Ram Menen: A global air freight industry icon

Air cargo industry at crossroads: Embrace digitalization or continueto lag behind

Air cargo traffic is an important global health economic indicator. But despite its significance, it’s still struggling to implement, evolve and embrace the digital age.

There are new players creating a niche in the ever competitive freight marketplace. How will they fare? Is the industry caught up unprepared in the growing digitalization and e-commerce trends? What is the way forward?
Air Cargo Update had an exclusive interview with Ram Menen, the former stalwart of Emirates SkyCargo widely credited for the company’s ascension as the top freight carrier in the world. Read on this expert’s valuable insights on some of the most pressing issues affecting the industry.

How has the air freight industry transformed over the past few years?

The evolution of the airfreight industry has been painfully slow when compared to what is happening in the rest of the industries in the world. While the entire world is digitized in many ways, we can see that the air cargo industry is struggling to implement e-Freight fully.

Though, the industry has come a long way, apart from the larger and more evolved multinationals, the broker mentality still exists among forwarders, which is an impediment to progress. Shipper/forwarder/carrier relationships have not fully evolved to take advantage of technology.

Having said that, there are new players like Flexport with their virtual forwarder concept and Freightos, with their vision to create a freight market place. They are creating disruption in the industry and leading the change. Freight forwarding is caught between getting digitized and growth in e-commerce industry.

Amazon, Alibaba and now Google, with its investment in JD.com, are all moving into and will dominate the air cargo world in the future. They have also got the integrators, who are more attuned to the e-commerce business, in a dilemma with their requirement for very short and flexi LMD (last mile delivery) requirement.

This has created a new breed of local LMD companies who are now in a better niche to provide services to both, the integrators and e-commerce business. This is an opportunity for the freight forwarding industry if they are able to quickly acquire the skills needed. The main challenge is that the forwarders LMD is job based, whereas integrators are schedule based. E-commerce industry is looking for a hybrid solution.

Air cargo industry is at crossroads at the moment and its ability to learn and participate in a digitized market place will be key to their growth as well as survival. Going forward, the growth in traditional air cargo is likely to slow in low single digits with the advent of in-shoring/near-shoring activities as well as mass scale 3-D printing while the e-commerce business is likely to be growing in double digits (in percentage terms) for the foreseeable future. The good news is that e-commerce traffic tends to be year-round but the bad news for the carriers is that it tends to be low-density cargo which is getting more and more price sensitive.

Where real transformation has taken place is on the operations side where there is more awareness of trans-portation requirements for different verticals like perishables, pharma, fashion, goods, etc. The progress in temperature controlled transportation has been quite remarkable. Specialty transport/logistics has done a lot of good to improve the quality of service in the air cargo industry.

Do you think the industry has become more aligned compared to before?

There has been a lot more alignment in the industry. There is more focus on seamless integration of services across the supply chain operations. However, more needs to be achieved in data integration and creating better transparency. Blockchain now provides a better opportunity to create better security of data and help allay the paranoia and allow for better data sharing. Though security process aspects have been more refined, common standards with customized variation would go a long way in reducing hurdles and make it more cost efficient.

Has globalization and marketing brought better cost efficiencies?

Globalized production and markets have definitely brought in a lot of cost efficiency. However, years of optimizing costs by optimized and efficient supply chain operations are now under threat because of the looming trade conflict/war instigated by USA.

Hopefully, this is a temporary challenge the world is going through. Local manufacturing and marketing will never be able to efficiently compete with globalized production where costs are optimized to produce the best overall costs by optimizing sourcing of raw materials/components and production in most cost efficient places. Globalized production and markets benefit from the economies of scale. The world is more connected and, hopefully, globalization is here to stay.

What can the government do to boost the air freight industry?

The government’s role has to be that of a facilitator of trade and commerce which will benefit its own economy.
The role should be that of a gardener to create and maintain a fertile enviro-nment and framework to encourage healthy growth.

How important are digitalization and e-commerce for the industry?

