Ford brain research could hold the key to more quickly identifying when drivers switch off at the wheel

Ford is working with neuroscientists to develop a faster and more effective way to detect when drivers are tired, distracted or not concentrating. Driver fatigue may be a contributing factor in up to 25 percent of fatal and serious road incidents.

Global motor company Ford is pioneering a new brain research that could ultimately lead to a faster and more accurate way to detect when a driver is starting to switch off behind the wheel.

Driver fatigue is a serious concern in the global trucking industry because of truck drivers usually do long-haul drive to transport goods between cities and borders.

Alerting drivers who are tired or distracted far earlier could help keep drivers, passengers and other road users safe, with driver fatigue cited as a contributing factor in up to 25 percent of fatal and serious road incidents. A survey shows that 40 per cent of drivers in Europe do not follow the recommended practice of taking a break every two hours on long journeys.

“The brain processes huge amounts of information when we are driving, but that may change as driver assistance technologies do some of the driving for us. Drivers also get tired and their minds can wander. Identifying more quickly when this happens could be of critical importance,” said Stefan Wolter, research engineer, Research and Advanced Engineering, Ford of Europe.

Working with neuroscientists, Ford is hoping that by identifying the brain responses that reveal lapses in concentration, it may then be possible to match the scans to their physical manifestations – such as changes in heart rate or breathing. Should a loss in concentration become apparent, for example if a change in heartbeat variability was detected via wearable technology, the vehicle could then alert the driver.

Unique research project

As driver assistance technologies offer increasing levels of support to those behind the wheel, it remains crucial drivers stay alert and do not become overly reliant on assistance technologies.

Ford is conducting this research on mapping brain patterns to driver’s reactions with Uniklinik RWTH Aachen, in Germany. The testing involves participants completing a driving simulation while their brain activity is scanned by an MRI machine. A specially positioned mirror enables the participants to see the simulation on the screen.

The scenario, designed using gaming technology, involves a three-lane motorway at night where a vehicle in the middle lane brakes suddenly and the participant has to take over and move the car to the left or right, using a handheld device. The participants are also prompted by engine sounds to indicate which lane it is safe to move to.

The MRI machine scans the brain before and during these actions, while the researchers measure how quickly the participant reacts and if they make the right decision, and monitor changes to heart rate, breathing rate and other physiological measures.

“We believe that by capturing this data we could one day be able to generate unique physiological driver fingerprints so that drivers of the vehicles of the future can be prepared to react and to intervene immediately in case it is required,” said Professor Klaus Mathiak M.D. Ph.D., head of Psychoneurobiology and lead consultant for Psychosomatic Medicine, Uniklinik RWTH Aachen.

For more than a decade, a coffee cup symbol displayed in the dashboard cluster has highlighted to Ford drivers that they may be showing signs of fatigue and should take a break. Now, this unique research project could take driver monitoring an important step further and help ensure a smooth transition to driving vehicles with advanced driver assistance features.

Based in Dearborn, Michigan, Ford also manufactures trucks and is considered one of the largest international heavy duty truck manufacturers in the world. The company produces a range of vehicles including tractors, construction trucks and distribution trucks weighing over 16 tons.

Ford Trucks combine more than half a century of design and production experience with expertise in market-specific product development, to engineer the main components of its vehicles, including the all-new engines. The company currently operates across Europe, the Middle East, Africa, Russia and the CIS. Source:

Driver Fatigue and Road Accidents Factsheet

Driver fatigue is a serious problem resulting in many thousands of road accidents each year. It is not possible to calculate the exact number of sleep related accidents but research shows that driver fatigue may be a contributory factor in up to 20% of road accidents, and up to one quarter of fatal and serious accidents.

These types of crashes are about 50% more likely to result in death or serious injury as they tend to be high speed impacts because a driver who has fallen asleep cannot brake or swerve to avoid or reduce the impact.

Sleepiness increases reaction time (a critical element of safe driving). It also reduces vigilance, alertness and concentration so that the ability to perform attention-based activities (such as driving) is impaired.

The speed at which information is processed is also reduced by sleepiness. The quality of decision-making may also be affected.

It is clear that drivers are aware when they are feeling sleepy, and so make a conscious decision about whether to continue driving or to stop for a rest. It may be that those who persist in driving underestimate the risk of actually falling asleep while driving. Or it may be that some drivers choose to ignore the risks (in the way that drink drivers do).

Crashes caused by tired drivers are most likely to happen:
· on long journeys on monotonous roads, such as motorways
· between 2am and 6am
· between 2pm and 4pm (especially after eating, or having even one alcoholic drink)
· after having less sleep than normal
· after drinking alcohol
· if taking medicines that cause drowsiness
· after long working hours or on journeys home after long shifts, especially night shifts

A study conducted by a traffic safety foundation in the US investigated the relationship between the amount of sleep a driver has had and their likelihood of a collision. The study, being the first of its kind, looked at US road data in the form of the National Motor Vehicle Crash Causation Survey, in order to assess the contributory factors of the crash and how much sleep the driver had had recently.


