Scientists say experiment shows stress can make hair turn white

If you’re stressed out most of the time, chances are your hair could turn white ahead of their genetic time.

A group of scientists from the Universities of Sao Paulo and Harvard doing experiments on mice found out stem cells that control skin and hair color were damaged when the mice were exposed to pain. Their dark hair turned white in just a few weeks, according to the group’s scientific findings published in the magazine Nature.

The group said the pain inflicted on the mice triggered the release of adrenaline and cortisol making their hearts beat faster, blood pressure to rise, impacting their nervous system and causing acute stress. This led to the fast depletion of stem cells that produced melanin in hair follicles.

The project is likely to be explored further to develop a drug that will prevent hair color loss from aging.

Kuwait Aviation Show 2020

Building up momentum for Kuwait’s fledgling’s aviation industry

Gathering an unexpected huge crowd of Kuwaitis and expats, the four-day Kuwait Aviation Show 2020 (January 15-18) concluded with numerous deals between government entities, aviation and aerospace companies, indicating the country’s aviation industry is up for growth in the years ahead.

Geographically small but blessed with abundant crude oil reserves estimated at 102 billion barrels, approximately 6% of world reserves, Kuwait plans to increase its oil production this year to finance many of its projects under Vision 2035, a massive plan to reform its economy and develop new industries like aviation.

Under Vision 2035, the Kuwaiti government stands to spend up to $104 billion over a four-year period to diversify its economy, attract more investment, boost private sector’s participation in the economy, thus, stimulate economic growth. The IMF said the country is stable to withstand any crisis at this point and that its non-oil revenues stand to increase by 3.5% in 2020 from 2.5% last year.

Held under the patronage of the Amir of Kuwait His Highness Sheikh Sabah Al-Ahmad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah, the 2nd edition of KAS had 200 companies from around 37 countries participating as exhibitors, more than 70 civilian and military aircraft on display and thousands of trade visitors and the public.

Kuwait’s Prime Minister Nasser Mohammed Ahmad Al-Jaber Al- Sabah, whose father served as the country’s first Minister of Defense, also rendered support to KAS, visiting the show on 17 January accompanied by His Excellency Sheikh Salman Al-Humoud Al-Sabah, Director-General of the Directorate General of Civil Aviation. His Excellency Sheikh Mohammad Al-Abdullah Al-Mubarak Al-Sabah, Deputy Amiri Diwan Minister in the State of Kuwait, opened the show on 15 January.

KAS 2022

KAS Organizing Committee Chairman Ahmed Ismail Behbehani thanked the Amir of Kuwait His Highness Sheikh Sabah Al-Ahmad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah, numerous other government leaders and entities in making the event possible.
“I think Kuwait Aviation Show 2020 made an impact in the international aviation scene with many big companies in the industry participating. We have invited a lot of ministers from the Gulf and Arab countries and Africa. The respective Army Chief in different GCC countries also attended,” said Behbehani.

He said his team will work harder to make the Kuwait Aviation Show 2022 more exciting and relevant as the country pushes to diversify its economy which involves creating a stronger aviation industry, among other initiatives and reforms.

“After this successful event, I think we need to work harder to continue what we started. We will start early the planning stage for the Kuwait Aviation Show 2022,” added Behbehani who had been part of dozens of aviation shows in the region before launching Kuwait’s own aviation show in 2018.

He said the organizing committee, which he chairs, will try to increase further the number of participating companies at KAS, possibly to a thousand, though it will require a bigger venue, more logistics and volunteers.

Reforms at Kuwait Airways

Kuwait Airways Chairman Yousef Al-Jassem says the airline has refocused its objectives and mandate to become more competitive in the global aviation sector and help stimulate economic growth for Kuwait.

Al Jassem thanked the Amir of Kuwait His Highness Sabah Al- Ahmad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah, the Crown Prince His Highness Nawaf Al-Ahmad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah, Prime Minister Sheikh Sabah Al Khalid Al Sabah, the government, the Kuwaiti people and countless others from across the globe who continue to support and patronize Kuwait’s national carrier.
He said the airline will not survive and thrive without the support of the government, its people and travelers across the region and the world.

The Kuwait Airways chairman happily shared the airline’s passenger traffic continues to increase with 2019 record reaching 5.4 million with a rosy forecast this year to increase to 5.5 million.

“In 2018, we had 14.8 million passengers. In 2019, it increased to 5.448 million and there are indications

Al Jassem said and expressed hope that Expo 2020 Dubai will further strengthen Kuwait Airways passenger traffic this year.

Al Jassem said the airline is also moving forward with its fleet modernization plans with more planes up for deliveries this year and succeeding years.

United for Kuwait

The four day event drew thousands of Kuwaitis and others from different expat communities to the Kuwait International Airport— men and women, children and adults, young professionals and aviation enthusiasts.
They enthusiastically gathered at the venue to see spectacular aerial stunts all-day long rendered by highly trained teams from the Kuwaiti Air Force, the Saudi Hawks, the UAE’s Al Fursan, the Italian Air Force, the US Air Force, Turkish Aerospace and Qatar Airsports. Kuwait’s skies lit up with the colors of its flag as aerial acrobats perform stunning stunts.