It is digitization that has created such a mass market so quickly for the likes of e-tailers like Amazon.com, Alibaba and many others. Digitalization accelerates the processes from placing an order to have it delivered at the shortest possible time. It also allows trade to transcend across borders seamlessly. It also brings in efficiencies in inventory management and creates visibility of supply and demand. Those who don’t digitize will become extinct within a few years.

Do you think digitalization and the trucking industry in India has come of age or still has a long way to go?

Though digitization brings in a lot of internal efficiencies, it is the movement of relevant data across the whole supply chain that brings in the real value to shippers and consumers. I am not too close to the trucking industry in India, however, from what I can see is that there has been a lot of electronic platforms that are coming up which can optimize truck utilization and there by bringing better costs efficiencies that can add value to the overall chain.

The Indian trucking industry still has got to go a long way to be able to perform like their counterparts in other more developed economies. A lot of the setback for this industry in India is still rampant bureaucratic processes the operators have to go thru. Further digitization on the part of the regulators will have a positive impact.

Do you think digitalization can permeate the fragmented logistics industry in India?

Digitalization can definitely bring together fragmented activities together in any business. Reduction of human intervention, especially in India, can make the processes very efficient and responsive adding better transactional efficiencies.

Do you think the introduction of mobile solutions, including GPS enabled longitude-latitude coordinates in fleet management, will revolutionize things and provide end-to-end visibility besides convenience in business?
Apps, GPS, etc., are today’s available tools that speed up transactions and also open up new markets for remote areas worldwide.

Geofencing facilitates quick and efficient access to areas where no proper addresses exist. It also allows people to track their shipments in real time.
Carriers as well as consumers benefit from this technology.

Box:
Ram Menen is a familiar name in the international air cargo industry thanks to his vision and unparalleled dedication at Emirates that helped transform it to become the world’s largest international cargo carrier.
After nearly 40 years in the air freight industry, Menen retired in June of 2013 as the divisional senior vice president cargo at Emirates SkyCargo. He was one of the original founding team of Emirates Airline and headed its cargo division since inception in October 1985.

An engineer from India, Menen began his career in aviation in 1976 at Kuwait Airways. He later moved to British Airways to head its cargo operations in Kuwait.

In 1984, he joined the Kuwaiti aviation group Alghanim Al Qutub Shipping Agencies, to set up and manage its airfreight-forwarding unit in Dubai. In 1985, Emirates then just starting, tapped him to lead its cargo division.
Under his leadership, Emirates spearheaded the conceptualisation and development of the LD-36 (AMF) type of ULD (Unit Load Device) which increased usable space on each lower deck pallet base by 33 percent. He also helped develop the cool dollies, extensively used at some airports to maintain the integrity of the cool chain on the ramp in hot climate.

Menen is also credited as one of the founding members of The International Air Cargo Association (TIACA), the international trade body representing the logistics and air freight sectors. He served as TIACA’s Vice President in 1993 and 1994 and as President, CEO and Chairman of the Board in 1995 and 1996, respectively. He continues to be involved with TIACA as a member of the Chairman’s Council.

He was also very active in IATA (International Air Transport Authority) and chaired the IATA Cargo Committee between 2008-2012. He also served as Vice President of CILT/UAE Chapter between 2008-2013.

Throughout his career in the air freight industry, Menen received numerous local and international awards.

In one of his interviews, Menen described his career in the industry “as an amazing ride” and “blessings one rarely gets.”

Oman air cargo leaping ahead with customized solutions

Contributions from Oman Air, as the national airline, to the economy of the Sultanate of Oman have been very significant and these are expected to show further growth. Each new destination started, adds to an already existing successful bilateral relations apart from the trade, business and tourism prospects. In addition to our online network, we work with almost 75 interline partners helping us extend our selling horizon to all continents in the world. -Mohammed Ali Al Musafir
Oman Air Senior Vice President, Commercial Cargo

Aviation connects people and business. In the Sultanate of Oman that fact is taken by the government to its core, investing heavily not just in planes, but also in infrastructure, technology and human resources.
Oman Air Cargo, cargo division of Oman Air, the national carrier of the Sultanate of Oman, which traces its roots to ground handling services in 1970 until it was officially established as an airline in 1993, is leaping ahead with customized solutions and bigger plans in a globally competitive industry that accounts for more than a third of the international trade.