Global air cargo industry posts stellar performance in 2021

Demand up by nearly 19% but supply chain challenges remain

GENEVA, Switzerland—The global air cargo demand went up by 18.7 percent in 2021 compared to 2020, year-on-year, making it the industry’s second best performance (behind 2010’s 20.6% gain) since the International Air Transport Association began monitoring cargo output in 1990.

IATA said the growth outpaced the 9.8% rise in global goods trade by 8.9 percentage points. Economic conditions continue to support air cargo growth noting that the recent surge in COVID-19 cases in many advanced economies has created strong demand for PPE shipments, which are usually carried by air, it added.

Challenges, however, still confront the industry, particularly in the supply chain, due to labor shortages, partly due to employees being in quarantine, insufficient storage space at some airports and processing backlogs continue to put pressure on supply chains.

“Air cargo had a stellar year in 2021. For many airlines, it provided a vital source of revenue as passenger demand remained in the doldrums due to COVID-19 travel restrictions. Growth opportunities however were lost due to the pressures of labor shortages and constraints across the logistics system. Overall, economic conditions do point towards a strong 2022,” said Willie Walsh, IATA’s Director General.

“December saw a relief in supply chain issues that enabled an acceleration of cargo growth. “Some relief on supply chain constraints occurred naturally in December as volumes decreased after peak shipping activity ended in advance of the Christmas holiday. This freed capacity to accommodate front-loading of some Lunar New Year shipments to avoid potential disruptions to flight schedules during the Winter Olympic games.

“And overall December cargo performance was assisted by additional belly-hold capacity as airlines accommodated an expected year-end boost to travel. As shortages of labor and storage capacity remain, governments must keep a sharp focus on supply chain constraints to protect the economic recovery,” Walsh noted.

2021 Regional Performance

Strong variations were evident in the regional performance of air cargo in 2021 compared to 2019. North American carriers were the strongest performers, reporting an annual increase in international demand of 20.2%. Middle East and African carriers also reported double digit growth in international demand in 2021 (10.6% and 11.3%, respectively) compared to 2019. Asia-Pacific and European carriers saw international demand rise 3.6% in 2021 compared to 2019. And Latin American carriers were the only ones to record a contraction in international demand of 15.2% compared to 2019.

Asia-Pacific airlines reported a rise in international demand of 3.6% in 2021 compared to 2019 and a fall in international capacity of 17.1%. In December airlines in the region posted an 8.8% increase in international demand compared to 2019. Demand for goods manufactured in the region remains strong, including PPE. International capacity remained constrained in December down 10% compared to the same month in 2019.

North American carriers posted a 20.2% increase in international demand in 2021 compared to 2019 and a growth in international capacity of 0.2%. The region was the only one to record a growth in capacity in 2021 compared to 2019. In December carriers in the region posted an increase of 20.5% in international demand. The region’s carriers continue to benefit from strong consumer demand for goods. International capacity grew 6.2% compared to December 2019.

European carriers reported a 3.6% increase in international demand in 2021 compared to 2019 and a fall in capacity of 17.4%. In December airlines posted an increase in international demand of 6% compared to 2019. International capacity was down 5.9% in December 2021 compared to pre-crisis. European carriers have been significantly affected by supply chain and airport congestion and localized capacity constraints.

Middle Eastern carriers reported an increase in international demand of 10.6% in 2021 compared to 2019 and a fall in international capacity of 10.1%. Growth decelerated towards the year-end, partly driven by a downward trend in volumes on the large Middle East-Asia route. In December airlines in the region recorded a 5.7% increase in international demand compared to December 2019. International capacity decreased by 9.2% in December compared to the same month in 2019.

Latin American carriers reported a decline in international demand of 15.2% in 2021 compared to 2019 and a fall in capacity of 30.2%. Airlines registered in Latin America had a challenging year, as several were engaged in lengthy restructuring processes. That said, the restructuring processes are coming to an end, and December’s performance was the best of the year, with carriers in the region reporting a 2.9% decline in international demand compared to December 2019. This was a significant improvement on the 13.4% decline the previous month. Capacity remained heavily constrained in December, down 26.1% on pre-crisis levels.

African airlines saw international demand grow 11.3% in 2021 compared to 2019 and a fall in international capacity of 14.6%. Growth in the region has been dynamic for most of the year, driven by the strength of the Africa-Asia route. In December, international demand grew by 7.6%  with international capacity falling 19.4% as compared to the same month in 2019.

