Tag Archives: Gulf States

How global warming could impact air cargo flights

We’re all too aware of the many disastrous implications of global climate change – from the impact on coastal communities of rising sea levels through to the dangers of increasingly unpredictable seasons on agricultural cycles. But what about our own industry? A recent report in Climatic Change suggests that the implications could be serious for air transportation, and are well worth considering as the effects of climate change become more evident.


Serious impact

The report points to the way in which steadily rising temperatures will have an effect on the density of the air in the atmosphere. This has a direct impact on the amount of lift that our planes can generate – with serious consequences in terms of the amount of cargo that the aircraft would be able to carry. In extreme situations it could lead to aircraft being grounded during the hottest periods – with the experts suggesting that up to a third of flights might be prevented from taking off.  If true, the impact of increasing air temperatures would be particularly serious for air cargo operators – especially those who use larger aircraft such as the 777-300. The answer for the air cargo industry could lie in weight restrictions below their maximum take off weight – but the costs could be substantial.


A worrying pattern of evidence

“As air temperatures rise at constant pressure, air density declines, resulting in less lift generation by an aircraft wing at a given airspeed and potentially imposing a weight restriction on departing aircraft,” says the report by Coffel, Thompson and Horton. “Our results suggest that weight restriction may impose a non-trivial cost on airlines and impact aviation operations around the world.”


Ignazio Coraci comments: “This is troubling news for the industry, because it builds on previous research from 2015 – a compelling pattern is emerging that suggests that climate change could have very serious implications for our industry – not just in terms of cost but also in the quality of the service that we can offer our customers. As an industry we must do everything we can to make sure that the impact of climate change on our industry and the customers we serve is kept to a minimum.”

What the industry can learn from BRUcloud, the open community technology platform used at Brussels airport

Could a new app be a taste of the way our industry uses technology in the future?


Brussels airport has already had a great deal of success with its BRUcloud open community platform in recent years – and it seems that freight forwarders at the airport are now embracing the cutting edge data-sharing technology to develop new solutions to old problems.


Industry backing

The Customs Export Application was strongly supported by Air Cargo Belgium (ACB) – who represent the country’s air cargo community – and with the advantages it delivers it’s clear to see why the technology has been given the industry body’s backing. The app matches collected manifest data (both from the freight forwarders themselves and existing data that is available within the BRUcloud system) and then automatically reports complete and accurate information to customs. The new technology saves time on all sides – particularly in terms of the amount of time processing air waybills. Customs have also agreed to clear shipments handled via the app first, providing yet another opportunity to speed up processes for all stakeholders.


A shared approach

A real key to the success of the app has been the collaborative approach taken by all parties – both in terms of the development of the Customs Export Application and its subsequent roll out.


“This collaboratively created app results in a lower administrative burden for all the parties,” says Bart Vleugels, who is advisory general at the Federal Public Service of Finance, Customs and Excise Duties. “Digitization within BRUcargo will further lower the chances of errors and will help to drastically decrease lead times.”


Freight forwarders have certainly bought in to the new technology, with 90 per cent of the air freight passing through BRUcargo now using the app.


Industry best practice

Ignazio Coraci comments: “The industry can learn a huge amount from the great work done at BRUcargo, not just in terms of the technology itself and its application, but also in the collaborative approach taken to its development by everyone involved. This kind of open cooperation between stakeholders is a model for similar projects.”

Hong Kong sees a surge in growth for first half of 2017

It has been a truly impressive start to the year for Hong Kong International Airport (HKIA), with growth in traffic right across the board. In terms of air cargo business, HKIA has handled an impressive 2.3 million tonnes of cargo already this year in the first six months to June – that’s up a remarkable 11.3% on the same period last year.

Booming exports

So what has been behind HKIA’s great start to the year – and more importantly, do the experts think it will be sustained? Well, in the latest figures from June, 410,000 tonnes of cargo passed through the airport, up 11.4% on 2016 – and there are indications that a 17% year-on-year increase in June exports from the airport led to the high growth in cargo tonnage for that period. That bump in export figures has certainly contributed then to the airport’s positive performance in the first half of 2017, but HKIA has also benefited from an improved global outlook. And with the Asian markets leading the way in air cargo growth, HKIA is in prime position to take advantage of a global economic performance that is looking positive in terms of consumer and business confidence.