Many young Kuwaitis volunteered for the event, showing their patriotic side as the country pushes for economic reforms.

Two young engineers who studied in the United States said they are happy to support projects that promote aviation and more opportunities for Kuwaitis. The who are both employed also vowed to support initiatives that will create new job prospects for locals in different fields.

Encouraged by unprecedented growth in Kuwait’s aviation sector, the government earmarked $25 billion investment in the industry over a four-year period, primarily to expand and modernize infra- structure at the Kuwait Inter- national Airport, to meet current and future demand for growing volumes of passenger & cargo.
Kuwait’s passenger flow has doubled in the last eight years. It ended 2019 with 15.4 million passengers with forecast for 2020 and beyond even better. The Kuwait News Agency (KUNA) reported Kuwait airport recorded 122,358 flight movements in 2019, up 3.6% from 118,133 in 2018.

Kuwait’s new state-of-the-art airport, scheduled to be completed in 2023, is expected to generate more than 15,000 jobs and additional revenues of up to $300 million annually to the country.

The airline CEO who loves fishing and reading

João Carlos Pó Jorge began his career in aviation in 1985 as mechanical engineer with LAM Mozambique Airlines, the national carrier of Mozambique.

Within just two years, the airline promoted him as Head of the Engineering Department, mainly responsible for the design and manufacture of aircraft and components by Boeing, General Electric, SELL, among other major aerospace manufacturers. His responsibilities grew even more as years passed by entailing lots of travel across the world and skills to learn.

In 1995, Jorge accepted the challenge to join the team of Pratt & Whitney, a North American company dedicated to the manufacture of aircraft engines, where he was Client Support Manager in Africa from 1995 to 2013.

That job brought him to the US, Zimbabwe, Senegal and Ethiopia, setting up offices in remote locations while coordinating the top management improvement activities in airlines in Africa, specifically in the operational, commercial and financial areas. He also got involved with commercial contracts between airlines, and the detailed investigation of accidents, as well as the design and implementation of recommendations, and the introduction of management tools in airlines in Africa.

In 2013, Jorge was invited to join LAM’s Board of Directors. In 2018, he was called to serve as LAM’s Director General, mainly tasked to restructure the airline and making it more profitable to boost the country’s economy with aviation playing a crucial role in supporting Mozambique’s newly-discovered gas reserves about the size of Kuwait.
Mozambique stands to potentially become the fourth largest gas supplier in the world. Production is expected to begin this year and a reliable air transport industry is very important in its success.

Jorge said running an airline is not an easy task. It involves a lot of discipline, knowledge, understanding, right decisions and keeping up with the latest innovations and trends on many fronts.

By 5 am, Jorge is already at the airline’s head office and doesn’t leave until 5 pm.

“I go to work at 5 am,” said Jorge who also has an MBA in International Management from the Thunderbird School of Management in Arizona, USA, and in Airline Management, held by British Airways, in Luton, England. “This is a very stressful job that needs team effort. I rely on my trusted team to deliver our best performance.”

With his job requiring so much time and work, Jorge says he makes it a point to go to the beach with his family and friends or go fishing whenever he finds the opportunity.

“I definitely love spending time with my family and friends in the beach or going fishing. Mozambique is a great place to go fishing. It has abundant resources and is also very good for deep sea fishing,” he said.

Apart from that, this busy CEO also finds joy in reading, especially those that inspire people.

Among his favorites is “The Global Aviation Industry” penned by Peter Belobaba, Amedeo Odoni and Cynthia Barnhart of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT).

“I think it’s an extremely well written book and explains all fields about the aviation industry. I insist even on my team to read that,” he shared.

HDC-6 Neptune: The hydrogen-powered fuel cell heavy duty electric truck with futuristic design and function

Hyundai Motor, along with H2 Energy, will sell 1,600 fuel-cell commercial trucks in Switzerland between 2019-2023. The debut of its latest electric truck yundai Motor Company’s HDC-6 NEPTUNE, the hydrogen-powered fuel cell heavy duty electric truck with futuristic design, was a scene stealer when it debuted at the North American Commercial Vehicle Show in Atlanta in October 2019.

It has a catchy name which Hyundai says was taken from the Roman God of the seas, Neptune, symbolizing the hydrogen powered natural elements of the sea—the largest potential source of hydrogen fuel on earth.

With sleek design taken from the streamliner railway trainsets of the 1930s with Art Deco function-driven style which pioneering

Hyundai Motor Company’s HDC-6 NEPTUNE, the hydrogen-powered fuel cell heavy duty electric truck with futuristic design, was a scene stealer when it debuted at the North American Commercial Vehicle Show in Atlanta in October 2019.

