News Briefs: Swissport in Astana, East Midlands boom, V-Day flowers bloom

  • Swissport International will take over the ground handling at Astana International Airport in Kazakhstan. Airport Management Group, which took over six airports in Kazakhstan earlier this year, signed a memorandum of understanding with Swissport to phase in its services. Additionally a new joint venture, Swissport Kazakhstan, will take over passenger handling at Astana May 1 and, in a second phase, all other ground handling services by the end of the year.
  • East Midlands Airport, the U.K.’s busiest freight-only airport, had its best year ever for cargo in its 49-year history, handling 308,935 tonnes.  That 2014 figure is up 3.6 percent, or 10,729 tonnes, on 2013’s volume. This also beats the previous all-time best calendar year by nearly 2,000 tonnes, achieved in 2010, when an average of 846.4 tonnes a day were handled. The airport is the main U.K. hub for DHL, UPS and TNT.
  • In the week running up to Valentine’s Day this year, freighters carrying cut flowers from Nairobi, Kenya, to Amsterdam’s Schiphol Airport saw capacity rise by 50 percent. The usual 30 flights increased to 45, as the airport prepared to handle the annual influx of roses and other blooms from East Africa before the flowers were re-exported to markets across Europe – primarily Germany, France and the U.K. Estimates place the week’s traffic at 70 million inbound stems.
  • Aerospace components firm TransDigm Group has agreed to buy the Telair Cargo Group of businesses, owners of the Nordisk airfreight container manufacturing company. U.S.-based TransDigm will pay around $725 million in cash for Telair. Telair has three major operating units, Telair International (Telair Europe), Nordisk Aviation Products and AAR Cargo Systems, and employs just over 600 employees worldwide. The acquisition is subject to regulatory approval.
  • Iraqi ground-handler Azmar Air is now using Kale’s Galaxy International air cargo management system. Azmar, based at Sulaymaniyah International Airport in the Kurdish-controlled region of northern Iraq, will use the system for e-freight compliance, warehouse management and vehicle management, and will be able to offer real-time updates to customers’ trade partners and EDI messaging, said a spokesperson for India-based Kale.
  • CEVA Logistics has entered into a new contract with Xiaomi, the world’s third-largest smartphone manufacturer, to operate their 16,145 square-foot warehouse and distribution center in Malaysia. Xiaomi said its business strategy is to sell products directly to consumers, primarily online, so it requires a supply chain management provider that can handle its distribution center’s logistics needs from end to end.
  • WestJet Cargo was named “Best Air Cargo Provider 2014,” by Canadian supply chain companies at the first annual Cargo Logistics Canada Awards of Excellence, held recently in Vancouver, B.C. WestJet Cargo has expanded its network by more than 70 percent over the past two years, and now provides service to more than 40 cities in Canada, the U.S., Mexico, the Caribbean and Europe.
  • FPS Famous Pacific Shipping BV (FPS), a Rotterdam-based seafreight consolidator, has launched a new, weekly ocean LCL service from Rotterdam to St. Petersburg for general grouped cargo that has reduced average transit time from 15 days to just four. The service provides a direct alternative to the routing via Vilnius, Lithuania, and can also offer onforwarding to several key inland destinations including Moscow.
  • Damco, the forwarding and logistics subsidiary of AP Møller-Maersk group, has reported a loss of US$293 million. The loss was attributed to impairment losses of US$68 million, many of which were due to goodwill, acquired intangible assets and a reduction in profit in the ocean and airfreight sectors.
  • Truck drivers and other employees of Averitt Express raised a total of $450,000 in 2014 that was recently donated to St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital by making weekly donations of $1.  Averitt Cares for Kids, the company’s charitable employee-giving program, has contributed nearly $7.5 million to children-related charities, including the Shriners Burn Institute and Ronald McDonald House since 1986. Donations are funded by voluntary employee contributions.
  • Iberia took delivery of its first A350XWB aircraft in its maintenance hangars near Madrid airport this month.  Last year, parent company IAG made the decision to abandon freighters. The A350XWB is part of the group’s strategy to increase belly cargo as it upgrades its fleet. The aircraft’s test flight from the Airbus factory in Toulouse was the first of its kind to land in Madrid.
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