand there was been some relief granted only in the form of deferment by a few days in our neighbouring countries. I wish Indian agents were also extended this deferment from IATA. Indian forwarders have been caught snapping as their payments from the shippers on the agreed timelines have not materialised. This has caused untold misery in the liquidity of the forwarders who also have to face the added strain of maintaining their establishment intact. There is a steep drop in business thereby impacting future revenue streams.”

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