Turkish Cargo adds Quito to its cargo flight network

Turkish Cargo, the fastest growing global air cargo carrier, continues to expand its flight network. The successful air cargo brand has just added Quito (UIO), the capital city of Ecuador, to the destinations with direct cargo flights.

The new addition to the flight network of the Turkish Cargo is not only an important cultural and financial center but also possesses a significant export and import potential. Name of the city means the center of the earth in the local language, as the city is located 2,800 meters above the sea level, and has a rather constant and cool climate due to its altitude and proximity to equator.

Being one of the most notable flower producers of the world, Quito hosts developed textile, metal and agricultural industries, and its most significant exports include coffee, sugar, cacao, rise, bananas and palm oil.

The first one of the Quito flights, to be operated for 2 days a week by the Boeing 777F freighters of Turkish Cargo, is planned to be operated on the Istanbul – New York – Quito – Curaçao – Maastricht (ISL-JFK-UIO-CUR-MST) line on 7th of March.

Reaching 127 countries with to its extensive flight network, which includes 89 direct cargo flight destinations and more than 300 destinations, Turkish Cargo is the preferred brand in the air cargo industry as it achieves a sustainable growth with its infrastructure, operational capabilities, fleet, specialized crew and teams.

Samsung Galaxy S20 series debuts in the UAE that can zoom 100x

DUBAI: Imagine a phone that can zoom 100x capturing even the minute details invisible to the naked eye with the function of a personal computer that can lasts for hours. Well, that’s now possible with the Samsung Galaxy S20+ and Galaxy S20 Ultra equipped with the latest 5G and AI camera technologies.

At the launch of its new series of flagship line-up in the UAE, Samsung Gulf Electronics also debuted Galaxy Z Flip, a new foldable smartphone designed for those who see cutting-edge technology as a way to express themselves.
Using the 5G technology, Samsung says the new Galaxy S20 series offers a brand-new camera architecture that combines AI with Samsung’s largest image sensor that produces quality pictures.

Along with the camera, the Galaxy S20 makes the experience of everything we love to do with our phones, easier and better—enjoy personalized music for every moment of the day, watch videos the way they are meant to be seen and play console-style games on-the-go.

“The new Samsung Galaxy S20 Series raises the bar of next generation smartphone devices, giving consumers, a new and exciting ways to experience the world around them. Samsung has been committed to bringing cutting-edge technology and we are excited to stay true to that commitment with our Galaxy S20 lineup,” said Osman Albora, Head of Mobile Division at Samsung Gulf Electronics. “With the introduction of next-generation devices with 5G connectivity, Samsung will be able to transform people’s lives and enable them to connect more seamlessly.”

Here are the new features of the Galaxy S20 series:

Details in Stunning Clarity: With a larger image sensor available on the Galaxy S20 series, camera resolution is significantly increased, for more detailed images with added flexibility for editing, cropping, and zooming. Galaxy S20 and S20+ have a 64MP camera. Galaxy S20 Ultra has 108MP camera, which means you can now pinch in for details you’d never have seen before. Another benefit is that the larger sensors take in more light, so you get rich image quality even in low light situations.

Groundbreaking Zoom Capability: With the Galaxy S20’s Space Zoom technology that uses a combination of Hybrid Optic Zoom and Super Resolution Zoom, which includes AI-powered digital zoom, even when you are far away you can zoom in close. Use up to 30X zoom on the Galaxy S20 and S20+, or step-up to the revolutionary folded lenses on the S20 Ultra, which uses AI powered, multi-image processing to reduce quality loss at high zoom levels so that users can experience Super Resolution Zoom up to 100X Space Zoom with a clearer view ever than before.

Single Take, Multiple Possibilities: Single Take lets you stay in the moment, while you capture the moment. Thanks to its AI camera technologies, the Galaxy S20 can capture a number of photos and videos in one click, such as Live focus, cropped, Ultra-wide and more that captures your moment the best and recommend the best shot
Pro-Grade Filming Capability: The Galaxy S20 offers stunning 8K video shooting, so users can capture their world in true-to-life color and quality. When you are done shooting, stream your video to a Samsung QLED 8K TV and enjoy its best-in-class viewing experience or grab a still from an 8K video and turn it into a high-res photo. And, even the bumpiest videos look like they were shot using an action cam, thanks to Super Steady and its anti-rolling stabilization and AI motion analysis.

The most secure device Samsung has ever made, the Galaxy S20 is protected by Knox—the industry-leading mobile security platform that protects the device from the chip level through to the software level. The Galaxy S20 also features a new, secure processor which protects against hardware-based attacks.

Powered by a big, intelligent battery, the Galaxy S20 series comes with a 25W fast charger, while the S20 Ultra supports 45W Super Fast charging as well. The entire series is equipped with massive storage as standard (128GB for S20; 128GB and 512GB for Galaxy S20+ and S20 Ultra).

The aviation chairman who loves spending time with his family

Jordan is synonymous to Petra, the world famous historical and archaeological city in the southern part of the country admired for its rock-cut architecture and water conduit system dating possibly as far back as the 5th Century BC.

In modern times, the country is well-known for its strong link to the aviation industry with so many Jordanians wanting to become a pilot or work in the sector following in the footsteps of the late King Hussein, himself a pilot.

Zaidan Khalifat, Chairman of V-Link Aviation, was among the Jordanians who ventured into the aviation industry. After earning his Bachelor’s Degree in Aeronautical Engineering, he began his aviation career with Jordan’s national airline, Royal Jordanian, where he spent 33 years, retiring as Director of Quality Assurance.

But the allure of working for the aviation industry prompted Khalifat to continue working for other airlines in Lagos, Nigeria and in Dubai, where he eventually set up his own firm in 2017, the V-Link Aviation.

“Anybody who works in the aviation industry for more than five years wouldn’t want to leave. It becomes part of your DNA,” shared Khalifat who also took up Master’s in Public Administration at Bangalore University.