It has a catchy name which Hyundai says was taken from the Roman God of the seas, Neptune, symbolizing the hydrogen powered natural elements of the sea—the largest potential source of hydrogen fuel on earth.
With sleek design taken from the streamliner railway trainsets of the 1930s with Art Deco function-driven style which pioneering

20th century industrial designer Henry Dreyfuss applied in his design for the New York Central Railroad at the time, this zero carbon emission fuel cell truck also embodies the future with aerodynamic wheel covers and a seemingly robotic vibe, looking bold and iconic at the same time.
HDC-6 NEPTUNE employs this inspired function driven design, with new ways to combine both form and function to create an entirely unique new solution within the commercial vehicle industry, while offering a holistic global approach.

“The fuel cell powertrain gave us the opportunity to redefine the classical typology & architecture of the truck. The Hyundai Commercial Vehicles Design Team started with a white sheet of paper focusing on the new defined functionality resetting all standards in order to project commercial vehicles in the future,” said Luc Donckerwolke, Chief Design Officer of Hyundai Motor

HDC-6 NEPTUNE’s unique construction, fuel cell system and advanced in-cab technology and modern design stirred up curiosity among major companies looking for sustainable vehicles.

“We have cemented the fuel cell technology leadership position in the passenger vehicle sector with the world’s first commercially produced fuel cell EV and the second generation fuel cell EV, the NEXO,” said Edward Lee, Head of Commercial Vehicle Business Division at Hyundai Motor Company.

“With the introduction of HDC-6 NEPTUNE, in addition to the road proven Xcient fuel cell truck, we expand our technology leadership into the commercial vehicle sector by unveiling our vision of how fuel cell electric trucks can resolve the environmental equations of widely used commercial vehicles and our commitment to create a decarbonized society.”

Hyundai said the concept continues the company’s leadership in moving to a decarbonized society and the advancement of zero- emission vehicles and noted that the future truck will add to their success in commercial vehicles, which are already sold in 130 countries around the world.

Leading the fuel cell technology industry

Hyundai is a global leader in fuel cell technology. In 2013, it launched the first mass-produced and commercially available fuel cell electric vehicle. In 2018, it launched the dedicated FCEV, NEXO.
In December 2018, Hyundai invested USD 6.4 billion to accelerate the development of a hydrogen society, looking

beyond passenger vehicles. And in 2019, the company announced key investments into three hydrogen companies – Impact Coatings, H2Pro and GRZ Technologies – to strengthen its leadership position in the global hydrogen fuel cell ecosystem.

The strategic investments come at a time of heightened demand for fuel cell technology. The collaboration with industry leading players will enable Hyundai to expand its hydrogen infrastructure and enhance the efficiency of its fuel cell electric vehicle (FCEV) manufacturing.

“Our investment in these innovative companies will reduce the production cost of FCEVs and enhance the safety and affordability of hydrogen infrastructure,” said Youngcho Chi, President and Chief Innovation Officer at Hyundai Motor Group. “We hope to accelerate the widespread adoption of hydrogen technology by making FCEVs more accessible for our customers.”

Impact Coatings AB is a leading supplier of PVD (Physical Vapor Deposition) based coating solutions for fuel cells, offering coating materials, machines, and services. The Swedish company’s ceramic coatings are cost-efficient substitutes for precious metals used in fuel cell production. Under the new joint development agreement, Hyundai and Impact Coatings will jointly research and develop a new generation of materials, processes and equipment for a variety of applications, including fuel cells and hydrogen production.
H2Pro is an Israeli startup that developed the E-TAC (electrochemical, thermally active chemical) water splitting technology, which is efficient, affordable, and safe. H2Pro’s technology will allow Hyundai to lower the cost of hydrogen production, which will in turn reduce the price of hydrogen for customers. This marks Hyundai’s second investment into the startup since Hyundai CRADLE Tel Aviv first announced the partnership in November 2018.
GRZ Technologies is a company based in Switzerland specializing in energy storage in hydrogen form. Its technology stores hydrogen more safely at lower pressure with higher density, while its proprietary compression technology is also more affordable. Hyundai’s agreement with GRZ will accelerate the company’s efforts to commercialize hydrogen infrastructure for greater accessibility to customers.

The HT Nitro ThermoTech

At the North American Commercial Vehicle Show in Atlanta, Hyundai Translead (HT) also unveiled its eco-friendly, high-performance refrigerated concept trailer solution, the HT Nitro ThermoTech. The tractor-trailer combination provides a window into the future of the transportation in the US and around the world.

Hyundai says the HT Nitro ThermoTech concept trailer provides a response to the rising challenges of clean transportation:
reducing greenhouse gases and dependence on fossil fuels while maintaining competitiveness.

The HT Nitro ThermoTech concept trailer is optimal for transporting cold chain products. Temperatures are reduced more quickly than a traditional refrigeration unit and maintained with precise control of desired temperatures.
Its intelligent control system and independent cooling power maximize thermal efficiency. It is not affected by outside temperatures and maximum power is always available, even when the truck’s engine is off or idling.
The HT Nitro ThermoTech concept trailer cooling unit is virtually noiseless which significantly reduces noise pollution for drivers as well as at the point of deliveries. This is a significant advantage for night-time deliveries in urban and suburban neighborhoods where noise can be distracting.

