News Briefs: Evans to step down, IATA 2015 forecast, and more

  • Oliver Evans, Chief Cargo Office of Swiss WorldCargo, and recipient of Air Cargo World’s inaugural “Air Cargo Executive of the Year” award, announced that he will be stepping down from his position in September 2015, after service for 13 years at SWISS. Evans (pictured at right), also current Chairman of The International Air Cargo Association, said he will remain in Switzerland and plans to pursue logistics work on a self-employed basis before heading into retirement. Harry Hohmeister, CEO of SWISS, said the carrier is currently searching for a replacement.
  • In a recent press briefing, the International Air Transport Association (IATA) found that falling fuel costs will lead to a sustained period of lowered airfreight prices, which could, in turn, spur an increase in global trade. With jet fuel prices down 36 percent, compared to the same time last year, and the U.S. dollar strengthening, IATA predicted that the costs of shipping cargo by air will drop by 5.8 percent, year-over-year, in 2015. IATA’s survey of top cargo airline executives found that most carriers are “cautiously positive” about volume growth over the next 12 months, despite a continuing decline in yields, which are 20 percent below their peak in 2010. See more briefing details here.  
  • Fraport AG, operator of Frankfurt Airport in Frankfurt-am-Main, Germany, reported that air cargo volume (airfreight plus airmail) grew by 3.2 percent, year-over-year, to reach 202,728 tonnes. Maximum takeoff weights also increased by 2.7 percent, to about 2.4 million tonnes, while aircraft movements fell 1.8 percent, year-over-year, to 37,109 takeoffs and landing.
  • Express delivery firm TNT is launching a five-times-per-week freighter flights from its hub in Liége, Belgium, to its Marcon depot in Venice, Italy, using a 737-400F. Flight will leave Liége and arrive at Venice Airport Marco Polo (VCE) before continuing on to Ljubljana, Slovenia, and then back to Liege. In February, TNT also expects to begin operating a new automated container sorting machine at Marcon that will shave two hours off the facility’s average sorting time. 
  • This month, Lufthansa Technik is expected to complete its renovations of “SOFIA,” a modified 747SP operated jointly by the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) in the U.S. and the German Aerospace Centre (DLR). Flying at 41,000 feet to avoid most infrared-blocking moisture in the atmosphere, SOFIA (for Stratospheric Observatory for Infrared Astronomy) is a “flying telescope” that makes observations through a modified aft cargo door, which can be opened in flight to reveal a 2.5-meter-wide reflecting telescope. 
  • Supply chain management firm CEVA Logistics has opened its new West Hub Logistics Center at Jalan Buroh in Singapore. The 48,000-square-meter, seven-story warehouse and office complex is located near Singapore’s Jurong Port as well as major highways across the island. The West Hub will also house CEVA’s Center of Logistics Excellence for Asia Pacific, set to open in the first quarter of 2015.
  • The SureScan Explosives Detection System (EDS) has achieved certification from the U.S. Transportation Security Administration. Using computed tomography (CT) technology, EDS is mounted on a stationary gantry and can scan checked baggage and cargo shipments for possible explosive materials. The unit employs multi-energy scanning technology used in pristine doctor’s offices, but is built to withstand the rugged conditions found in most cargo-handling operations.
  • Swissport International has signed a global partnership agreement to become the preferred supplier of ground and cargo handling services for Cargolux Airlines International, which will take effect in January 2015. The five-year agreement will affect operations in Europe and the United States, initially, before expanding to other regions in the near future.
  • As part of its sixth annual Green Cargo Hub Project, Incheon International Airport Corporation (IIAC) has rolled out a program to supply biodegradable vinyl air cargo packaging at four ground handling operations within Incheon Airport. IIAC paid for 50 percent of the cost to purchased the 8,400 eco-friendly air cargo covers for ground handlers Korea Airport Service, Asiana Airport, Swissport and Atlas Air Cargo Terminal. The covers, made of corn-starch-based bio-film, will solely degrade to harmless compounds after about 16 years of use.
  • Texas-based charter carrier Tailwind International Inc. said it was honored to arrange a special charter flight last month from Houston, Texas, to Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic, to carry the remains of former Dominican Vice President and Foreign Minister Carlos Morales Troncoso, who had passed away following a long battle with cancer. Within hours of Troncoso’s death, Tailwind arranged a flight with sister carrier Cherry Air to carry his body to his home country in time for a state funeral.
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