Khalifat said it’s not the constant travel that makes one stay in aviation but rather its dynamic nature.

“The industry is very dynamic. There’s always something new, especially in terms of technologies. If I’m given more time, I would love to continue working in the aviation industry,” he said during an interview at the recently held two-day AIME-MRO 2020 in Dubai where his company was among the 330 exhibitors.

Based at Dubai Airport Free Zone, V-Link Aviation provides GSSA services, supplies international spare parts, consumable and rotable components, lubricants and other materials related to the aviation industry. It also provides charter flights to Africa and Afghanistan, among other products and services.

This Jordanian aviation leader with more than 40 years of progressive experience in the field who nurtured many talents over the years sees the industry continuously growing in the coming years and for him adhering to quality standards matters most to survive.

Busy as he seems, Khalifat still finds time to relax with the company of his family whom he loves discussing business and other matters.

He also finds joy bonding with his four grandsons at every opportunity, saying, “I enjoy spending time with my four grandsons every weekend.”

For now, this doting grandfather will continue to keep up with his busy schedule while inspiring others around him to reach out for their dreams without compromising precious moments with their families.

India’s struggle to make logistics industry level up with international standards

India’s ranking in the World Bank’s Logistics Performance Index (LPI) has taken a beating, having gone down from a ranking of 35 in 2016 to 44 in 2018. Prior, it did well improving its ranking to 35 from 54 in 2014. But severe bottlenecks in logistics continue and they need to be sorted out early, before seamless movement of goods happens across the country.

What India needs urgently is to come at par with international standards, reduce costs, join global value chains and increase trade. With 7,600 km of coast line, the ports and shipping industry can play a major role in improvement of the country’s logistics sector.

Fragmented logistics sector

India’s logistics sector is highly fragmented and the aim is to reduce the logistics cost from the present 14% of GDP to less than 10% by 2022. Its logistics industry is very complex with over 20 government agencies, 40 partnering government agencies (PGAs), 37 export promotion councils, 500 certifications, 10,000 commodities, and humongous market size.

It also involves 12 million employment base, 200 shipping agencies, 36 logistic services, 129 international container depots, 168 container freight stations, 50 IT ecosystems and banks and insurance agencies. Further, 81 authorities and 500 certificates are required for EXIM (export import).
The logistics sector has the capacity to generate massive employment in the country and it is expected that 28 million workers will be required in this sector in the near future in order to deliver competent and quality service.

New logistics policy drafted

Considering its importance in national economic development, a draft logistics policy was prepared in February by the Department of Logistics of the Ministry of Commerce & Industry.
The draft policy is now awaiting approval from the Union Cabinet. Talking about the draft logistics policy, the then Minister of Commerce, Suresh Prabhu said the cost of logistics in India is extremely high as compared to other countries.

The National Logistics Policy is expected to provide an overall vision and direction to integrated development of logistics in the country.

The vision of the policy is to ramp-up economic growth and trade competitiveness through an integrated, seamless, efficient, reliable and cost effective logistics network. Logistics is a very important component of ease of doing business as 80 % of ease in business relates to logistics.

Central portal to provide end-to-end logistics solutions

The Special Secretary (Logistics) N Sivasailam said the policy has envisaged setting up of a central portal which will provide end-to-end logistics solutions to companies.

The portal will be a single window market place to link all stakeholders. Also the Ministry has prepared a report—LEADS (Logistics Ease Across Different States) 2019—which suggests the states to improve logistics.

In the report, Gujarat has retained the top slot on the logistics index chart, an indicator of the efficiency of logistical services necessary for promoting exports and economic growth. The tech-driven portal is expected to create an eco-system for achieving highest efficiency in all aspects of India’s logistics.

It is to ensure ease of trading in the international and domestic markets. It links all the stakeholders of EXIM, domestic trade and movement and all trade activities on a single platform.

Logistics business worth US$160 billion

Sivasailam said the logistics business in the country is worth US$160 billion and is growing at 7% – 8 % every year. The key objectives of the policy are to reduce logistics cost from 14% to 10% of GDP, create additional 10-15 million jobs in the sector, become a single point for all logistics & trade facilitation and reduce losses in agriculture to less than 5%, by facilitating agri-logistics in the country.

In order to realize these objectives, 18 thrust areas have been detailed in the policy. These include optimizing modal mix in the country and development of logistics infrastructure, enhancing transport and rolling stock infrastructure, strengthening the warehousing and agri-logistics sector, streamlining key logistics processes – EXIM and inter-state movement, facilitating first mile and last mile connectivity, and easing logistics for MSME, e-commerce and all other key sectors in the economy.

High logistics cost

As mentioned earlier, the logistics cost in India is at a high of 13 to 14 % of GDP, compared to USA’s 9 to 10 %; Europe 10% and Japan 11%. In India, the sector is highly unorganized and has a skewed modal transportation mix, with 60% of freight moving on roads, which is significantly larger than in key developed economies.

Besides, different parts of the logistics value chain are currently being managed by many ministries including Road Transport and Highways, Shipping, Railways, Civil Aviation, Department of Posts, Commerce and Industry, Finance and Home Affairs. In addition, a large number of government agencies including Central Drug Standard Control Organization, Food Safety and Standards Authority of India, Plant and Animal Quarantine Certification Service provide relevant trade clearances and impact the value chain.

However, the policy is intended to resolve most of the issues and its vision is to drive economic growth and trade competitiveness of the country through a truly integrated, seamless, efficient, reliable and cost effective logistics network, leveraging best in class technology, processes and skilled manpower

The following are some of the key objectives for logistics in India, to be achieved in the next five years.
The first is to create a single point of reference for all logistics and trade facilitation matters in the country which will also function as a knowledge and information sharing platform. It plans to drive down logistics cost to 10 % in line with best-in-class global standards.

The policy intends to optimise the current modal mix (road-60%, rail-31%, water-9%) in line with international benchmarks (25-30% share of road, 50-55% share of railways, 20-25% share of waterways) and promote development of multi modal infrastructure.