Transcendental Meditation 2x a day for 20 minutes for this busy CEO

Assume that you’re the head of a major international airline, and every day, you have to deal with different major decisions in your line of business. With that comes the challenges as well emanating from your operations that span across the globe.

Sure, you have different department heads to handle everything that comes within their responsibilities. But ultimately, they will depend on your sound judgment and business acumen to deal with all situations. And that requires a lot for your mental health.

So, how do you take care of your brain to keep it sane and healthy in the midst of difficult decisions to make, mundane daily challenges and a future to build for the business? You meditate.

That’s exactly what Ben Minicucci, the Chief Executive Officer of Alaska Air Group, the parent company of Alaska Airlines and Horizon Air. The two airlines carry approximately more than 45 million passengers a year on 1,300 daily flights to 115 destinations throughout the United States, Canada, Mexico and Costa Rica.

Under Ben’s leadership, Alaska Air Group has maintained growth despite the difficult times and had created an airline that people love. And to Ben, doing transcendental meditation twice a day for 20 minutes gives him clarity of thoughts, balance and calm.

In a blog posted on Alaska Air, Ben was asked, “Rumor has it, you’re trained in mindfulness or practice meditation. How does that play a role in your life and as a leader?

To which he replied, “I’ve been really diligent about it, especially in the last six months. I actually took a course in transcendental meditation, which is an easy type of meditation. And I do it twice a day for 20 minutes. What I love about it is it calms me down.

“These jobs can get really stressful, and it helps me find balance. The second thing that I love is it gives me clarity of thought. So, as you’re bouncing from one topic to another, one meeting to another, it helps give me clarity so I can be the best for those I work with and focus on what’s important. I am actually addicted to it now. When I don’t do it, I find that maybe I’m not at my best. So, it’s really helped me.”

And he could have found the perfect relief for a tough job like his. The brain is a complex organ that controls our thoughts, memories, emotions, touch, motor skills, vision, breathing, temperature, hunger and every process that regulates our body, need some “me” time, various studies have shown.

A UCLA study showed long-term meditators had better-preserved brains as they age as opposed to those who don’t. Yale University found that mindfulness meditation decreases activity in the default mode network (DMN), the brain network responsible for mind-wandering and self-referential thoughts – a.k.a., “monkey mind.” And John Hopkins says mindfulness meditation has the ability to reduce symptoms of depression, anxiety, and pain.

Ben joined Alaska in 2004 as staff vice president of maintenance. Before joining Alaska, he spent seven years serving in a variety of roles at Air Canada’s technical operations and, ultimately, vice president of heavy maintenance. He served in the Canadian Armed Forces for 14 years prior to joining the private aviation sector.

Ben holds a Bachelor’s and Master’s Degree in Mechanical Engineering from the Royal Military College of Canada. He’s currently on the board of directors for Alaska Air Group, Washington Roundtable, and the University of Washington Michael G. Foster School of Business Center for Leadership & Strategic Thinking.

Ben’s Firsts & Favorites:

First job in aviation: The Canadian Armed Forces.
First time on an airplane: “I was about 10 when I visited my grandparents in Italy. I can’t remember what type of aircraft or airline but remember sitting by the L1 door and it was very noisy.”
Favorite travel destination: Hawaii.
Must-pack item for any flight: Workout clothes.
Favorite sport: Cycling trips with friends. “We’ve been to Corsica, we’ve been to Italy, France, Spain – I just love doing big weeklong bike trips around the world.”
One thing people are surprised to learn about you: “My taste in movies. I love to laugh, and I love movies that are silly – like Will Ferrell movies. Everything from ‘Talladega Nights’ to ‘Wedding Crashers’ to ‘We’re the Millers.’ A lot of people think I’m into sophisticated stuff, but I just want to watch movies that make me laugh.” Source:


Volga-Dnepr Group : The ‘Wings of Russia’ that specializes on oversize & heavy cargo

“When it comes to project cargo transportations, which are usually taking place somewhere in less equipped areas and airports, there are no better freighters in the world than An-124 and Il-76 as they are 100% self-reliant in loading and offloading thanks to internal system of cranes and ramp. That said, we do not need special airport equipment, as opposed to Airbus and Boeing planes, to proceed with effective loading/offloading of XL shipments and our experienced and qualified loadmasters are always here to come up with the right technical solution to streamline handling operations.” — Fedor Novikov, Marketing Director at Volga Dnepr Group

Volga Dnepr Group has been known to be the world leader in carrying unique, oversize and heavy cargo, successfully creating a niche market for the Russian airfreight industry since 1990, a year before the former Soviet Union disintegrated and collapsed.