Last year, the company posted a 38 percent increase in cargo volume compared to just 5 percent in 2016. It sees growth on the horizon this year with the first half of 2018 showing a 25 percent increase in business.
“Oman Air Cargo continues to be one of the most innovative and fastest growing cargo carriers in the world and in 2017 carried 87,830 tons of cargo,” said Oman Air Cargo’s Senior Vice President Mohammed Ali Al Musafir. “The main trade lanes driving business last year were from the Far East, the Indian subcontinent and Europe. But growth has also been helped by our newer services to Guangzhou, Manchester and Nairobi.”

Stimulating the economy

Apart from tourism, Oman’s aviation industry also plays an important role in creating jobs and business opportunities not just for the country but for companies and individual traders in various economies across and beyond the region as well.

Oman Air is one of the country’s biggest employers and it facilitates air transport solutions for traders and businesses that export and import food products, pharmaceuticals, perishables, machineries, equipment, among many others.

“Contributions from Oman Air, as the national airline, to the economy of the Sultanate of Oman have been very significant and these are expected to show further growth. Each new destination started, adds to an already existing successful bilateral relations apart from the trade, business and tourism prospects. In addition to our online network, we work with almost 75 interline partners which helps us extend our selling horizon to all continents across the globe,” Al Musafir pointed out.

Oman Air currently has a fleet of four Boeing 787-8, four 787-9 Dreamliner’s, six Airbus 330-300s, four Airbus 330-200s, five Boeing 737-900s, 21 Boeing 737-800, four Embraer 175s and three 737 MAX. But by the end of 2018, the airline will have taken delivery of five new MAX aircraft and three 787-9s. And by 2022, Oman Air’s total fleet size is expected to be around 70, Al Musafir disclosed.

The veteran executive who has more than 30 years of experience in the aviation industry says Oman Air has major plans to further grow its freight sales share in the region by competing better with other carriers.
“The airline has major plans to grow its cargo share in the GCC states and compete against carriers within the region. Oman Air Cargo is one of the fastest and most innovative cargo carriers in the world with a much improved infrastructure at its Muscat Hub–the new cargo facility has certainly expedited this process,” Al Musafir shared.
“With the new and improved facilities at its hub, Oman Air Cargo is working on launching specialised products with customised solutions for its customers. During the end of 2017, we upgraded our cargo reservations and operating system by implementing ‘SmartKargo’ which has helped us in simplifying the booking and reservation process providing real time updates on shipment tracking to our customers,” he added.

Part of that plan also calls for investing on new technologies that will facilitate easier and seamless transactions for Oman Air Cargo customers for better transparency and transhipment of cargoes.

“Going forward we will be working on the implementation of e-AWBs within our network starting with specific lanes. Automation of business process and information transparency to our customers is one of our prime objectives and we continuously work towards improvising on it,” Al Musafir noted.

New facilities

To complement Muscat Inter-national Airport’s new passenger terminal, Oman Air also upgraded its cargo facility and operations.

“The facility features a 22,780 square-metre, air-conditioned warehouse with the capacity to handle 350,000 tonnes of cargo per annum – a substantially larger capacity than the previous cargo facility. The new facility includes 367 pallet or 734 container configurations for Unit Load Device (ULD) storage over three levels, as well as 2,208 Euro Pallet Positions – all serviced by Elevating Transfer Vehicles (ETV),” Al Musafir shared.
New bays for trucks and other vehicles involved in hauling and transporting cargoes have also been built for easier movement.

“Accompanying these are dedicated bays that can accommodate three ‘Code F Freighter’ Aircraft, along with 25 40-foot truck parking bays (or 50 20-foot truck bays), as well as 400 car parking bays and 34 truck docks,” said Al Musafir.

The facility also features Bulk Cold Rooms (consisting of 3 chillers, 2 freezers, and 1 ambient room), and ULD Cold Rooms with 28 airline pallet positions in the chiller rooms, and 8 airline pallet positions in the freezer rooms. In addition to this, there are Scissor Lift & ULD Bypass Lane facilities, as well as X-ray machines for joining and trans-shipment cargo screening.

