Innovative Future

With access to technology getting cheaper, its use is becoming more ubiquitous in different industries primarily to hasten production process without compromising safety and security.

The air cargo industry continues to embrace digitalization and other facets of technology to speed up the process and reach even the farthest shores seeking access to a reliable, safe and efficient mode of transporting goods.

That is also the case in freight and logistics with artificial intelligence being utilized to uplift industry standards. Smart warehouses are now commonly used and so are robots designed to lift, sort, label or pack cargoes for storage and shipment, among many other things.

In this edition, we’ll examine another new logistics trend known as “reverse logistics” which is essentially connecting chain of post-purchase services designed to increase customer loyalty and minimize return costs for merchants.

We’ll also bring you innovations in airports in the Middle East and across the world giving us a glimpse of what the foreseeable future looks when it comes to handling millions of travelers on a daily basis.

Autonomous trains are now the norm in transporting passengers from one point to another around airports. Passengers in search of information now mostly deal with robots or communicate remotely with humans via computers.

Our eyes, faces and fingers are scanned enabling us to seamlessly go through security checks.

Dubai, among the first globally to introduce automated immigration gates in 2002, adopted during recent years the socalled Smart Gates, which can identify travelers through their passports, Emirates ID (for residents), e-gate card or a government-generated QR barcode.

The Smart Gates, now 127 in number across Dubai Airports, can process immigration security check in less than a minute. The system is available to all UAE citizens and residents, GCC nationals and citizens of a number of countries eligible for visa on arrival.

More than 88 million passengers traveled to Dubai in 2017, making it the top airport in the world in terms of passenger traffic. Of the figure, more than 5 million used the Smart Gates. But in the future, the government plans to introduce Smart Corridors to check all at the same time more people using their biometrics.

We’re all heading for an innovative future in different fronts.

Gemma Q. Casas

Twists & turns

In 2016, profit margins were relatively low for most companies in the air freight industry and the supply chain.

Over the next 12 months following that year, the global trade remarkably turned around, growing at 3 percent, the highest
since 2011. This generated unprecedented sales volume in different sectors, including the air freight and aviation.

The Luxembourg-based Cargolux Airlines, for instance, publicly reported its net profits after taxes in 2016 totaled only US$5.5 million but in 2017 it shoot astonishingly to US$122.3 million. Profits were also reaped in historic proportions among other major freight carriers like LuxairCargo, Lufthansa, Emirates SkyCargo, and so on.

The global economic upturn is forecast to continue this year through 2019 at 3 percent growth rate, according to a United Nations economic report.

Along with the airlines, the profit taking also expanded to the General Sales Agent (GSA) sector.

ECS Group, one of the leading GSA companies globally, is seizing the opportunity to expand its global footprint, breaking new grounds where possible with the help of a highly advanced technological system that ensures seamless process in transporting goods anywhere in the world, investing more on people and all things digital to speed up things.

In this edition, ECS Group CEO Adrien Thominet shares his insights on what the foreseeable future may hold for the industry and how companies are carefully transforming themselves to adopt to what lies ahead in the digital age.

If China, with its ‘One Road, One Belt’ Silk Road vision, is an economic powerhouse, India is regarded as the “real Eldorado for all technologies development” says Thominet.

With an equally huge domestic market in excess of one billion, India’s e-Commerce industry is burgeoning, promising huge

Technology is also enhancing the process of storing things as we touched on a feature about “smart warehouses” powered by Artificial Intelligence (AI).

These and more news and features in this latest edition of Air Cargo Update.

Gemma Q. Casas

Editor in Chief

The business of connectivity


Aviation’s history spans for at least two thousand years and the field where the Wright Brothers flew the world’s first successful airplane in 1908 is considered as the first airport in modern-day times despite some historians disputing it.

Airports play a crucial role in military and global economy, connecting people and resources across regions, countries and continents. Today, they are some of the largest employers in the planet, with practically all industries—airlines, food, security, technology, freight, logistics, supply-chain, among others—directly or indirectly linked to its operations.

Europe has more than 500 airports in 45 countries accounting for 4 percent of its GDP. In 2015, the Airports Council International Europe reported it handled more than 1.9 billion passengers, 18.9 million tons of freight and 22.8 million aircraft movements.

Germany’s Hamburg Airport, opened in January of 1911, holds the record as the world’s oldest airport still in operation with more than 160,000 aircraft movements recorded in 2016.

This Port City’s success is mirrored across Germany, most notably in Munich Airport, the first and only Five-Star Airport in Europe, which handled more than 42 million passengers in 2016.

In this edition, we’re bringing you the story of Munich Airport. How it successfully transformed itself from its humble beginnings to a world-famous airport, selling its innovative ideas and management expertise across the globe.