The objective is to improve first mile and last mile connectivity to expand market access of farmers, MSMEs and small businesses; enhancing efficiency across the logistics value chain through increased digitization and technology adoption; and ensuring standardization in logistics (warehousing, packaging, 3PL players, freight forwarders).

The policy also aims at creating a National Logistics e-marketplace as a one stop marketplace. It will involve implification of documentation for exports/imports and drive transparency through digitization of processes involving Customs, PGAs etc in regulatory, certification and compliance services. A data and analytics center to drive transparency and continuous monitoring of key logistics metrics is also planned.

It is envisaged that by doing so, the logistics sector can generate an additional 10-15 million jobs; improve India’s ranking in the Logistics Performance Index to between 25 to 30; strengthen the warehousing sector in India by improving the quality of storage infrastructure including specialized warehouses across the country; and reduce losses due to agri-wastage to less than 5% through effective agri-logistics involving access to cold chain, packaging and other post-harvest management techniques.

35 multimodal logistics parks contemplated

At present, there is a gap in the availability of multimodal logistics parks (MMLP) infrastructure for enabling seamless multimodal freight transfer, providing world-class storage and handling as well as delivering value added freight services.

The Government has identified 35 locations for the MMLPs, of which 24 are situated on the national corridors to be taken up for development in the Bharatmala Pariyojana Phase-I. Detailed project reports (DPRs) for seven locations – Nagpur, Mumbai, Bengaluru, Chennai, Surat, Sangrur and Jogighopa (Guwahati) have already commenced.
Even where ICDs’ and CFS have been created, there is potential to improve their utilization and performance. Also a Multimodal Logistics Park Authority (MMLPA) would be set up with representation from various central ministries (Rail, Road, Shipping, Civil Aviation, Customs etc.) as well as respective state governments. The Commerce Secretary will chair this Authority.

Focus will be given to perishable commodities given the specialized nature of requirements for their packaging, transportation and storage.

India is the second largest producer of fruits and vegetables in the world with fruit production of 92 MT and vegetable production of 178 MT. The wastage in fruits is around 25-30%, mainly driven by the limited availability of cold chain infrastructure at the right locations.

The Logistics Wing will work with the Ministry of Food Processing Industries, Ministry of Consumer Affairs, Food & Public Distribution and the Departments of Horticulture in respective states to identify key policy interventions and infrastructure enhancement to promote penetration of cold chain facilities and adoption of reefer trucks in strategic locations. Focus will also be to encourage start-ups working in the ‘farm to plate’ space.

Trade to neighbouring countries mostly by road

Of India’s total trade with its neighboring countries (Nepal, Bhutan, Bangladesh, Afghanistan, Pakistan and Myanmar), over 55% is through land based trading points. CBIC has designated 109 border trading locations as ‘Land Customs Stations’ (LCS), of which 85 are operational.

The adequacy of infrastructure at these LCSs, including warehousing, examination sheds, parking bays etc. as well as seamless movement and faster clearances by regulatory agencies like Customs, FSSAI, Plant and Animal Quarantine will be critical to increase the overall trade across India’s borders.

To achieve all these objectives, the policy has formulated a National Council for Logistics, to be chaired by the Prime Minister; Apex inter-ministerial Committee, chaired by the Minister of Commerce and Industry; India Logistics Forum chaired by the Commerce Secretary with representation from key industry/business stakeholders and academia; and an Empowered task force on logistics as a standing committee chaired by the head of the Logistics Wing. There is a lot happening on paper and it needs to be seen how it gets translated on ground.

AIME & MRO Middle East 2020

AI and new technologies dominate latest exhibition on aerospace industry

New technologies and innovations dominated the latest Aircraft Interiors Middle East (AIME) and MRO Middle East 2020 show with many of the 330 exhibitors highlighting new trends in the aerospace industry.

The co-located two-day events held at the Dubai World Trade Center kicked off on February 25 with a Royal Tour from H.H. Sheikh Ahmed Bin Saeed Al Maktoum, President of the Dubai Civil Aviation Authority, Chairman of Dubai Airports, and Chief Executive and Chairman of Emirates Airline & Group, who toured the stands and interacted with a number of exhibitors, including SITAONAIR, Sanad Aerotech, Falcon Aviation and Anjou Aero.

More than 70 airlines from 40 countries were represented at this year’s edition, making it the perfect platform for suppliers to interact with airline buyers in a dedicated environment.

Additionally, over 5000 trade visitors came to the event to interact with the 330 exhibitors and attend the IFEC Seminars that took place on the show floor.

Creative France

France, the only country which hosted a cluster of companies, brought in 18 French companies, it’s 9th consecutive year of participation at the trade show. They introduced their latest products, technologies and innovations at the show.

In the MRO industry, participating French exhibitors highlighted their capacity to offer innovative solutions in many areas such as flight monitoring / predictive maintenance, rapid and efficient parts replacement, improvement of processes on new technologies, digitization of documentation and monitoring, use of big data, virtual training, etc.

In the interior design segment, the French exhibitors focused on materials engineered to be lighter, interiors customized to make airlines stand out, volume use optimization, Inflight Entertainment and communication systems and more.

“The wide variety of responses offered by the French aviation market may easily meet the needs of Middle Eastern airlines, which are constantly expanding their fleets to answer significant growth in local air traffic. Considered as a powerful sector, French aeronautics industry ranks second world-wide and enjoys an excellent reputation boasting considerable innovation capacity. Indeed, 11% of the sector’s turnover is invested in R&D,” said Frederic Szabo, Managing Director Business France Middle East.

The aerospace industry in France encompasses nearly 4,000 companies and 320,000 professionals. In 2018, the sector generated €65.4bn in sales, €44bn of which came from exports. This cogent, supportive, responsive and dynamic industry is a technological and economic excellence center for France.