A new Live Animal center with state-of-the-art features has also been created at the new terminal to ensure that animals are given the best possible treatment while under their care.

“In addition, the facility has a 2,500 square-metre Live Animal Centre, a 228 square-metre Dangerous Goods Room (DGR) with the capacity to handle 90 skids and loose cartons, and a Vulnerable Goods Cage with 264 pallet positions. The Diplomatic Room, Human Remains Room, Radioactive Room and Strong Room make up the remainder of the facility’s handling units,” said Al Musafir.

“The entire facility is supported by 24-hour services for import and export cargo, and its automated cargo system for documentation and warehousing, export cargo acceptance, and imports cargo delivery,” he added.
Improvements also extend to Oman Air Cargo’s service level in terms of speed, efficiency and safety.
“Service level has been one of the key factors in the continuous growth and success of Oman Air Cargo. Over the years, we have been able to improvise our services and keep our commitments to our customers. We follow the principle of ‘under promise and over delivery’ which helped us gain the trust of our customers in Oman Air Cargo product over the years,” Al Musafir noted.

“The move to our new cargo facility at our hub will bring a lot of enhancements to Oman Air Cargo product in terms of speed, efficiency and safety which we will share with our customers and industry partners as we progress.”

Resilient to Challenges

Al Musafir said the air freight industry is primarily driven by speed, thus, the length of time cargoes are processed at airports greatly affect the movements of goods. And so does the fluctuating global oil prices which affect cargo sales volume and freight prices.

“Air freight is primarily driven by speed and one of the traditional and major challenges for air freight industry has been the lengthy process at airports in moving shipments. There has been changes and improvement over the years with implementation of e-freight, however, we still have a long way to go as majority of the airports are yet to upgrade their practices and implement e-freight procedures,” said Al Musafir.

Nevertheless, he believes “air cargo still remains both time-efficient and cost-effective for businesses compared to other modes of transport and as an airline we do all we can to ensure that any decisions we take do not negatively impact our customers and stakeholders.”

“As a business, we are also very keen to use the growth of e-commerce to support the business wherever possible by using Muscat as a distribution HUB and Oman Air Cargo as the preferred carrier for e-commerce business within the region,” said Al Musafir.

Bullish outlook

Majority of goods that Oman Air ship are considered general freight but it is very confident on increasing the sales volumes in terms of high value products such as pharma-ceuticals, valuables, dangerous goods, etc., with the opening of its new hub.

“Majority of the business currently carried on Oman Air Cargo is general freight with more than 80% of the business being transit. Having said that, around 7% of our business consists of perishables and expected to increase with the introduction of new stations in Africa such as Casablanca which started in July 2018 and as we expand our network going forward,” said Al Musafir.

The cargo executive said the company’s new facilities will enable them to “cater to the requirements of temperature control and pharmaceutical customers.”

“We can carry temperature control shipments in intact units during transit using the ETV system which can store ULDs in specific temperature requirements. We are also working with the local authorities and handler at Muscat to increase the reefer options at airport i.e. ramp to the warehouse and vice-versa. This will help us in providing end to end cool chain solution to our pharmaceutical customers with the required certifications such as GDP and CEIV,” he explained.

In June of this year, Oman Air began serving the Istanbul route which also proved positive for its cargo department.

“The launch of the Istanbul service, which commenced in June, has been a great success for Oman Air Cargo. The new route between Oman and Turkey will also continue to strengthen bilateral relations between the two countries, enhance the trading and tourism prospects, as well asenables Oman Air Cargo customers to have direct routing options for their business needs between Oman and Turkey,” said Al Musafir.

The Markets
Middle East
Located within the Middle East region, bilateral trade relations are at the heart of Oman Air’s business and with multiple frequencies per day, it helps our customers move cargo volumes within the region. The airline currently operates direct international flights from Muscat to Abu Dhabi, Bahrain, Doha, Dubai, Jeddah, Riyadh, Dammam, Madina, and Kuwait, in the Gulf region as well as Cairo, Amman, Tehran, Mashhad, Najaf, Zanzibar and Dar Es Salaam within the wider Middle East/Africa region.