“This refrigerated trailer concept represents a significant advancement in our continued commitment to corporate social responsibility. By developing innovative technology, Hyundai Translead is helping address climate change. HT Nitro ThermoTech reduces pollutants and emissions while providing reliable and effective cold chain food transportation,” said Bongjae Lee, Chief Executive Officer of Hyundai Translead.

Headquartered in Seoul, Hyundai Motor Company was established in 1967 in South Korea. It is the third largest vehicle manufacturer in the world with more than 4.5 million vehicles sold globally. The company is under the umbrella of Hyundai Group which also includes Kia Motors and Genesis Motor.

Pelican BioThermal touts power of temperature controlled packaging in pharmaceutical industry

The global pharmaceuticals market was worth $934.8 billion in 2017 and will reach $1170 billion in 2021, growing at 5.8%, according to a recent pharma market research report by The Business Research Company.

Packaging in the pharmaceutical industry plays a pivotal role to protect them against harmful impact of external forces like light, gases or moisture while being transported to their final destinations. Labeling and packaging are
equally important to keep their health benefits.

The global pharmaceuticals market was worth $934.8 billion in 2017 and will reach $1170 billion in 2021, growing at 5.8%, according to a recent pharma market research report by The Business Research Company.

This is an accelerated pace compared to 5.2% for the years before 2017, but is slower than the other two large healthcare segments, medical equipment and healthcare services. Healthcare as a whole is growing at over 7% year-on-year.

Thermal packaging is the preferred method for pharmaceuticals because they require a defined temperature to be maintained during transportation.

The development and widespread availability of specialized insulated packaging materials has enabled consumer goods manufacturers to expand their business beyond their local areas, and to outof- state and overseas customers.

Pelican BioThermal is the first cold chain packaging solutions provider to make available a broad and diverse portfolio of single use and reusable passive temperature controlled packaging for the pharmaceutical industry.

“In order to have very good control of the temperature inside the packaging space, we have a lot of engineering investment, in design of the materials in both the insulators and the phase change materials that are then tuned to meet the requirements of those very strict temperature bands, it takes a lot of effort and resources to
be able to do that.”
Paul Terry, Pelican BioThermal, Sales Director-EMEA

Paul Terry, Pelican BioThermal, Sales Director-EMEA, explains in an email interview how their thermal packaging offers a sustainable low cost and safe packaging for pharmaceuticals.

Insulating thermal packaging

Thermal insulation packaging is normally manufactured with the following materials: Sheets made of synthetic foams—polyurethane, or natural fibers, such as recycled cotton, natural cellulose or paper fibers and reflective
materials – also referred to as metalized, mylar or silver films – which are
actually polymer films with a thin layer of aluminum.

Peli BioThermal is the supplier of isolated thermal packaging which allows clients to ship products in parcels of all different shapes and sizes whilst maintaining an environment within that package of a strict temperature
range. That space within the package is therefore controlled in terms of temperature, the very essence of thermal isolated packaging.

“We combine two major aspects to create our solutions. One is the insulation of thermal isolated packaging. All of our systems would have a degree of insulative material which forms the outer part of the box. That’s intended to
isolate the internal space from the external environment and therefore help maintain a more consistent temperature inside the packaging space over the duration of use,” Terry explained.

“Insulation on its own has only very limited performance so we combine those insulators with coolant cells which exploit the latent power that comes from materials change phase from liquid to solid. The energy that is stored or
released in that process of changing phase between solid and liquid is used to maintain the environment inside our packaging solutions at the desired
temperature range.”

Secure means of maintaining thermal environment Pharmaceutical products require special care and transport solutions when being transported to keep their health benefits.

Terry said there are different ways to do this but thermal isolated packaging has the advantage because it provides a more efficient and often more secure means of maintaining the right thermal environment while shipping the

“We use high quality phase change liquids and very efficient insulators which allows our clients to ship products without needed to deploy mobile refrigeration or additional supply chain infrastructure along their supply chain,” he said.

According to Terry, the control point where pharmaceutical client dispatches their goods is the point where Pelican BioThermal establish the control and temperature of the environment in the packaging system. Those initial conditions are then maintained throughout the product’s journey by the packaging elements without any other active support or intervention. It is self-contained and self-regulated.

“So, you can have a lot of control at the start point where you have hands on the pharmaceutical product and as your product flows through the supply chain where you have potentially many different partners handing off that parcel from one to another. The control of the temperature that you initially set with our system carries through the entire supply chain eliminating any breaks in what we call the cold chain of custody of the product despite many handling partners being involved.”

The Pelican BioThermal systems are very safe: they don’t have power failures and are set up with the correct controls at the start, the business executive noted.

Adding, that control level follows the product and maintains the product at the right temperature through its storage and therefore maintains and maximizes the efficacy of that product for when it eventually reaches a patient or its end use.