France can also lay claim to a fertile aeronautical ecosystem composed of renowned groups such as Airbus, Dassault, Thales and Safran, as well as an extensive network of subcontractors that accounts for half the jobs in the sector. De facto, France is the UAE’s 3rd largest supplier in aeronautics.

With support from the Occitanie Region (southwest of France), the French Pavilion had the following companies at the show: AAA: Service Provider—Manufacturing, engineering, customer support, FAL Integration, repair, overhaul, etc.; ADHETEC—Designs, manufactures and supplies technical adhesive solutions for aerospace; AD’OCC, Invest & Trade in Occitanie—Regional Development Agency of the Occitanie region; AMC AVIATION—Offers an important range of services such as Maintenance support, engineering services, airworthiness management, civil aviation trainings, software solutions and flight operation services; AUXITROL WESTON –The aftermarket arm of Auxitrol Weston provides global MRO support and services; BOLLORE LOGISTICS—a global leader in supply chain management ranking among the world’s top 10 in transport and logistics; CREATION & IMAGE PARIS—The firm has dressed over 400 brands worldwide including Kuwait Airways, Gulf Air, Oman Air and Royal Bahrain Flight; CRYSTAL AERO SOLUTIONS—Unique MRO in the world integrating PART 145 with logistics/freight forwarding and customs, for 100% optimized maintenance solutions, in order to reduce AOG time frame; DEDIENNE AEROSPACE— International company specializing in aerospace tooling for civil and defense markets; EXCENT FRANCE—A firm specializing in providing design and integration of industrial solutions & assembly lines, through turn-key projects; FLEURET —Expert in technical containers and Ground Support Equipment; LATECOERE—LATECOERE Equipment and system division offers off the shelf and dedicated tailored solution for any Airborne Video System addressing external, cargo and cabin surveillance, passenger entertainment and assistance to operations; OPT’ALM—A company, specialized in metal additive manufacturing using the directed energy deposition process; REVIMA —Leading independent MRO solutions provider, specialized in APU, Engine Parts and Landing Gear, for civil and military aircraft; bin equipment and furnishings; TALA – The Aerospace Logistics Alliance—Organization founded by a group of independent logistics providers, specialized in solving the time-critical transportation needs of the aerospace industry; UUDS AERO—Aircraft cabin interiors floor to floor turnkey solutions from Bio Decontamination, to full modification, including local Digital manufacturing capability; WIN-MS—Helps airlines (air Forces, MRO) improve by 5 the wiring maintenance efficiency and help saving AOG costs.

Deals and more

Several agreements were signed on the sidelines of the event, including a long-term agreement between Safran Nacelles with Sabena technics’ GO TEAM support services for a scope of nacelle repairs that bring the GO TEAM’s resources directly “on wing” all over the world.

In addition, Saudi Aerospace Engineering Industries (SAEI), a Honeywell certified service center, announced completion of over 100 auxiliary power unit repairs from its Jet Propulsion Center in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia.
With SAEI, Boeing B777 and Airbus A330 operations with Honeywell APUs receive MRO services in the Middle East. This capability strongly positions SAEI in achieving the Saudi Vision 2030, part of which aims to localize more than 50 percent of military equipment spending by 2030 and includes covering MRO services for fixed and rotary-wing military aircraft.

The Mohammed Bin Rashid Aerospace Hub also chose the event to host a networking session for key exhibitors and aviation companies.

Mohammad Al Falasi, Aerospace Director of Mohammed Bin Rashid Aerospace Hub, presented an overview of the project and showcased its benefits and solutions to the industry, including the including recently launched projects such as Supplier Complex, Helicopter Centre, and Office and Retail.

“MRO Middle East is one of the most prestigious and important events in the Middle East,” said Al Falasi. “It attracts many of our potential clients, as the majority of the big aviation companies are part of the show.”
Etihad Engineering, which provided MRO services to 356 aircraft in 2019 spending more than 1.6 million manhours in total, showcased its full range of capabilities.

“The past year has been truly remarkable for Etihad Engineering as we have expanded many boundaries, from production processes and hangar utilization, to pioneering industry firsts like the A380 12 year check we completed in less than 100 days,” Frederic Dupont, Vice President Technical Sales at Etihad Engineering, said in a statement.
AIME and MRO Middle East will return to Dubai World Trade Centre on March 2-3, 2021.

Caryn McConnachie, Aerospace Director of show organizers Tarsus F&E LLC Middle East, said the response from both exhibitors and visitors to the show is encouraging.

“Seeing the response from exhibitors and visitors is gratifying, and demonstrates that the aircraft interiors and MRO sectors are still booming in the Middle East, driven not just by the fleets of the big Middle Eastern airlines, but also by the many smaller airlines in the region,” said McConnachie.

Lydia Janow, Managing Director/Events, Aviation Week Network, added, “We’re so pleased at the success of MRO Middle East 2020. The demand from exhibitors to return in 2021 just reinforces our belief that this event brings a necessary platform to the industry in the Middle East and further afield.”

PayCargo: Harnessing the power of disruptive technology in digital payment solutions

The era of online payment is no more limited to ecommerce sites—it has expanded to the air cargo industry as well.
The financial aspect of moving goods from A to B is no exception, with digital payment solutions changing the way transactions are made. Modern freight vendors and payers require a B2B payment platform that is fast, easy and secure, with a system built to handle the international demands of shipping cargo around the world.

There are many online payment solutions on the market, but they are not at all equal to PayCargo—a unique solution that has been developed to fill a gap in the market to meet the needs of today’s shipping and cargo industry. The online platform provides unique electronic tools with end-to-end encryption to automate the payment process and facilitate same day transactions in a secure environment.

This has resulted in minimizing costs across the value chain and achieving the aim of releasing cargo within one hour of payment – an innovative approach that is transforming the nature of B2B freight payments. Basically, by simplifying the system for payers and vendors, PayCargo has created an easy-to-use solution comprising three steps – ship, click and pay.