According to the Moscow Defense Brief, over the past 18 years, the Group has transported gigantic excavators and yachts, missile launchers, airplanes and helicopters, elephants and whales, entire mini-factories, power plants, among other unique cargoes.

The main subsidiary of the Group, Volga-Dnepr Airlines, operates a fleet of 12 Antonov AN-124 and five Ilyushin IL-76 for international charter services of oversized and heavy cargo. AirBridgeCargo (ABC), another subsidiary, specializes on scheduled cargo operations while ATRAN Airlines focuses on short-and medium-haul flights. Together, these cargo carriers are known as the “Wings of Russia.”

In 2008, Volga-Dnepr delivered Kibo, the Japanese Experiment Module for the International Space Station (ISS), from Japan to the Kennedy Space Center in Florida. It is the largest single ISS module.

The airline recently completed a series of charter flights for over 12 million COVID-19 kits, in collaboration with UK-based freight forwarder JAG-UFS, the test kits were carried from Shanghai to China to Billund in Denmark with an average load of 72 tons per flight. The flights were carried out on behalf of the Danish government.

Amid the pandemic, the airline experienced disruption of scheduled operations and a significant influx of charter operations.

With 30+ years of experience and expertise in this area they were able to adjust to the current situation and guarantee intact supply chains to their customers worldwide. The pandemic has also served as a trigger to introduce more diversified product portfolio for their customers—scheduled cargo operations, charter cargo operations, long-term charter programs and ACMI.

As the market opted for longer-term commitments such product range was highly appreciated. Throughout 2021 the airline analyzed the market situation, and it became clear that customers are also interested in integrated logistics solutions through ‘one-stop-shop’ experience.

Fedor Novikov, Marketing Director at Volga-Dnepr Group, explains to Air Cargo Update the company’s unique role in transporting oversize and superheavy cargo, dominating the global market for this niche mission for years now.

Integrating other services

Volga-Dnepr has historically been active in the heavy and oversize air cargo market transporting unique project cargoes worldwide. However, amid the pandemic they have significantly strengthened their positions in such segments as healthcare and humanitarian prioritizing COVID-19 shipments over other projects cargo to help people live healthier and safer lives.

“When it comes to project cargo transportations, which are usually taking place somewhere in less equipped areas and airports there are no better freighters in the world than An-124 and Il-76 as they are 100% self-reliant in loading and offloading thanks to internal system of cranes and ramp. That said, we do not need special airport equipment, as opposed to Airbus and Boeing planes, to proceed with effective loading/offloading of XL shipments and our experienced and qualified loadmasters are always here to come up with the right technical solution to streamline handling operations,” Novikov explained.

Last year, amid the pandemic, Volga-Dnepr expanded its services to include a more integrated logistics solutions for its growing number of customers.

“In 2021, we have realized that our unique expertise and experience could expand beyond air freight and started offering more integrated logistics solutions, embracing first- and last-mile, warehousing, customs clearance, trucking delivery. These are the first steps but we have seen strong support from our customers and will follow this trajectory to offer value-added services,” said Novikov.

“However, Boeing 747 with its nose-door loading capabilities and wide side cargo door is also an ideal choice when we talk about transportations to more developed airports with sufficient infrastructure. This is especially the case for super long pieces, likes of pipes, or jet engines to mitigate AOG situations, or equipment for chip production,” he added.

Among its recent achievements, Volga-Dnepr has transported COVID-19 and ancillary out-of-gauge equipment, among them production line for vaccines.

Throughout 2021, the Group has also operated a number of charter flights with firefighting equipment to help nations in their battle against wildfires, transportation with satellite equipment to provide high-speed internet coverage, supported our customers in their COVID-19 transportations (tests, masks, vaccines, ancillary goods, etc.).

New logistics solutions

Volga-Dnepr Group consists of three independent airlines – Volga-Dnepr Airlines, AirBridgeCargo Airlines, and ATRAN airlines, with supporting businesses in leasing, insurance, MRO, trucking, and training areas.

The Group provides efficient integrated logistics solutions to the market by using its unique fleet of the ramp and non-ramp aircraft and operating charters onboard An-124, Il-76 for oversized and super-heavy cargoes, onboard Boeing 747F, Boeing 777F and Boeing 737F for general and special cargoes, including temperature-sensitive, dangerous goods, oversize and heavy, live animals, e-commerce; scheduled flights for all types of cargo in accordance with the existing network onboard B747F, Boeing 777F and B737F; and providing customized logistics solutions for oversize and heavy cargo, embracing all stages of the transportation process – consulting, design & manufacture of special loading frames, packaging advice, and support, organization of multi-modal services, obtaining of airport permits and approvals, ground handling arrangements.