Due to location proximity, which brings with it many advantages and volume of business traded, Oman Air Cargo is placed strongly in this region. Being strategically placed from a geographical perspective, our sea-air product, using Salalah and Sohar Ports as sea-air hubs, is a great advantage to our customers to connect their business from the Indian Subcontinent and Far East stations to Europe and US, saving time and transportation costs.

Europe

Oman Air currently flies to seven key business and finance hubs in Europe—London, Manchester, Milan, Munich, Frankfurt, Paris and Zurich. Choosing to fly to these locations has proven very fruitful for us and we are keen to build on this. In addition, the airline recently launched a direct flight from Muscat to Turkey. Our Pan-European trucking network connects to more than 70 destinations within Europe though our online gateways.

India and Pakistan

Flying to 11 destinations in India and three in Pakistan, it is undoubtedly clear to recognise that these are key destinations to Oman Air.
In 2017, the Sultanate of Oman and the Republic of India agreed to increase the number of flights between the two countries through an open sky air service agreement and this decision has been mutually beneficial for trade partnership. What’s more, the trade and business relations extend to destinations within the Indian Subcontinent such as Sri Lanka and Nepal.

Africa

Africa is certainly a growing market for Oman Air. We are constantly reviewing the network with the aim of expanding our routes across Africa. The airline already flies to Cairo in Egypt, Nairobi in Kenya, Zanzibar, Dar Es Salaam in Tanzania and as of 1 July, we now fly four times a week to Morocco’s Casablanca’ offering yet more choices to our customers and opened another door for bilateral trade between Oman and Morocco. Our network and planning team is working hard to assess the viability of other new routes. For instance, Khartoum in Sudan is being investigated thoroughly as a potential additional route to serve.

Mohammed Ali Al Musafir

With rich and valuable experience in the aviation industry spanning over 30 years, Mohammed Ali Al Musafir is looked upon as one of the most influential and knowledgeable movers in the industry.
Working for Oman Air since 1996 or for the past 21 years, Al Musafir has witnessed the company’s growth from a narrow body operating regional carrier to a wide body operating intercontinental carrier.
In 2016, he took the responsibility of leading Oman Air Cargo and has since been instrumental in turning around its business to a robust one, posting 38th percent positive growth in 2017 from merely 5 percent in 2016.
As the head of Oman Air Cargo, Al Musafir is also highly regarded for his astute business sense, nourishing talents and keeping a healthy work environment, sharing his success with his young and well experienced team members who have contributed to the company’s growth, year-on-year, focusing on improving the quality of service to their customers.

Aborn & Co. names Jill Clifford as president

Aborn & Co., a leader in managed freight solutions and transportation strategy, recently announced that Jill Clifford has been named as President of the company.

Clifford has over 25 years of leadership experience in a variety of high acting roles with Aborn & Co. She has handled nearly every job at the company, including business development, marketing, accounting, and customer relations. Her depth of organizational and industry knowledge along with her proven ability to build high-performance teams will be invaluable to the company’s onward growth and success.

“Jill has been a key part of the company for nearly 25 years. She’s played a vital role in every aspect of the business, starting with client service, then on to operations, and most recently, sales,” said company founder and CEO, Russ Aborn. “Our clients and everyone she’s worked with both inside and outside of the company think the world of her. I have always been enormously impressed with her dedication to our company, and most importantly to our clients.”

Clifford assumes her new position during a period of accelerated growth for the company, which has doubled its staffing over the past 3 months. Jill was responsible for expanding her own team with the key additions of Director of Operations Chris Peckham and Director of Marketing Timothy Dooner, as the company continues to add strength to its leadership talent. She’s also enhanced the organizations account management and data analytics teams with the hiring of Caleb Johnson and Nathan Shnipes.

“I’m excited to accept this role with the company and see nothing but a bright road ahead. Aborn & Co. will continue to build upon a foundation we’ve laid over the last thirty years,” said Clifford. “With transportation rates exceeding record highs and capacity problems impacting service, this year has been one of the most challenging I’ve seen for shippers in my career. Now, more than ever, there is a need for intelligent and strategic freight managed solutions. I’m confident that we will meet those challenges and offer our current and future clients our best-in-class managed freight solutions.”