Sustainability and low cost

In terms of sustainability and low cost, the industry is now moving very rapidly towards more reusable containers, where they get a lot of efficiency because of the systems such as Credo, provide shelf lives that have been proven to exceed 5 years allowing for many uses. Over that length of lifecycle, the material impact on the environment is very low and even then, the spent system can be recaptured, recycled and reused beyond that point through the service network.

“When you reuse the packaging systems the cost per use also drops dramatically. So, although the initial outlay might look reasonably high, as an investment over its lifecycle the per shipping cost is very reasonable. In term of the high initial cost there are ways you can utilize the system on a per use bases under our Crēdo™ On
Reserve program. Rather than having to invest upfront in the packaging systems you are now able to lease or hire them on a per use basis over the term of your

“Reuse is therefore a very effective way of being both low cost and sustainable and because you are in a low-cost environment you can also afford to deploy more sophisticated packaging systems which have more performance and more safety as well. So, it is a three-way win when you get into the world of reuse when executed properly”.

Maintaining temperature

The temperature maintained in the thermal packaging boxes are at a very strict range. So typically, 2 – 8C degrees or 15 – 25C or sub minus 20C degrees are very common ranges, according to Terry.

However, out of which, 2 – 8C is the most common because when initial pharmaceutical compounds are developed, it comes to clinical trial products, clients are likely not to have stability data for their product of active compounds outside of that temperature range so 2 – 8C common for clinical studies.

But when you are dealing with more commercially produced compounds there is a definition of controlled room temperature which commonly is 15 -25C degrees.

“In order to have very good control of the temperature inside the packaging space, we have a lot of engineering investment, in design of the materials in both the insulators and the phase change materials that are then tuned to meet the requirements of those very strict temperature bands, it takes a lot of effort and resources to be able to do that.

“It is really only the pharmaceutical industry that requires those stringent temperature bands for their products. This is because of the high nature of the value of pharmaceutical products and the additional costs if products are
damaged in shipping by going outside of set temperature range
resulting in loss of their efficacy.

This can obviously impact very negatively on end user patients.” Terry also notes there is an increasing interest in frozen especially with the growth of b i o l o g i c s a n d a c t i v e pharmaceutical ingredients where
they are shipped frozen. Minus 20C is a growing area as is -50C as a requirement.

There is a move away from dry ice (around -74C) which has alsobeen used traditionally to ship frozen products because it is very cost effective. However, there are issues with dry ice as it creates carbon dioxide which is not necessarily a great thing to have in abundance in a closed aircraft or warehouse environment and in
some cases the temperature is too cold for the product.

Using high quality PCMs

The industry arguably started to deploy reuse for economic benefit but sustainability is now far higher on the company’s agenda of their client base than it has been in the past and the reuse of high quality, high performance systems really fits to that agenda of sustainability and protecting the environment. That is where the Credo brand products really deliver client value, according to Peli.

“We work closely with our clients. We have very technically capable sales people who really understand how our products work and they are also supported by a very well invested technical team of thermal engineers and a world leading facility of thermal chambers for testing and qualifying products. All of our products are capable of being trusted in the highly regulated pharma market. We make sure all our efforts go into the very robust qualification of our systems. We can now demonstrate how our products will perform every time in the market within most environments that the packaging will experience over the time duration.

“Typically we will test our systems to high stress and over long durations and our clients will tend to use the product with that performance envelop so they can be reassured they are getting as near to 100% success as you can in terms of performance of the shipment every time.”

How packaging and technology go hand in hand?

It is a question of performance versus price. There are protective systems in the market that give minimal protection, Pelican BioThermal have thermal covers which are basic form of solar protection for any product left in the sun or experience some short period of cold or hot environments for a limited period.

They can give a reasonable protection over a wide temperature range for up to eight hours.

But if the client is looking for a more stringent defined temperature shipping range and wants to extend that duration into hours, days, or even weeks, then they need to look at highly qualified materials and more engineered systems. There is a scale of performance for price, the more performance they need the more cost there is in those materials and the higher the price but then reuse allows them to deploy that on a by shipment basis at a very reasonable rate.

The packaging they select is a combination of the duration they need and how strict they need the temperature controlled.

“Move to reuse is accelerating month by month and is an area we at Peli have been operating in for well over 10 years and are well established in, so it is great that demand for reuse is growing.

“The other trend is for high technology products, driven by people looking to save money in their total cost of ownership. The transportation costs are a really significant part of the piece, so if you can reduce your transportation expenses you can easily justify spending a little bit more on the packaging to enable you to unlock those savings further down the supply chain.”

According to Peli, seeking better performance is also an area of focus. The company has the ability to almost eliminate temperature excursions in shipments with clients who may have seen +25% of their shipments going outside of temperature range before they started using our Credo Cube or Chronos Advance (now called CoolGuard Advance) products.

There is a middle ground in terms of products which are ‘semi’ reusable in a sense that their main components can be recovered, inspected and reused. That is an area Peli is now supporting. Recovering the valuable components to their systems and then redeploying them back into a newly configured system for reuse.