Dr. Michael Kerkloh, the president and CEO of Munich Airport, shares his insights and what’s next for this busy entry-point to Messe Munchen, the world famous exhibition center.

Munich Airport and Dubai International Airport are some of the busiest in the world with unparalleled global connectivity to hundreds of cities and destinations.

In India, we’re tackling the controversial General Sales Tax or GST, which will certainly impact the most the country’s logistics sector with exports and imports of goods at an all time high.

ULDs, an important component in the air cargo industry and travelers as well, are also highlighted in this issue.  And so are experts talking about baggage handling’s intricate system.

And as always, we’re bringing you the latest news and features in the air cargo industry and its allied sectors. Read on!


Gemma Casas


Better days

March statistics in the air freight industry points to a good start with volumes increasing by 14 percent in terms of freight ton kilometers (FTK) during the first quarter (Q1) of the year compared to the same period last year.

The International Air Transport Association (IATA) says this was “the fastest pace of growth recorded since October 2010” and was largely attributed to increased activities globally in exports.

Air freight companies, logistics and others connected in the supply-chain of the industry are upbeat about the prospects of having better days. We couldn’t agree more.

This month, most industry players are converging at Messe Munchen for the much awaited biennial Air Cargo Europe (May 9-12, 2017), considered as the ideal platform to network, initiate business and expand knowledge about the air freight industry across the continent, the Middle East, Africa, Asia, the Americas and even the Pacific.

More than 2,000 exhibitors and about 60,000 visitors from across the globe are expected to attend this major event. A healthy business is all what they want.

In this edition, we’re bringing you the story of an Indian entrepreneur born and bred in Kenya who made a fortune in Dubai by transporting humanitarian cargo to troubled areas across Africa and the Middle East. His entrepreneurial spirit lives on with a new business venture, touching many lives in the process.

From India, we will expound on the latest initiative of the government to fully utilize 24 airports to enhance the country’s air cargo industry amid a great potential to speed up transporting goods across its vast regions.

In technology news, we’re bringing you Boom Supersonic, the fastest commercial passenger in the world, designed to cut by half the travel time between long haul destinations. Venture capitalists from Silicon Valley are mainly funding this futuristic project.
This is going to be an exciting year for both the aviation and air cargo industry with game-changers about to enter the market from different fronts.

These and more news and features in this latest edition of the Air Cargo Update.

The Numbers Game

The year is about to end with the numbers predominantly
determining where a company is headed and how reforms,
plans and strategies would figure to achieve corporate goals.
The sudden global slump on oil prices has impacted every
business on the planet and the air cargo industry is no

Lower fuel cost has essentially encouraged the return to the
market of less fuel efficient aircraft that led to increasing the
global air freight capacity despite a slowdown on international
commercial cargo activities.

Cargo volumes in the Middle East weren’t badly affected as
others but the circumstances had put a dent on its performance.
It posted a 6.5 percent growth for the first half of the year, based
on data from the International Air Transport Association—paling
in comparison to its record 14.3 percent growth for the same
period last year.

AITA projects the global cargo revenue to drop to $49.6 billion
this year from $52.8 billion in 2015.

The situation is forcing many companies to thoroughly examine
their performance and strategizes for more realistic goals.
While caution is how most companies approach the situation,
there are some who make bold decisions, with high hopes of
reaping benefits in the long run.

Take for instance, global online retail giant Amazon’s decision to
operate its own air cargo fleet rather than enjoin the services of
major couriers to deliver ordered products across the globe.

Under a partnership agreement, this long-term cost-effective
solution to hasten delivery time yielded 40 planes for this USbased
company. Air Cargo Update examines this on this issue.
And so is the push for more automation or the use of robots in
logistics and other related industries, which some fear may drive
more skilled workers out of job.

Robots with artificial intelligence will also be a familiar face in
airports, tourist spots and neighborhoods in Dubai as the
government opts to utilize them to provide security and easy
access to information for both residents and tourists. We have
this story for you on our Technology section.

And of course, we have the latest news and features on logistics,
air cargo, airlines, aviation and allied industries, from across the

Gemma Casas


e-Commerce and the future of air cargo

The rise of e-Commerce has dramatically changed the way
businesses sell goods or services to customers with the virtual
reality taking over from the traditional way of going to stores to
purchase something or visiting companies to transact business.
Now people can buy anything within the comforts of their home
or office via their computers or even mobile phones. It’s fast,
reliable and efficient which suits the pace of today’s digital age.
Defined as the purchase of any goods or services online via the
internet or online social networks, e-Commerce has also
changed the way we pay and the way the supply chain do

It has also paved way for certain innovations such as internet
marketing, social media, online transaction processing,
electronic data interchange, system solutions, cloud data
collection systems and the list goes on.
The English inventor and IT expert Michael Aldrich is widely
credited for introducing online shopping back in 1979 to enable
online transaction processing between consumers and

By the 1990s, the World Wide Web or the internet was born.
English computer scientist Sir Timothy John Berners-Lee is
credited for it along with the invention of the so-called Hypertext
Transfer Protocol or HTTP, the foundation of data communication
in the internet. Then, Yahoo and Google came.
But it wasn’t until Facebook and other social media sites came
about in mid-2000 that the concept of e-commerce
tremendously grew and became global.