Lionel van der Walt, Chief Executive Officer and President of the Americas, PayCargo, tells Air Cargo Update how PayCargo is revolutionizing the efficiency of payment process and facilitating same day transactions in a secure environment.

The power of disruptive technology

PayCargo is patented and designed by FirstData and has 12,800 registered payers with 20,000+ users, including the world’s leading logistics companies. The platform has 2,500 registered vendors, featuring major airlines, shipping lines, and large marine terminals.

In the last 12 months alone, PayCargo has processed $2 billion in transactions, making it one of the most widely adopted systems in the industry.

“PayCargo is an online payment platform for moving money and vital remittance information between payers and vendors for the maritime and air cargo industries. We have over 2,500 vendors in our network including major ocean carriers such as Hapag Lloyd and Hamburg Sud; air cargo providers like Air France, Lufthansa, United Airlines, American Airlines, Swissport, Air General, and Total Air; and hundreds of terminals and CFS stations. Over 1,000 of these vendors release the cargo within an hour after receiving the ‘Payment Approval’ alert from PayCargo.

“Our vision is to revolutionize the efficiency of the worldwide movement of goods and material shipped via land, sea or air through the use of PayCargo’s propriety online payment solution. Our mission is to work within the freight shipping industry to facilitate the delivery of cargo via our secure, cost effective, and patented payment platform to improve the speed and profitability of their business.

“PayCargo is harnessing the power of disruptive technology by using advancements in Fintech and applying them to the shipping and cargo industry. A prime example of this is our use of APIs which allows vendors and payers to instantly integrate their own operational or financial software with PayCargo’s digital payment platform, resulting in cargo being released quicker. As demand for e-commerce continues to increase, the quick release of cargo will become even more necessary,” said Van der Walt.

Simplifying payment processes

Van der Walt explained “Fintech is no longer just a buzzword. It is fast infiltrating all industries around the world as we move further into the digital age. As an industry, we cannot afford to be left behind as the rest of the world embraces digital tech, and payment platforms are an efficient way to modernize the air cargo industry.”
“We use an API that allows vendors and payers to instantly integrate their own software with PayCargo’s payment platform. This is speeding up the payment process and even resulting in the instant release of cargo at its destination.

“The idea for PayCargo came from our management team experiencing first-hand the inefficiencies and costs, direct and indirect, associated with the inability to quickly settle transactions between carriers and shippers, we realized there was a need to simplify the payment process for faster cargo movements and to align the industry with the ongoing digitization of financial services.”

An ‘intelligent’ payment system

PayCargo’s vast database of global maritime and air transactions over the past half-decade serves as the basis for a new breed of artificial intelligence and AI-powered applications that is expected to improve the overall performance and efficiency of the cargo and shipping industry. In the near future, data and analytics will also provide insights on trend & spend, consumption, routes, carriers, and asset utilization to help reduce costs and optimize performance based on real time transactions.

Intelligent payment solutions, including blockchain and crypto currency leveraging smart contracts and instant electronic payments will also be offered. And because PayCargo is extensible to all other industry platforms, it will be well positioned to offer this intelligent data and information with our strategic partners seamlessly.
“If PayCargo was not speeding up the delivery of cargo, time sensitive medication might not reach patients on time, flowers may not be available on Mother’s Day, crucial smartphone technology parts may be delayed, or Formula 1 equipment might not be released on time for an important race. By facilitating the fast release of both air and maritime cargo, we are ensuring that other industries can effectively operate. IATA has placed the value of shipped air cargo in 24 hours at US$18.6 billion, which has a huge impact on global trade,” said Van der Walt.

PayCargo is a secure, encrypted platform. Payments can be automated to reduce manual inputting and digital notifications update vendors and payers when payments have been processed. APIs and automation eliminate human error and speed up processes by seamless integrations that allow instant information uploads, and, or, downloads directly into payers and vendors back office and operational systems.

With the PayCargo platform, users can eliminate outdated paper processes, such as paying with checks and the associated additional costs of having to courier these to vendors, or process transactions manually into systems. Integrations with other industry service providers such as Champ, IBS, Accelya, and Unysis also help to further streamline these processes.

Aligning supply chain management

PayCargo believes in an open, collaborative approach to using technology such as APIs to connect with as many industry stakeholders as possible. This is creating a network that is driven by the value we add through our platform and is servicing vendors and payers across both the maritime and air freight industries.

This connected approach inherently drives a level of alignment amongst vendors, payers, and other service providers such as IBS, Champ, Unisys, and Accelya. We are also making sure that we are following standards and trends being driven by industry associations so that we remain at the forefront of these developments.

“PayCargo was launched in 2009 as a B2B solution to simplify the payment process for faster cargo movements and to align the supply chain with the ongoing digitization of financial services. We saw a need for carriers and shippers to quickly settle transactions to move cargo faster, and, with continued growth in the e-commerce sector, that need will become an even greater priority as we move into the next decade. We couldn’t have got to where we are today without FirstData who developed the first initial code and platform for PayCargo alongside three maritime entrepreneurs. FirstData also patented much of the systems and processes, which now belong to PayCargo,” said Van der Walt.

“This is an exciting time of change and online B2B payment solutions are a prime example of how developments within Fintech are helping to futureproof the shipping and cargo industry,” he added.

First ACCS system

PayCargo has recently collaborated with Hartsfield–Jackson Atlanta International Airport and IT business Kale Logistics Solutions to set up the first Air Cargo Community System (ACCS) in the USA.

The PayCargo platform underpins the ACCS, using Application Programming Interface (API) to facilitate the integration with Kale in the system, giving all stakeholders visibility of the payment status, eliminating delays or unproductive truck trips for shipment pick-up from the hub.

The ACCS allows stakeholders to communicate electronically with each other, as well as shippers, airlines, trucking companies, customs brokers, freight forwarders and cargo handlers.

“It is a big thing for us to be involved with as these air cargo community systems are the future of the industry,” said van der Walt. “The USA is behind the curve at the moment and this is just the start, as other airports in the USA are also talking about setting up air cargo communities. It is something that is really needed by the airports to drive future growth.”