The Group is constantly evolving its services to meet the growing demand for dedicated deliveries of healthcare, high-tech, aerospace, e-commerce, automotive, and other industries with a special focus on customized solutions.

“In 2021 we have decided to expand the scope of our services embracing integrated logistics solutions – first and last mile, terminal handling, warehousing, transportation, customs clearance, design solutions, etc. With more than 30+ years of operations, expertise, and competence, we feel positive that our value-added services will be in demand among our existing and potential customers,” said Novikov.

Cargo Supermarket Strategy

Cargo Supermarket is Volga-Dnepr’s unique concept which offer one-stop-shop experience to their  customers worldwide. Basically, it means that the customer could address with his/her cargo request and be sure to receive the most cost-effective logistics solution which might cover scheduled or charter operations onboard diversified freighter fleet (An-124-100/150, Il-76TD-90VD, Boeing 747-400ERF/8F, Boeing 777F, and Boeing 737F).

“On top of that, we complement our air freight services with Engineering and Logistics consulting which covers multi-modal delivery, customs clearance, warehouse management, design and manufacture of special loading equipment and other key logistics components,” said Novikov.

“This is a very competitive advantage given that in today’s fast-paced world, customers value time and having the ability to save it and avoid multi communication through e-mails, online booking forms, telephone calls, etc., is something our customers appreciate.

“Apart from Cargo Supermarket concept and a package of integrated logistics solutions we guarantee that we speak one language with our customers which means having local specialists with global vision and understanding. We have been expanding our regional teams, strengthening their knowledge as per industry requirements and current certifications.”

2022 and beyond

According to Novikov, the air cargo industry has been the bright spot and enabled uninterrupted supply chains amid logistics chaos of 2021.

“We are optimistic about 2022, although it is still early to talk about full recovery, which is expected to be reached only by 2024, in 2022 there will be 60%-recovery of passenger operations as they were back in 2019. IATA is predicting a rather modest growth of 4% growth of cargo volumes.

“However, we do not expect this year to be easier than previous two as we are still facing logistics challenges, but we feel better prepared today and have been able to adjust to the current situations. We look forward to expanding our scope of services embracing new areas, investing in new equipment and infrastructure, attracting new talents to ramp up our ambitious growth.”

He noted that the world currently relies heavily on air cargo operations which will be boosted by the following:

For now, the “Wings of Russia” is busy hauling different types of cargo across all continents, ensuring that both its chartered and scheduled flights arrive safely and on time, as the world races against time to recover from the onslaught of the pandemic. Edited By Gemma Q. Casas

Volga-Dnepr: A leader in oil and gas equipment transportation

Volga-Dnepr Group is also known best known for its remarkable performance in transporting equipment in the oil and gas industry, both in Russia and globally.

Using its fleet of An-124-100 and IL-76, technical expertise and highly-skilled staff, customers are assured of timely delivery of their equipment, thus, contributing to seamless production of oil and gas.

Volga-Dnepr has already served all major oil and gas companies worldwide such as British Petroleum, Exxon Mobile, Shevron-Texaco, Calgary Overseas, Canadian Oxy Offshore International, LUKOIL.

A bright example of new technologies implementation for special cargo services is the cooperation between Volga-Dnepr and British Petroleum. In 1996, transportation of oil equipment to Columbia by the Russian airline’s aircraft resulted in the commencement of oil exploration there before the scheduled time.

Within a year and a half, 120 flights were performed for British Petroleum including high-mountain and hardly accessible regions with over 11 thousand tons of the total equipment dispatched. Such logistic solutions are new to the world aviation and industrial exploration. Experts said Volga-Dnepr logistic services allowed its customers to obtain material benefits.

Among the Group operations performed in 2007-2008 are the following: the delivery of an asphalt plant from the United States to Russia; transportation of a huge rotor (67 tons) from Italy to China; delivery of a power station (90 tons) from the United States to Kuwait. In 2008 the dispatch of a printing device from Germany to Japan was a new world record of a single cargo piece transportation (40 tons) on the IL-76TD aircraft.

Through the Group’s endeavors, An-124-100 Ruslan and IL-76 aircraft became part of the international logistics incorporating production units located across the world.

Royal Brunei Airlines extends partnership with ECS Group

ECS Group announced it has secured a two year contract extension with Royal Brunei Airlines and will represent the cargo division of the airline at a mix of online and offline destinations across nine territories: S.E Asia, Australia, China, Middle East/Saudi Arabia, New Zealand, India, United States and Canada.

The GSA partnership with Royal Brunei Airlines first began in 2018 in 11 countries: Singapore, Malaysia, Thailand, Philippines, Vietnam, Hong Kong, United Kingdom, Indonesia, Taiwan, Japan and Korea.