For the air cargo industry, e-commerce is definitely a boon, with
experts pointing to the modern electronic commerce as the way
forward on how freight and logistics companies will grow their

More than 60 emerging markets across Asia, Africa, South
America and elsewhere across the globe, now tightly embracing
e-commerce, will positively impact the air cargo and logistics
world. And Air Cargo Update has the story for you.
In this edition, we’re also carrying the story of the first Emirati and
a woman at that, leading the National Association of Freight and
Logistics (NAFL), Ms. Nadia Abdul Azziz, who is pushing the
industry to greater heights globally.

For our cover story, we take a deeper look at Emirates SkyCargo’s
growing importance globally, its newly-launched SkyPharma
and one of the men behind its success.

On The Lounge, we’re delighted to have interviewed an
entrepreneur whose father helped shape the aviation civil
infrastructure landscape in the Middle East.
And of course, the latest news and features on airlines, airports,
aviation, air cargo and more.

Gemma Casas


Inspiring September

The scorching summer heat is finally gone.
We’re now in September, the beginning of the so-called “ber
months” — a sign that the year is about to end.

Autumn or fall in the northern hemisphere. A time to reflect on
major historical events that shaped the way we live now. A
prelude to the desert winter for those in the Middle East and
South Asia. A respite from the warm tropical summer heat
elsewhere in Africa and Asia.

An opportunity to start anew.

In this edition of Air Cargo Update, we take a look at the daring
attempt of a family-owned company in Toowoomba, Australia
to change the economic landscape of their town by investing
$250 million to build what is now known as the Brisbane West
Wellcamp Airport.

Though small in operation compared to other airports in major
cities in Australia, Toowoomba’s first green field public airport
built in 50 years, is slowly making a name for itself and a
difference to the lives of those around it.
With a vision to turn the airport into Australia’s hub for
international air cargo, Toowoomba’s hardworking people are
assured their produce and livestock products will get

In The Lounge, we spoke to an international aviation executive
whose passion for flying and breaking new grounds, found
himself behind a huge team of individuals and companies who
strongly supported Solar Impulse 2, the world’s first solar plane
that successfully circumnavigated the world without using a
single drop of fuel.

We are also carrying the latest news in the aviation and air
cargo industry from across the globe. As an added feature,
we’re showcasing in this edition some of the latest gadgets and
technology you might want to know.

And finally, we’re introducing Unwind, a new section devoted
to give you options on places to visit, to chill out, to explore or
simply to just be you without the mundane demands of your

Time to be inspired!

Gemma Casas



In aviation history, July and August are best remembered for
many historic milestones that greatly shaped the industry that
spilled over to the growth of the global air cargo sector.
It was in July 1901 when brothers Wilbur and Orville Wright
made the first of a series of test glides at Kill Devil Hills near
Kitty Hawk, North Carolina. In August of 1908, Wilbur made his
first test flight in Europe.

The two, as we all know, are best known for inventing, building
and flying the world’s first successful airplane in 1903.
On July 2, 1937 Amelia Earhart, the pioneering American female
pilot, and navigator Fred Noonan, were lost over the South
Pacific while flying near Howland Island. They were never
found and their disappearance remains a mystery.

It was also 35 years ago in July when the first solar-powered
aircraft across the English Channel named “Solar Challenger”
successfully crossed the distance powered by some 16,128
solar cells.

In August of 1945, the world was stunned when a military plane
dropped the first atomic bomb in Hiroshima, Japan, that forced
the Japanese to surrender, causing an end to World War II.
Fast-forward to this year, the UAE and the rest of the world will
forever remember July as the time when the world’s first sunpowered
aircraft successfully circumnavigated the world, day
and night, without a single drop of fuel.

The success of Solar Impulse 2, which began and ended its
journey in Abu Dhabi, will have a profound impact on the future
of aviation and air cargo industries.