“Our newly rebranded CoolGuard™ and CoolPall™ ranges can be deployed using this methodology helping reduce environmental waste and reducing supply chain costs for our clients,” Terry concludes our email interview.

Afghanistan’s quest for peace and stability

The landlocked country pins hope on aviation and air cargo to fire-up elusive economic development

Battered by years of violent insurgency problems and armed conflict between the Taliban, the local government and American forces, Afghanistan had long suffered economically and politically though it is richly endowed with natural resources.

The war-torn Afghanistan has verified rich deposits of natural gas and petroleum—about 2.9 billion barrels of crude oil, 15.7 trillion cubic feet of natural gas and 67 billion liters of natural gas liquids, according to the US Geological Survey. It also has gold, copper, marble iron ore and other minerals, precious and semi-precious stones yet poverty remains rampant due to insurgency and the lingering war with the terror group Taliban, the longest war the US has waged in its history.

Located between South Asia and Central Asia, Afghanistan is a landlocked mountainous country bordered by Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan, Tajikistan, Pakistan, Iran and China.

With no access to waterways to transport goods, the country relies heavily on air transport to connect to the global market and its future hinges on aviation and air cargo industries to bring about the elusive peace and stability that the more than 32 million Afghans have long been waiting for.

Dr. Mohammad Qasim Wafayezada, Director General of the Afghanistan Civil Aviation Authority (ACAA), said aviation is a vital lifeline to the country’s quest for peace and stability because it will bring employment, new opportunities and hope for the Afghans.

“Civil aviation is important for Afghanistan more than any other countries in the world because we are landlocked. We strongly rely on the aviation industry to support our economy,” Dr. Wafayezada told Air Cargo Update on the sidelines of the recently held Global Investment in Aviation Summit 2020 that the UAE government hosted in Dubai.

Dr. Wafayezada, a Monbukagakusho scholar who studied in Japan for more than five years for his Master’s Degree and Ph.D. focusing his research on ethnic politics, democratization and peacebuilding in post-conflict multi-ethnic societies, said aviation development in Afghanistan was setback by years of destructive war and political instability.

But he said the Afghan government had since initiated efforts to reform political and economic priorities which involve investing in the country’s aviation infrastructure and programs to help transport Afghan products to the world.

“No matter how small, aviation provides support to the country’s economy. About 70 percent of Afghanistan’s economy relies on agriculture so it would really help the farmers if their produce could be given the chance to be transported to the global market,” he said, noting that Afghanistan is known for producing high-quality agricultural products, especially fruits and nuts.

Afghanistan’s air space is equally valuable to others in the region. Geographically, it is the most efficient way between Europe and Asia, saving time, jet fuel and other resources.

Afghanistan’s gateway to the worldAbout half of Afghanistan’s exports by value are moved through the Hamid Karzai International Airport or HKIA (formerly Kabul International Airport renamed in 2014 after the country’s first democratically elected President Hamid Karzai).

Situated about 16 kilometers of the capital Kabul, HKIA is used both for military and civil aviation. It is capable of housing more than a 100 aircraft. It has been expanded and modernized in recent years.

A new international terminal has been added with free Wi-Fi while the old passenger terminal had since been dedicated for domestic flights. The Afghanistan Civil Aviation Director General said Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) funded the airport’s new terminal allowing it to now handle as much as 400,000 passengers.

HKIA is the hub for Afghanistan’s national carrier, Ariana Afghan Airlines, and supports a number of military bases used by the United States, NATO, and the Afghan Air Force with security provided by the Afghan National Police.

Dubai-based carriers like Emirates regularly serve the Kabul route supporting businesses and communities that need passenger and cargo capacities.

Increasing cargo & passenger volumes

Cargo and passenger volumes in Afghanistan continue to grow despite the limited number of passenger and cargo flights around the country amid security concerns.

Overall passenger traffic in the country’s major airports—Kabul, Kandahar, Herat, and Mazar-i-Sharif –jumped to 2.6 million in 2017 from only 1.9 million in 2016.

In 2016, 1,971 tons of cargo were handled at major airports compared to only 1,751 tons in 2015. It jumped to 4,199 tons in 2017, an encouraging figure given the country’s scarce aviation and logistical resources.

In 2019, cargo volumes exported from Afghanistan rose to about 7,000 tons, mostly involving dried fruits and nuts, according to Dr. Wafayezada.

“We have exported around 7,000 tons of national products last year which has contributed significantly to the economic growth of the country,” he shared. “A similar figure has been transported through normal flights. It has a positive impact on the development of the country, especially in rural communities as Afghanistan’s economy is 70 percent agricultural.”

“We produce some of the best fruits in the region – pine nuts, apples, pomegranate, and many other varieties of fruits. We export them to China, Turkey, Saudi Arabia, the UAE as well as some countries in Europe,” he added.

Apart from agricultural products, Afghanistan is also poised to export gemstones with the government agreeing to open up its mining to private investors.