The new contract started on February 1, 2022 and will run through to January 31, 2024, now counts 26 countries, though excludes Indonesia, Taiwan and Japan.

The pandemic largely disrupted the airline’s operations which originally included daily flights to most of the countries in its network.

Certain destinations currently remain suspended. However, ECS Group will continue to support Royal Brunei in diversifying to new destinations, and predicts a large increase in tonnage over the next two years.

“We are committed to giving our customer ECS Group’s best and are proud to have secured this contract extension. It is the result of excellent teamwork within ECS Group headquarters and stations, and testament to our close partnership with Royal Brunei,” Noor Azizah, ECS Group regional VP Asia Pacific (exc. China), states. “We look forward to another two years of working hand-in-hand with this award-winning, boutique airline offering great service!”

“Royal Brunei Airlines is delighted to continue its Cargo GSA relationship with ECS Group. The renewed relationship will further strengthen the partnership between Royal Brunei Airlines and ECS Group, with extended coverage of key territories such as Australia and UAE, as well as potential offline markets in USA, Canada, and India. With their network coverage, we believe and hope to see ECS Group enhance Royal Brunei Airline’s footprint and presence with improved revenue performance in the represented territories,” says Christina Chua, senior vice president passenger, cargo and charter sales at Royal Brunei Airlines.

Boeing expands its freighter families of jetliners

Boeing recently launched the new 777-8 Freighter and expanded its market-leading 777X and freighter families of jetliners with an order for up to 50 aircraft from one of the world’s largest cargo carriers, Qatar Airways.

Qatar Airways will be the 777-8 Freighter launch customer with a firm order for 34 jets and options for 16 more, a total purchase that would be worth more than $20 billion at current list prices and the largest freighter commitment in Boeing history by value. The order also supports hundreds of U.S. suppliers from across 38 states, will sustain more than 35,000 US jobs, and provide the American economy with an annual estimated economic impact of $2.6 billion during the contract’s delivery period.

Featuring advanced technology from the new 777X family and the proven performance of the market-leading 777 Freighter, the 777-8 Freighter will be the largest, longest-range and most capable twin-engine freighter in the industry. With payload capacity nearly identical to the 747-400 Freighter and a 25% improvement in fuel efficiency, emissions and operating costs, the 777-8 Freighter will enable a more sustainable and profitable business for operators.

At the White House, Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo, His Excellency Ambassador Sheikh Mishaal bin Hamad Al Thani, Director of the White House National Economic Council Brian Deese, and Boeing President and CEO Dave Calhoun joined the formal signing by Boeing Commercial Airplanes President and CEO Stan Deal and Qatar Airways Group Chief Executive, His Excellency Mr. Akbar Al Baker, who reaffirmed the airline’s commitment to the 777X family with the record-breaking 777-8 Freighter deal. First delivery of the new freighter is anticipated in 2027.

“Boeing has a long history of building market-leading freighter aircraft and Qatar Airways is honored to have the opportunity to be the launch customer for the 777-8 Freighter, an aircraft which will not only allow us to further enhance our product offering for our customers, but also help us meet our objectives to deliver a sustainable future for our business,” said Mr. Akbar Al Baker. “Today marks a great day in the ever-building and strong relationship between Qatar Airways and Boeing. We certainly push Boeing hard to deliver upon our expectations, and the team at Boeing consistently strives to meet and exceed our expectations, giving the opportunity for us to be here today to launch the most significant new freighter aircraft for a generation.”

“We are delighted to launch Boeing’s next great cargo airplane – the 777-8 Freighter – with Qatar Airways, one of the world’s largest cargo carriers and our partner since the airline began operations nearly 30 years ago,” said Deal. “Our team is ready to create an airplane that will serve them well for many decades. Qatar Airways’ selection of the efficient 777-8 Freighter is a testament to our commitment to provide freighters with market-leading capacity, reliability and efficiency.”

“We are proud that 90% of the global dedicated freighter fleet is made up of Boeing airplanes. With global supply chains under pressure and high demand for e-commerce, the performance and capabilities of the fleet is more important than ever.”

Boeing is designing the 777-8 Freighter, the newest member of the 777X family, to maximize efficiency and environmental performance. The widebody family features engineering design improvements and innovative technologies, including a new carbon-fiber composite wing and new fuel-efficient engines. With a range of 4,410 nautical miles (8,167 km), the 777-8 Freighter has a maximum structural payload of 118 tons, allowing customers to make fewer stops and reduce landing fees on long-haul routes.

Boeing will build the 777-8 Freighter in its Everett, Wash., factory. The company has invested more than $1 billion into the Everett site to support 777X production and sustain thousands of local jobs for decades to come.