Air Cargo Update also traces back in this issue Turkish Cargo’s
growth and its increasing influence in exporting and importing
goods from and to the Middle East, to anywhere in the world,
even transporting Batman’s ultra-modern and high-powered

In The Lounge, we take a glimpse on how billionaire Fred Smith
who started FedEx—a pioneering cargo enterprise which has
evolved into a global name, raking billions of dollars on an
annual basis and giving jobs to more than 400,000 people
around the world—spends his free time and his hobbies.
Finally, we have laid down in this issue the latest news, insights
and trends in the aviation, airline and cargo industries.
The jet age is about transformation, changes and new

More milestones ahead!

Gemma Casas


May musings

While Dubai is all spruced up to host the 16th edition of the Airport Show between May 9 and 11 at the Dubai International Convention and Exhibition Centre (DICEC), we take a close look at how the show provides as an ideal B2B platform for companies to present airport and aviation-related products and services. The world’s leading B2B event for airport procurement, supplies, solutions and technology has been in the forefront of meeting the industry’s expectations. This year’s event expects participation from more than 300 leading global companies who will showcase their latest technology, innovation and product offerings to a projected 7,500 attendees, including 150 hosted buyers and over 50+ regional aviation authorities expected to attend the event.

Also, in the backdrop of the recent IATA report that suggested that Middle Eastern region will witness exponential growth in the aviation sector, we ponder over how airports are increasingly focusing on investing in smart technology to effectively handle large passenger volumes, while ensuring security at the same time. As the region is expected to add an additional 237 million passengers a year by 2034 and with the global trade association estimating the total market size to be around 383 million passengers, undoubtedly United Arab Emirates leads aviation growth in the region. Not just this, millions of dollars is being invested in airport technology and system upgrades to ensure seamless passenger experience along with security.

On the Cover, read an exclusive interview with Mr. Ulrich Ogiermann, Chief Officer Cargo, Qatar Airways Cargo who took time off to explain to us how the airliner has grown at a phenomenal pace especially in the last one decade and how it recently attained the third position of being the world’s third largest international cargo carrier, its expansion plans and his outlook for the global air cargo industry going forward.

In the Lounge, we featured Hasan Ozdemir, Cargo Operations Manager, Pegasus Airlines. Read his interview in the inside pages to learn more about his role in Pegasus Cargo, while he talks about his job, life and interests.
Also, among other articles, read a feature on the thriving e-commerce market in the UAE. According to Frost & Sullivan, the country’s e-commerce market is worth nearly $2.5 billion a year and is expected to grow to $10 billion by 2018.

Yet another feature on Sri Lankan air cargo industry will make an interesting read. IATA’s recent reports highlighted Sri Lanka as one of the five fastest growing international freight markets over the period 2011-16, with an average growth rate of 8.7 per cent. The country’s air cargo sector also witnessed consistent increase in uplifted tonnage year on year mainly due to increase of freighter frequencies and wide body passenger belly operations to Colombo by leading global airlines.

As always we are looking forward to hear from you. Send in your valuable suggestions and feedback so that we can incorporate them going forward.


Dipti Das


Assuring April

Despite Over a third of goods traded globally through air, the air cargo sector continues to face a difficult business environment. The recent IATA’s observation that the sector that witnessed anaemic growth since 2010 still continues to reel under difficult situation, is indeed an alarming trend in the industry. IATA also estimates that volume growth will increase to 3.0% in 2016. Under pressure from integrators, competing modes of transport (land and sea) and increased cargo capacity in the passenger fleet, yields are expected to fall a further 5.5% in 2016. If the industry needs to make profits, it should look for continued transformation through bolstering of its key strengths of speed and flexibility with modern processes and improved quality.

On the Cover, read an exclusive interview with Nabil Khojah, CEO Saudia Cargo, who explained to us how the airliner, being strategically located in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, enjoys a unique flexibility and is positioned to provide a bridge between East and West.He also spoke at length on Saudia Cargo’s future projects and ambitions.
In the Lounge, we featured Mrs. Divya Tekchandani, Director for Dubai-based Airglow Aviation Services FZC, an ACMI based operator offering aviation services to Europe, Middle East, Africa, Asia, Asia Pacific and the South-west Pacific regions.

Also, among other articles read an exclusive interview with Mr.Halit Anlatan, Cargo VP Sales & Marketing, Turkish Airlines Cargo who, despite the no so encouraging previous year for air cargo, still remains optimistic about a better 2016.

On the backdrop of the recently concluded Air Cargo India 2016,where the industry veterans pondered over the fate of the industry, we decided to cover the event expansively. Read features on the Indian cargo scene in the inside pages including coverage from the fifth edition of Indian Civil Aviation show held in Hyderabad recently.
Yet another feature on cargo crime in the industry makes for an interesting read. Read about how cargo crime in Europe, the Middle East and Africa (EMEA), reached a five-year high in 2015.

As always we are looking forward to hear from you. Send in your valuable suggestions and feedback so that we can incorporate them going forward.

Dipti Das