“From our perspective it is great, and we are open to further collaboration and partnering up with companies in the value chain such as air cargo communities.”

The ACCS also facilitates and streamlines the transportation of goods and information, to, and from, the Georgia state airport, which is one of the busiest in the USA.

It has been used to eliminate duplicate data entry work, and excessive documentation, and addresses truck congestion issues, enabling improved customer focus and expedited processes.

Sowing seeds of hope in Africa

Women remain treated as a minority in many countries, especially in Africa, where the belief that they are less deserving of power as men, still holds. Change is slow in coming in the continent with many societies still locked up in traditional concept of gender roles even in the 21st century.

In South Africa, one of the most progressive democracies since coming out of the Apartheid in 1994, issues on women remain a concern, but it’s less pervasive compared to other parts of the continent where women are given the chance to actively participate in both private and public sectors.

Fundi Sithebe, acting Chief Executive Officer of Airports Company South Africa (ACSA), which operates nine airports across the country, including one each in Brazil and India, is among South African women breaking the glass ceiling in the continent’s male-dominated business scene. She was the company’s COO, directing, planning and leading its overall business operations, prior to being named as ACSA’s Acting CEO on November 1, 2019.

Managing a busy airport is a daunting task. It takes a lot of responsibilities, prudent decisions, hard work, dedication and a team capable of handling the safety and security of millions of passengers from different countries. In Sithebe’s case, it’s twice the pressure as she’s not only responsible for a single airport but rather integrating the operations of nine, in addition to generating non-aviation revenues for all those facilities.
Her career path has inevitably become a source of inspiration for many African women and elsewhere who are struggling to break barriers and make a difference in their lives.

Apart from keeping up with her duties at one of the world’s major airport operators, Sithebe, a licensed pilot, also actively participates in cause-oriented activities that promote women empowerment. She is a member of the Southern African Women in Aviation and Aerospace (SAWIA), Women in Aviation (W&A) and is the current Chair of Akani Aviation Leadership Initiative South Africa, a non-profit initiative that aims to ensure a larger and a sustainable base of females in the aviation industry.

$5 billion investment

In an interview in Dubai on the sidelines of the three-day Global Investment in Aviation Summit (27-29 January 2020), Sithebe says she’s honoured with the trust given to her to manage one of the country’s most profitable entities independently run like a private company.

Sithebe takes her role very seriously and collaborates with a strong team with the collective goal of pushing for ACSA’s growth in the foreseeable future.

Founded in 1993 with the South African government as majority shareholder, ACSA operates nine international airports—O.R. Tambo International Airport; Cape Town International Airport; King Shaka International Airport; Bram Fischer International Airport; Upington Airport; Port Elizabeth Airport; São Paulo Guarulhos International Airport (Brazil); Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj International Airport, Mumbai, India (consortium with Bidvest and Airports Authority of India)—which last year collectively handled more than 48 million passengers.

ACSA also operates domestic airports—East London Airport; George Airport; Kimberley Airport; Pietermaritzburg Airport, and; Mthatha Airport.

Over the next 10 years, ACSA is planning to spruce up the facilities and infrastructure of airports it operates, with focus on three which handle the greatest number of passengers— Johannesburg’s O.R. Tambo International Airport, Cape Town International Airport and the King Shaka International Airport.

“Right now, the next phase of our growth strategy is to build new infrastructure and facilities. All in all, our capital expenditure program would cost us $5 billion over the next 10 years. That cannot be funded from our own balance sheets, unfortunately, so we’re going to market these projects in the private sector,” said Sithebe.
“The reality is much of the funding would come from the private sector and PPP is always one of our options,” added Sithebe who is recognized for her extensive skills in strategy formulation, research and analysis as well as project management having played a significant role as the protocol lead during the 2010 FIFA Soccer World Cup in South Africa.

A pre-feasibility study to create a midfield carbon airport at O.R. Tambo International Airport is now being undertaken. At Cape Town, a new runway is being mulled while remote apron stands are envisioned to be introduced at the King Shaka International Airport.

Digitalization is also a major part of ACSA’s future growth plans with passenger experience now a priority in today’s digital world.

“Digitalization—that’s part of a valuable positive passenger experience. And we are funding this project ourselves,” said Sithebe noting that the master plan for all of the airports that ACSA operates considers the projected passenger, cargo, and aircraft movement statictics.

Renewed cargo strategy

ACSA has also new plans to achieve growth in South Africa’s cargo sector. Johannesburg, the only airport in Africa with nonstop flights to six continents, is at the center of this reform.

Sithebe explained new facilities may be introduced at Johannesburg’s O.R. Tambo International Airport that can be used by air freight operators and forwarders to enhance shipment of different types of goods carried through the belly of commercial passengers serving the route.

“We’re starting to rethink our cargo strategy. What we have before is just provide the land but the two are interlink (cargo and passenger airlines). Any aircraft that comes in can bring in cargo. We need to make sure that there is a cohesive strategy between them,” she said.

In 2017, Johannesburg handled close to 415,000 tons of cargo with the 14 international and local carriers either maintaining or increasing their frequencies. Belly-cargo accounted for a significant percentage of this growth. South Africa’s top export markets in terms of value are China, Germany, the United States, Japan and India as well as Botswana and Namibia.

COVID-19 and other diseases

Just like other countries, South Africa is suffering the lingering brunt of the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak which has so far killed more than 4,089 people as of mid-March. Tourist arrivals rates are at an all time low with domestic and international travel strongly discouraged to prevent the spread of the virus.

More than 120,000 people, mostly in China, were already infected with the virus which has spread to more than 100 countries worldwide and their number are likely to increase with COVID-19 vaccine still yet to be formulated.
The virus has a huge impact on revenues of South Africa’s travel industry with about 20 percent of its tourists coming from China followed by the UK and Germany.