As part of the agreement, Qatar Airways will convert 20 of its 60 777X family orders to the 777-8 Freighter. Qatar Airways is also ordering two current 777 Freighters – Boeing’s best-selling freighter of all time – to capitalize on the buoyant air cargo market. Customers from around the world have ordered more than 300 777 Freighters since the program began in 2005.

Boeing and Qatar Airways also signed a Memorandum of Understanding for a firm order of 25 737-10 aircraft and purchase rights for 25 additional airplanes. The total value of this 737-10 commitment is nearly $7 billion at current list prices. The largest model in the MAX family, the 737-10 seats up to 230 passengers in a single-class configuration and can fly up to 3,300 miles. The fuel-efficient jet can cover 99% of single-aisle routes around the world.

“Qatar Airways very much looks forward to adding the 737-10 to its fleet, with this new variant of the 737 being ideally suited to our short haul network, allowing us an opportunity to further enhance our product offering for our customers, modernize our fleet and operate the most efficient aircraft in its category,” said Akbar Al Baker.

“The largest member of the 737 family, the 737-10 is an airplane that offers more capacity, greater fuel efficiency and the best per-seat economics of any single-aisle airplane,” said Deal. “We are proud of our partnership with Qatar Airways and honored that this world class airline continues to put its trust in our Boeing team.”

An international carrier with a passenger fleet including Boeing 777 and 787 Dreamliner airplanes and an all-Boeing cargo fleet of 747 and 777 freighters, Qatar Airways serves more than 140 key business and leisure destinations worldwide.

IATA certifies Etihad Cargo as CEIV for Live Animals logistics

Etihad Cargo, the cargo and logistics arm of the Etihad Aviation Group, has been awarded IATA’s Centre of Excellence for Independent Validators (CEIV) for Live Animals. The UAE national carrier is the first airline in the Middle East and third globally to hold IATA’s CEIV Live Animals, CEIV Fresh, and CEIV Pharma certifications.

The certification was awarded following an IATA-led assessment of Etihad Cargo’s dedicated LiveAnimals, for animal transportation, and SkyStables, for equine transportation, products, as well as its logistics’ audit checklist to ensure compliance with standards, requirements, and Live Animals Regulations (LAR).

The IATA certification endorses and accredits Etihad’s expertise for the transportation of live animals, reinforcing its position as the region’s leading international air cargo carrier and reaffirming its commitment to animal welfare.

Martin Drew, Senior Vice President Sales & Cargo, Etihad Aviation Group, said: “The transportation of live animals requires specific conditions and the CEIV certification further underlines Etihad Cargo’s experience and commitment to animal welfare and safe transportation. Etihad Cargo is proud to have secured certification for its LiveAnimals and SkyStables products. This recognition further endorses the industry-leading service we provide global customers.”

The key benefits of CEIV Live Animals certification include improving animal welfare and safety through appropriate quality and risk management, and enhancing standardization and professionalism in the handling and transportation of live animals in a multimodal environment. The certification also enforces compliance with the IATA LAR, elevating staff competency through efficient and robust training programs, and enabling increased collaboration among stakeholders and certified trade lanes.

Brendan Sullivan, IATA’s Global Head of Cargo, said: “Handling and transporting live animals is challenging. Each type of animal has its own specific requirements. Achieving CEIV Live Animals certification means Etihad Cargo’s customers can benefit from extra assurance that their precious cargo is in safe hands. We congratulate the airline on becoming the first in the Middle East to complete the suite of CEIV certifications – Pharma, Fresh and Live Animals.”

Etihad Cargo’s dedicated LiveAnimals and SkyStables products offer tailored solutions for transporting live animals, ranging from horses and household pets to global conservation projects. The carrier ensures the safest treatment of all species entrusted to its care with trained staff to guarantee all implemented processes are in line with global regulatory requirements. Etihad Cargo is also a signatory of the Buckingham Palace Declaration against the illegal trade of wildlife.

Kerry Logistics wins Air Cargo Services award at BIFA

Kerry Logistics Network Limited has won the Air Cargo Services Award at the British International Freight Association (BIFA) Freight Service Awards 2021 (the ‘Awards’). The Awards ceremony was held in London recently.

Kerry Logistics Network received the accolade for its outstanding performance in air freight. The Air Cargo Services Award was conferred to commend its excellence in air freight throughout the global pandemic. Kerry Logistics Network has launched new air freight services such as a new Trans-Pacific air freight service and an Air-Sea service via South Korea in 2021.

Emma Rowlands, Strategic Sales Director of Kerry Logistics (UK), said, “Kerry Logistics Network has been a whirlwind of activity, effort, and ingenuity throughout the last 12 months and to have the hard work of the UK team recognized by industry peers is a testament to their dedication. These new services were introduced as a direct response to the ongoing capacity constraints and supply chain bottlenecks that have been a regular occurrence over the last 12 months to ensure customers can keep cargo moving.”