USAID (US Agency for International Development) Invest announced last year that Afghanistan is ready to accept 43 new large and small-scale mining projects in 16 of the country’s 34 provinces. Afghanistan Minister of Mines and Petroleum Nargis Nehan said tenders will cover a wide range of commodities including oil and gas, gemstones, copper, gold, marble, and talc.

The PPP Hope

Faced with shrinking foreign aid, Afghanistan had begun steps to revive its war-torn economy. Among its options is strengthening the aviation industry which requires massive resources.

The US had since drawn up a Public-Private Partnership scheme whereby the private sector will help Afghanistan finance its aviation projects which involve building a five-star hotel (Airport Hotel), New International Passenger Terminal at HKIA, Cargo Terminal, Fuel Farms, Maintenance Repair Organization (MRO) for aircraft, and an Airport Export Processing Zone.

Documents submitted to the US Congress showed the US had initially planned to transition airspace management back to the Afghans by end 2014 but this did not materialize as scheduled. It was further recommended that Afghanistan develop an air cargo terminal at HKIA with “One-Stop-Shop” facility to streamline customs clearance procedures and expedite exports by air.

It was also recommended to create an “Export Processing Zone” to streamline the air cargo export bureaucratic and logistical process, reducing risk and transaction cost to exporters.

Anchal Chandra, PPP Expert/Financial Modeler of the Dubai- based consultancy firm Aero Asia, said all the preliminary work needed for HKIA development have been done and that Afghanistan is ready to take on investors for its PPP aviation projects.

“We will be bidding all these projects. We will start the transaction advisory of these projects in the coming months,” she added noting that the Afghanistan aviation projects are supported by USAID and will get help from multilateral agencies offering low interest rates with the winning bidder/s left to be responsible for operation and maintenance during the concession period.

Dr. Wafayezada said aviation is a fundamental pillar of any economy with one aviation job supporting three non-sector jobs, according to studies.

He’s hoping the reforms they are making at ACAA, one of the most transparent agencies in the Afghan government, will make a difference in the lives of many Afghans who are seeking employment and opportunities in a land tormented by violence for many years.

“Poverty breeds violence. In a country like Afghanistan, which is facing multidimensional challenges, it is difficult to lead the civil aviation sector but we’re hoping to overcome those challenges and pave the way for positive change to take place. We are doing our best to be successful,” Dr. Wafayezada said.

“I hope that with these projects, we can facilitate the safe and secure air transport of passengers and cargo to bring more connectivity to Afghanistan to the region and beyond to lead the way for economic development,” he added. “We need to explore ways that could contribute to the country’s infrastructure development, poverty reduction, capacity building, improving education and medical services to the people.”

Dr. Mohammad Qasim Wafayezada: Afghanistan’s aviation visionary

Dr. Mohammad Qasim Wafayezada began his aviation career in 2013 when he was appointed Deputy of Policy and Planning at Afghanistan Civil Aviation Authority (ACAA).

He was instrumental in enhancing the development of new policies, laws and regulations of the country’s civil aviation industry in collaboration with various ministries.

As Director General of ACAA, Dr. Wafayezada has dedicated his time and skills to reform what could potentially be Afghanistan’s major ally in rebuilding its economy, aviation.

Dr. Wafayezada has contributed immensely in overseeing discussions, negotiations and agreements to expand Afghanistan’s aviation footprint domestically and internationally as well as improving the country’s aviation infrastructure and technologies to enhance passenger and cargo connectivity.

Prior to joining the ACAA, Dr. Wafayezada served as a lecturer and held several leadership roles in nongovernment organizations. He studied for more than five years in Japan, earning a Master’s Degree and Ph.D. from the Kanazawa University. His doctorate research focused on ethnic politics, democratization and peacebuilding in post-conflict multi- ethnic societies


MUC announces opening of its first Terminal Testlab

Munich Airport (MUC) has announced the opening of its first Terminal Testlab, the pilot project under its LabCampus initiative, that has been designed to raise digital security awareness among passengers and visitors at the airport.

The interactive innovation hub is situated at the heart of Munich’s main airport terminal, creating opportunities for airport customers to present new products and solutions to tens of thousands of travelers every day and conduct live testing.

Following the opportunity to explore live demonstrations at their own pace, travelers will be integrated into product development processes and gain in-depth insights into key aspects of data security and any related issues. Another highlighted feature is the interactive augmented reality wall, which allows visitors to become part of an easy-to-understand demonstration on data theft.

The Testlab has been created in collaboration with ComCode, IABG, Center Digitization Bavaria (ZD.B) and Munich Airport’s Information Security Hub (ISH). The project focus for ComCode, which specializes in digital transformation and security, is open source intelligence (OSINT) – the procurement of information from publicly accessible sources, such as the internet.

As part of the Testlab, travelers are offered the opportunity to ask ComCode to compile and generate a brief digital security report on their company while they wait. All visitors are eligible to enter a draw, with the winner receiving a more detailed analysis, including a presentation of the results and suggestions for improved digital security.