Sithebe said airports handled by ACSA are prepared to handle medical emergencies like COVID-19 gaining their experience from previous outbreaks in the continent like the Ebola virus.
“We have automatic screening put in place. We’ve done this over the past four or five years since the Ebola outbreak,” said Sithebe. “Every single passenger coming internationally to South Africa is screened. We have the necessary medical protocols in place in case someone is found to have the virus. That person will be immediately quarantined.”

The world remains on a standstill with an invisible enemy that is slowly crippling all activities but Sithebe remains hopeful everything will come into place soon.

Fundi Sithebe: Airports Company South Africa’s COO

Fundi Sithebe is the Acting Chief Executive Officer of Airports Company South Africa as of 1 November 2019. Prior, she was the Chief Operating officer appointed in December 2017.

As the COO, her role is to direct, plan and lead the overall business operations (namely overall airports management, infrastructure asset management, technical services and solutions, enterprise security and information technology), ensuring that the business operations are set to achieve the company’s set performance commitments.
She is responsible for the integration and seamless operations across the network of 9 airports. In addition, she is responsible for the Commercial Division – which is mainly responsible to non-aeronautical revenue, a large component of the business revenues.

She started her career as a management consultant, focussing in the areas of strategy and operations in several organisational strategic projects. She was part of the expansion team for a financial services organisation that crafted a strategy and was responsible for the successful establishment of operations in Africa – both greenfield and acquisition.

She holds a Bachelor of Business Administration from Midrand University, and a Post Graduate Diploma in Management (Business Administration) from Wits Business School. Her passion in the aviation industry was sparked in 2003, when she obtained her Private Pilot’s License (PPL).

She is a member of the Southern African Women in Aviation and Aerospace (SAWIA), Women in Aviation (W&A) as well as the current chair of Akani Aviation Leadership Initiative South Africa, a non-profit initiative that aims to ensure a larger and a sustainable base of females in the aviation industry.

Airports Company South Africa (ACSA) runs various Socio-Economic Development (SED) initiatives focusing on Education, Youth and Women Development, Persons with Disabilities, Environmental Sustainability, Employee Volunteerism and Philanthropic Donations, all aimed at seeking to improve the quality of life for people.
ACSA says it has spent over R41 million on various projects that are aligned to the country’s National Development Plan, the King III report, Broad Based Black Economic Empowerment and the Skills Development Act.

It mainly focuses on communities in and around the nine airports, that it operates. The company also contributes to other community development projects around South Africa that meet its SED criteria. Most of the company’s airports fall within poverty nodes, that the government has specifically identified as needing focused intervention.
Its major projects include the following:

Komazi high school: Maths & science initiative-Mpumalanga

Tucked away in a rural area between the borders of Swaziland and Mozambique is Inkomazi High School. Like many schools in South Africa, Inkomazi struggled to keep up with the modern way of learning. Being a poor area, IT and internet facilities were out of reach for most learners.

With instant internet access being provided throughout the year, the new facilities have opened many opportunities, for the learners, which they could never dream of before.

Besides the learning issues, sanitation was also a big concern for the school. Due to lack of toilets learners would stand in queues until they ran out of break time. Airports Company South Africa intervened by providing the school with 20 modern ablution facilities.

Mgezeni high school computer donation

Mgezeni High School in the village of Ntambanani outside Empangeni in KwaZulu Natal, is a newly upgraded technical school. The school however needed the supply, installation and maintenance of ICT equipment for their two ICT centres to enhance their Mechanical, Electrical and Civil Technology curriculum.

ACSA’s Socio-Economic Development initiatives

Airports Company South Africa in partnership with the Air Traffic Navigation Services, known as ATNS, and the Department of Transport as a shareholder made a combined donation. In addition, the Department of Transport made a donation of Shova Kalula bicycles as an intervention to improve the learners’ mobility and access to the school.

More than 1400 learners currently benefit from the project. Computer classes at the school are now run with two teachers handling each lesson. The first teacher conducts the lesson, while the other teacher follows up to ensure that the learners understand what is being taught.

Teacher and learner development program

Eastern Cape has been identified as one of the worst performing provinces by the Department of Education. Airports Company South Africa took a decision to improve education in the province by introducing a Learner/Teacher Development Programme in East London and Port Elizabeth.

Two schools were identified namely Walmer High School in Port Elizabeth and Umtiza High School in East London. Both schools are within a 5km distance from East London Airport and Port Elizabeth International Airport respectively. The programme, which commenced in April 2017 focuses on Mathematics, Physical Science and Accounting for learners in Grades 10 to 12. Learners continue to attend Saturday and Holiday classes and the teachers also receive capacity and development training.

JetBlue Airways announces several appointments to its leadership team, effective immediately

Dave Fintzen has been appointed vice president investor relations, reporting to Steve Priest, JetBlue’s chief financial officer. In this role, Fintzen is responsible for the company’s relationship with its owners and prospective owners and informing key stakeholders of JetBlue’s financial position and strategy. Having joined JetBlue in 2016, he has played an important role as the liaison between JetBlue and the investment community and will work to share the next chapter of JetBlue’s success story. Fintzen is a graduate of George Washington University and also holds a Master of Arts in Economics from Johns Hopkins University.

Andrea Lusso has been appointed vice president network planning, reporting to Scott Laurence, head of revenue and planning. In this role, Lusso will oversee the execution of the company’s network strategy through route planning and schedule planning. He joined JetBlue in 2012 and has held various roles in marketing and route planning, and his expertise has helped maximize both revenue and operational efficiency. Lusso is a graduate of Embry Riddle Aeronautical University and also earned his Master of Business Administration from New York University. He is a commercial pilot and certified flight instructor.