Xeneta acquires leading provider of air freight market intelligence, CLIVE Data Services

Xeneta, the leading ocean and air freight rate benchmarking, market analytics platform and container shipping index, has acquired Amsterdam-based air freight data analysts CLIVE Data Services to provide the most timely and comprehensive insights into the global ocean and air freight markets. This transaction comes seven months after Xeneta announced it was partnering with CLIVE to integrate its ‘dynamic load factor’ and capacity analyses into Xeneta’s market analytics platform.

“We want our customers to have the best and most timely global ocean and air freight data trends,” said Xeneta CEO, Patrik Berglund. “The unique insights and timelines of CLIVE’s air freight data make it a great addition to our freight data offering. Our combined data services and industry expertise make us second to none in providing clear insights into the global freight markets. We gladly welcome Niall’s extensive air freight expertise to Xeneta’s leadership team to strengthen Xeneta’s technology and data-driven approach within the air freight space. Our recent Series-C funding is allowing us to speed up the delivery of new services and to further expand our global footprint.”

Niall van de Wouw, co-founder of CLIVE Data Services, commented: “The recent partnership with Xeneta has given us valuable insights into our respective data offerings, and the additional value we can deliver by combining our expertise and resources. For CLIVE’S clients, this exciting new development will provide opportunities to further populate our data and give us the ability to help them extract more value from our data services. Our decision to team up with Xeneta was not only driven by the complementary service offering. Patrik and his team have built a great company with a unique business culture and I am really looking forward to becoming part of that.”

The global freight market has been through its most dynamic period ever in the last two years. This has heightened demand for more timely data to help companies deal with this volatile time in an informed manner. By tracking daily fluctuations in the ocean and air freight markets, Xeneta supports its clients with making smarter ocean and air freight decisions.

EUROCONTROL and ACI EUROPE sign MoU to enhance co-operation and joint commitment to aviation’s successful and sustainable future

Eamonn Brennan, Director General of EUROCONTROL, and Olivier Jankovec, Director General of ACI EUROPE, have today signed a joint Memorandum of Understanding to enhance their co-operation as the two organizations work towards European aviation’s future-facing stability, safety, and sustainability.

With a long history of successful collaboration in many areas of mutual concern, the intergovernmental organization representing 41 Member States and 2 Comprehensive Agreement States, and the trade association bringing together all of Europe’s airports share many commonalities as aviation moves into a new chapter – in particular a shared focus on operational efficiency and sustainability.

The Memorandum, which replaces an existing agreement dating from 2008, builds a framework of co-operation around 2 pillars:

Efficient air transport through increased integration between operations at and around airport platforms and Air Traffic Management, moving to collaborative decision making.

This is essential to have operations on time and make better use of existing capacity and unlock latent capacity – both on the ground and in the air. Such integration will ultimately result in a one-on-one information exchange between the Network Operation Plan (NOP) and Airport Operation Plan (AOP). It will be delivered through the continued cooperation between ACI EUROPE together with its member airports, and the EUROCONTROL Network Manager as well as through the continued participation of EUROCONTROL in ACI EUROPE’s Technical, Operations & Safety Committee (TOSC). The network functions, delivered with the support of the Network Manager, form a key pillar of the EU Single European Sky project.

Sustainable air transport, through the continued development and outreach of Airport Carbon Accreditation, the global standard for carbon management and reduction at airports, as well as the continued rollout of EUROCONTROL’s Collaborative Environmental Management (CEM), which provides process guidance through which airports are able to reduce their environmental impact in close cooperation with their operational stakeholders.

Olivier Jankovec said: “For Europe’s airports, recovering from COVID-19 and the imperative to ‘Build Back Better’ means chasing every opportunity to increase their operational efficiency and reduce their environmental footprint. Over the past years, EUROCONTROL has come to play an increasingly important role in supporting not just airports but the whole aviation eco-system in that direction. The challenges we face in progressing further and the interconnected nature of aviation means enhanced collaboration and integration are key. This is precisely what this new agreement between ACI EUROPE and EUROCONTROL is about. We look forward to our continued collaboration.”

Eamonn Brennan said: “Flights were down 44% last year across Europe to 6.2 million, whilst at the same time passenger numbers were down 59% – a loss of 1.4 billion. EUROCONTROL is focused on supporting European aviation and is working closely with airports to deliver enhanced operational efficiency and sustainable solutions as we recover from the pandemic. Time and again our organizations have shown that working together in areas as diverse as innovation, R&D, urban air mobility, and optimizing performance at all levels, reaps even greater benefits for aviation. We look forward to strengthening our collaboration even further for the benefit of the wider aviation network as a whole.”