The Terminal Testlab is a small part of a larger project at Munich Airport and, with the early launch, LabCampus is now offering access to unique testing conditions and diverse target groups long before the main innovation center itself is completed.

LabCampus is Munich Airport’s global platform for pioneering innovation – a 500,000m² site that, once complete, will support collaboration between businesses and industries in a new and intelligent way.

Airways New Zealand to develop CUAS and UTM System

Airways New Zealand has signed a Memorandum of Understanding with UK-based Operational Solutions Limited (OSL), outlining an agreement to build on and improve the proof-of-concept drone detection system currently being trialed at Auckland Airport, with the aim being to jointly develop a Counter Unmanned Aerial Systems (CUAS) and Unmanned Traffic Management (UTM) system.

The CUAS under trial at Auckland Airport, which will be improved upon by the two parties, is a combination of Operational Solutions Limited’s Command and Control /Intelligent fusion software (‘FACE’), Aveillant Gamekeeper holographic counter drone radar and artificial intelligence-enabled camera technology.

Upon development, the CUAS will be able to detect drones entering the airspace that may pose a threat to the airport’s operations, as well as possessing the ability to identify the nature of the threat it poses. By combining the CUAS with Airways New Zealand’s Airshare UTM system, airports will be able to facilitate and authorize drone flights to operate safely within the airspace.

The technology has recently been deployed at London Heathrow Airport as part of its counter efforts to ensure the country’s busiest airfield remains free from unauthorized drone activity. With the system allowing for fast and accurate detection of rogue drones, Heathrow’s passengers and colleagues are kept safe and will help law enforcement and air traffic controllers as they work to protect Heathrow’s airspace.

TPA launches screening technology throughout entire Tampa Airport site

Tampa International Airport’s (TPA) passengers travelling to the airport’s Airside A are now benefiting from new electronic screening technology, which is set to be introduced throughout the entire Tampa Airport site.
As of the first week of February 2020, Tampa International Airport launched the first set of electronic screening gates at the entrance to the Airside A shuttle lobby.

The gates allow passengers possessing tickets and cleared guests to access the airside shuttle. The new technology replaces the current system, which requires manual scanning of passenger tickets.

Passengers scan their boarding pass and, upon approval, the gates open and allow the passenger through. Should they be at the wrong gate, they will receive an error message and not be approved to gain access.

The introduction of the e-gates sees Tampa International Airport increase its boarding pass scanning devices from two to four per airside. As a result, processes have been sped up, making it faster for guests to get to their gate and improving the seamless travel experience for passengers.

Following a successful trial period, Tampa International Airport intends to introduce the e-gates at the remaining three shuttle entrances in late 2020.

Like most major airports, Tampa International Airport faces growing passenger traffic and congestion issues. As a result, this is not the first of the airport’s efforts to improve the passenger travel experience. When Tampa Airport’s state-of-the-art Rental Car Centre opened on the 14 February 2018, the airport also debuted an innovative common-use remote bag check – the first of its kind in a North American airport. The service allows passengers aboard multiple airlines to print their boarding passes, tag their luggage and drop it off at the same location – before ever stepping foot inside the airport’s main terminal.

DHL expands its digital services for air and ocean freight

DHL Global Forwarding, the air and ocean freight specialist of Deutsche Post DHL Group, has expanded its instant online quotation and booking service to DHL Ocean Direct FCL (full-container-load). The service myDHLi Quote + Book makes instant bookings for air and ocean freight as well as door-to-door shipments available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. It enables customers to compare available options and directly book the best mode of transport, speed and rate. When booking a service, users can also choose a cargo insurance for their shipment and reduce their CO2 impact by selecting an alternative fuel or an offsetting option in just a few clicks. myDHLi Quote + Book is available in more than 70 countries at Until now, this service was already available for DHL Ocean Connect LCL (less-than-container-load), DHL Air Connect, and DHL Air Economy.

“With the expansion of myDHLi Quote + Book, customers can now easily compare and book even more transport services online, be it less-than-container-load or full-container-load, be it Ocean or Air Freight. This allows us to offer even higher transparency and flexibility and thus adapt to current customer needs,” says Tim Scharwath, CEO DHL Global Forwarding, Freight.

With a highly intuitive user interface, myDHLi Quote + Book allows instant access to air and ocean freight quotes based on minimal information. Thanks to these transparent quotes, customers can compare rates and lead times to select the best option for their needs. The integrated CO2 Calculator automatically displays the carbon footprint for the shipment in comparison between air and ocean freight where available. Furthermore, customers can save quotes and share them with selected recipients via e-mail or directly continue to booking. Quotes are valid for up to 30 days and can be accessed for booking at a later stage during this time. Customers can also easily choose to neutralize the carbon emissions of their shipments. In the next step, shippers can either choose a clean-burning fuel for ocean freight or an offsetting option for any transport mode.

DHL Global Forwarding, Freight is continuously working on new services to offer its customers a state-of-the-art experience.