Sophia Mendelsohn has been appointed vice president sustainability & environmental social governance (ESG). Since 2013, Mendelsohn has helped JetBlue design and implement policies and practices that enhance the company’s competitive advantage and reduce environmental impact. Most recently, she led the efforts to offset carbon dioxide emissions (CO2) from jet fuel for all domestic JetBlue flights beginning in July 2020. In this new role, she will expand her responsibilities to include JetBlue’s diversity and inclusion efforts and work toward increased representation and inclusion in all areas of the business. Mendelsohn will continue reporting to Brandon Nelson, JetBlue’s general counsel and corporate secretary. Mendelsohn is a graduate of Brandeis University and also holds Master of Science in Sustainability Management from Columbia University.

“For twenty years, JetBlue has been a force for good in our industry,” Robin Hayes, JetBlue’s chief executive officer, said. “As we look to the future, I’m delighted that today’s appointments place proven leaders in roles that will help us to succeed in the decades to come. I look forward to working with each of them as we continue on this incredible journey together.”

Abdulla Alkhallafi appointed as Emirates SkyCargo’s cargo manager for India

Emirates SkyCargo has appointed Abdulla Alkhallafi as its new Cargo Manager for India. Alkhallafi will be based out of Delhi and will be overseeing all commercial and operational aspects of Emirates SkyCargo in one of the air cargo carrier’s most important markets globally. He will be taking over from Keki Patel, who will be retiring after his tenure of more than 15 years as Cargo Manager for India with Emirates.

Alkhallafi is no stranger to the nuances and dynamics of the air cargo market in India having previously worked as Cargo Manager for North India for Emirates since June 2017. He is a UAE national who joined Emirates in 2014 as part of Emirates SkyCargo’s Commercial Management Program. Following his initial training at Dubai, Alkhallafi was posted to Singapore where he had the opportunity to gain first-hand experience of Emirates’ operations in an overseas market. He holds a BBA in Finance & Banking from the University of Dubai.

Nabil Sultan, Emirates Divisional Senior Vice President, Cargo said: “We are delighted to appoint Abdulla Alkhallafi as the Cargo Manager for our India operations. As a graduate of Emirates SkyCargo’s Commercial Management program, Abdulla has shown immense potential in his previous roles and we have no doubt that his dynamism and his understanding of the air cargo industry will help drive further growth for Emirates SkyCargo in India. We would also like to thank Keki Patel for his extensive contribution to the business over close to two decades.

“Emirates SkyCargo’s Commercial Management program provides a strong grounding and well-rounded exposure for young UAE nationals to the global logistics industry. Trainees are then able to apply this know-how in order to progress to more senior roles within the organisation. We have more than 12 UAE nationals who have graduated from the programme since 2014,” he added.

With over 170 weekly flights to nine destinations, Emirates SkyCargo facilitates an important volume of trade between India and the rest of the world. In addition to transporting cargo on passenger flights, the carrier also operates scheduled freighter flights to Mumbai and Ahmedabad.

In 2019, Emirates SkyCargo transported more than 250,000 tons of exports and imports to and from the country. India is one of the largest origin markets for pharmaceuticals for Emirates SkyCargo and both Mumbai and Bengaluru are part of the air cargo carrier’s pharma corridors program which encompasses 25 of the carrier’s most important stations for pharma around the world.

India also exports a large volume of fresh food and perishables on Emirates’ flights to Dubai and beyond. More than 5,000 tons of fruits, vegetables and other produce from India are flown by Emirates SkyCargo to markets in the Middle East and Europe. During summer every year, the carrier flies hundreds of tons of delicious Indian mangoes that are sought after in many markets around the world.

WFS announces key appointments to its leadership team to drive growth

Worldwide Flight Services (WFS) has announced key appointments to its leadership team in North America to support its air cargo and ground handling growth ambitions in 2020 and beyond.

• Paul Walton joins the company as Senior Vice President Express, responsible for all aspects of WFS’ Express business. He previously served as Senior Vice President of Sales and Commercial Operations for the Americas at Menzies and as Vice President of the West Region for Swissport Cargo Services. Paul started his early career working on the ramp in Pittsburg before being promoted to sales and general management roles with Ogden Ground Services;

• As Senior Vice President Ground, Terry Trainor now has responsibility for WFS’ North America Ground Business. In his previous career with Menzies, Terry served as Senior Vice President of Strategic Development for the Americas and also held the positions of Senior Vice President North America, SVP Risk for the Americas, and as President and Chief Operating Officer of Menzies’ subsidiary Simplicity USA focused on narrow-bodied aircraft operations. Terry has over 30 years of aviation experience, including senior leadership roles with US Airways and Northwest Airlines;

• Victor Chin has been appointed Senior Vice President Center of Excellence (SVP COE) and will call upon his extensive experience in senior leadership roles with US Airways, United Airlines, Jet Blue and PwC Consulting. Victor, who joined WFS in 2015, most recently served as the Senior Vice President, Safety and Security Compliance for the Americas. In his new role, he will drive WFS’ continuous improvement projects;

• Jeffrey Bounds has been promoted, taking the post of Senior Vice President Project Management Office. Jeffrey joined WFS in 2017 as VP Operations Planning & Finance and brings to his new role extensive financial planning, leadership, and financial analysis experience from senior roles with FedEx, United Airlines, and McGraw- Hill Education;

• Mark Berner joins the company as Senior Vice President, Safety and Security Compliance, replacing Victor Chin in his previous role. Mark has held several senior safety and security positions with airlines and cargo operators including Southern Air and Comair. He has been a member of the USA’s Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) Commercial Aviation Safety and is a qualified commercial airline pilot. In his new role Mark will build on the successful ‘Best in Class’ Cargo Security Program by rolling out similarly ambitious safety and environmental programs to drive down injuries, damage and flight safety risks.

All five appointments took effect at the beginning of this year. Paul, Terry, Victor, Jeffrey and Mark report directly to Mike Simpson, WFS’ Executive Vice President, the Americas.

“These key appointments bring highly-experienced, invaluable new blood into our North America business and also allow us to reward existing members of our senior management team, who are making such a significant contribution to our growth. The calibre of our leadership team reflects WFS’ ambition to build our business in North America based on the key pillars of safety, security and customer service,” Mike Simpson said.