Investing for the future

HKIA isn’t standing still, with work starting last August on a third runway to help accommodate future growth. The airport is also making further investments to ensure it meets the needs of customers.

“On the cargo front, HKIA continues to develop its ability to serve fast-growing segments of the high-value cargo business, such as fresh produce and temperature-sensitive pharmaceuticals that require specialised handling,” says an airport spokesperson. “The airport authority and local industry stakeholders are working closely together to pursue the IATA Centre of Excellence for Independent Validators in Pharmaceutical Logistics (CEIV Pharma) accreditation on airport community basis and HKIA is expected to be recognised as an IATA CEIV Pharma Partner Airport by the third quarter in 2017.”

A sustainable future

Ignazio Coraci comments: “Clearly Hong Kong is an important site for both our ASC Cargo and SW Italia businesses, and so the news that air freight handling is continuing to grow there is great to hear. I’m also really encouraged by the investment in infrastructure that is being made at HKIA – it will go a long way towards making sure that the performance we’ve seen so far this year is sustained.”

GCC Set For Strong E-Commerce Growth

The Gulf-Cooperation Council (GCC) region, which includes all the Persian Gulf Arab states except Iran, is a profitable market for the global air cargo sector. New reports indicate that the region could become more lucrative, as the GCC is set to record strong e-commerce growth in the next few years.

Lucrative region

Ignazio coraci looks at Gulf-Co-Operation Council (GCC) regionThe GCC possesses a thriving collective economy, which according to EY – a banking sector specialist, could become the sixth biggest economy on earth by 2030. The region, therefore, has high rates of consumer spending, for example people in the GCC spent US$9.3 billion on beauty and personal care products alone in 2016, a rise of 10% from the year before. This is proving beneficial for air cargo.

As internet coverage rises in the GCC, more consumers are choosing to buy products online. This has provided new business for carriers, as they can supply the speedy product transport services, which many people have come to expect in the digital age. The GCC’s air freight sector is a US$7 billion market and the Middle East, which includes the GCC, saw its air freight volumes keep growing in 2016.

E-commerce growth   

It looks as though the GCC’s air cargo market will record further growth in future, as a new report from consulting firm A.T Kearney argues that the region could become the fastest expanding e-commerce market on earth. According to Freight Week, an industry portal, in 2015 online shopping contributed US$5.3 billion (0.2 of its gross domestic product), to the GCC’s economy. But A.T Kearney forecasts that this contribution will increase almost fourfold, to a massive US$20 billion, in the period to 2020.

Commenting, A.T. Kearney Partner Laurent Viviez said: “We expect the growth of e-commerce in the GCC to transform the future of businesses, economics and lives across the region – but only with the right set of enablers in place… And it doesn’t rule out traditional retailers, who can be on the winning side of e-commerce by adopting an omni-channel approach. We see the future for the sector as not digital-only but ‘physical with digital’ – traditional retailers can really tap into this.”

Serious potential

Speaking out on this research, Ignazio Coraci commented: “At ASC Cargo, of which I am CEO, we perform cargo and ground handling services for GCC-based carriers, such as Kuwait Airlines. We have seen first-hand how the rise of e-commerce has boosted the region’s air freight sector, as consumers increasingly choose to buy goods online, generating more business for carriers in the GCC region.

“It is clear, therefore, that if A.T. Kearney’s forecasts prove accurate, and the GCC’s ecommerce sector expands to US$20 billion by 2020, air freight firms could benefit from the additional income generated. Also, air cargo’s fortunes could be boosted further, by Amazon’s recent decision to buy Souq.com, the largest online marketplace in the Arab world. With Amazon’s technological investment and expertise, Souq.com will be able to improve their services, making it easier for GCC consumers to purchase goods online, and creating more business for air cargo, so the future is looking bright for the sector.”