News Briefs: Emirates in Birmingham, Qatar’s A350, Drewry’s Nov. index

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  • Emirates, the flag carrier of United Arab Emirates, said it will add a third daily frequency to the U.K.’s Birmingham Airport (BHX) on Aug. 1, 2015. Emirates will operate a 777-300ER aircraft on the route, flying from Dubai International (DBX) to BHX. The seven new daily flights between DBX and BHX will increase cargo capacity on the route by 42 percent, the airline said. Emirates has served BHX with daily nonstop service since December 2000, starting with an A330.
  • After a 10-day delay, Airbus finally delivered its first A350 aircraft (pictured) to launch customer Qatar Airways on Dec. 22 during a ceremony in the manufacturer’s Toulouse, France, headquarters. The A350-900 delivery was supposed to happen on Dec. 12, however, Qatar Airways canceled the event without explanation. As of late November, Airbus had orders for 577 A350-900 aircraft, 169 orders for the larger A350-1000s and 32 residual orders for A350-800s.
  • Airbus CEO Fabrice Bregier also said during the Dec. 22 A350 ceremony that its double-decker A380 aircraft will not be cancelled. Earlier this month, Airbus Finance Director Harald Wilhelm had said that the A380 program would not break even until 2018, whether or not Airbus decided to upgrade it or “discontinue” it. Bregier dismissed speculation about a possible demise of the A380, saying such an action would be “just crazy.”  
  • Strong peak-season demand and increased business as a result of U.S. West Coast port bottlenecks combined to drive airfreight rates sky-high through November, according to Drewry’s East-West Air Freight Price Index. The index rose 5.3 points in November to reach an all-time peak of 120.8 points, smashing the previous record of 117.4 points from November 2013.
  • Air France-KLM is reducing the weight of its cargo-handling apparatus by introducing new aluminum pallets that are 17 kilograms lighter than their standard pallets. The new 83kg pallets are just as strong as the airline’s current 100kg standard stock, according to Air France-KLM, but the decrease in weight will result in lowered fuel consumption and a reduction of the airline’s carbon footprint.
  • Germany-based Bertling Logistics has coordinated the transport of nine oversize transformers for three power substations, made by Portuguese manufacturer Efacec. Using three Antonov An-124-100 heavy-lift freighters, Bertling shipped the transformers from Porto, Portugal, to the end-user, Edesur, in Buenos Aires, the Argentine capital.
  • To meet increased demand for cargo services in the Great Lakes region, DHL Express has added a 767-200F flight to Milwaukee. Shippers in the metro area now have pick-up cutoff times extended by nearly 90 minutes, on average. The flight departs from Milwaukee’s General Mitchell International Airport daily and connects to the DHL hub in Cincinnati, where shipments are then routed to other global destinations.
  • Supply chain specialists CEVA Logistics signed a three-year, €2 million-per-year contract with manage the handling, storage and delivery of products for Ludendo Commerce Iberia, known chiefly for its Poly toy chain. From its hub in Toledo, Spain, CEVA will provide 4,500 to 7,000 sq m of dedicated storage space, based on fluctuating seasonal demand.  It will also handle orders and distribution to Ludendo’s  67-store network.
  • Hong Kong-based Cathay Pacific Cargo has become the first Asian carrier to rent RKN and RAP Opticooler containers from DoKaSch Temperature Solutions. The service, which will provide vessels for temperature-sensitive cargo, such as pharmaceuticals, will be rolled out across the airline’s network in the first quarter of 2015. Cathay Pacific currently operates to 46 freighter destinations around the world.
  • Etihad Airways welcomed the arrival of its flagship A380 superjumbo and 787 widebody aircraft at Abu Dhabi. Etihad, the national airline of the United Arab Emirates, also unveiled its new “Facets of Abu Dhabi” livery, spacious cabin interiors and crew uniforms.
  • AirBridgeCargo Airlines, a subsidiary of Volga-Dnepr Group, has gone paperless in the cockpits of its aircraft, thanks to a new IT system from Lufthansa Systems. Last week, the Russia-based airline began using Lufthansa Systems’ Lido/iRouteManual, Lido/Enroute and Lido/DocView IT services, optimized for use on an Apple iPad, to help ease the workload of ABC pilots. The airline plans to roll out the “electronic cockpit” to all of its aircraft by February 2015.
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