FlightSafety International names Hector Zarate as interim president

FlightSafety International announces that Hector Zarate has been named interim President of FlightSafety Services Corporation. He replaced Ron Ladnier who retired at the end of June.

“Hector has an in-depth understanding of government and military training requirements and the knowledge, experience, and leadership skills required to assume this important responsibility,” said Ray Johns, Executive Vice President. “We thank Ron for his outstanding service and many significant contributions to our success. He has helped to further enhance the capabilities of FlightSafety Services by incorporating the latest technical advances in training and simulation into the products and services we offer. All of us with FlightSafety wish Ron all the best in retirement.”

In his new role, Hector assumes responsibility for all FlightSafety Services Corporation operations, which provides turnkey aircrew training systems (ATS) and contractor logistics support (CLS) to Customers worldwide. This includes military aircrew training, advanced technology training devices, support for computer-based workstations and support for simulators at 15 U.S. military bases. Programs include the KC-46 ATS, T38 CLS, KC-10 ATS, HC-130P and MV-22/V-22 Osprey CLS.

Hector joined FlightSafety as an Instructor and Maintenance Manager in 1986 and has held a number of positions with increasing responsibilities since then. They include serving as a Systems Engineer, Senior Systems Engineering Manager, C-5 Deputy Program Manager, and most recently as Program Manager for the KC-46.

He holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Electrical Engineering from the University of Delaware and an A.A.S in Computer Engineering from Delaware Technical College. Hector is a member of the Project Management Institute and The International Council of Systems Engineering.

FlightSafety International is the world’s premier professional aviation training company and supplier of flight simulators, visual systems and displays to commercial, government and military organizations. The company provides more than 1.4 million hours of training each year to pilots, technicians and other aviation professionals from 167 countries and independent territories. FlightSafety operates the world’s largest fleet of advanced full-flight simulators at Learning Centers and training locations in the United States, Australia, Brazil, Canada, China, France, Japan, the Netherlands, Norway, South Africa and the United Kingdom.

Panalpina appoints Christian Wurst as CEO for Europe

Panalpina has appointed Christian Wurst as its new regional CEO for Europe, bringing extensive experience of the freight forwarding and logistics industry with him.

German-born Wurst, who will join Panalpina in February 2019, has more than 20 years of international experience in the freight forwarding and logistics industry and a broad knowledge of European markets and cultures.

The 45-year-old has previously worked for RWTUV, Wincanton and DB Schenker, and in his new role will be based in Frankfurt, taking responsibility for the European region.

Panalpina CEO, Stefan Karlen says, “Christian Wurst is a distinguished industry expert and strong leader. He will strengthen our Executive Committee and help us reach our ambitious growth targets for 2020.”

Wurst holds a PhD in business administration from the University of Kassel and an MA in business administration from WHU – Koblenz Otto Beisheim Graduate School of Management.

Matthew West named EGLN’s new managing director

Following the merger of Elite Global Logistics Network (EGLN) and the WCA, Matthew West has been named EGLN’s managing director.

West, WCA’s director of North America is an experienced director with more than six years of global logistics experience through leadership at WCA.

The two networks merged in October 2017, and West will work closely with EGLN president and founder, Roy Stapleton to grow the network.

Stapleton describes West’s appointment as a “no-brainer”, saying: “His longstanding experience as a WCA network leader is exactly what we need to expand the group and integrate into WCA’s existing model.”

He adds: “What makes Matthew so valuable is his diversity of skills. He has sales experience, is great with the members and knows his way around WCA’s robust database.”

IBA appoints new director of asset management

Leading aviation consultancy IBA has appointed Peter Walter as Director – Asset Management.

Walter joins IBA from Bellinger Asset Management where he was Head of Origination and Client Relations EMEA. He will oversee IBA’s asset management growth plan as it seeks to expand its breadth of expertise and broaden its range of services in line with emerging global opportunities.

Prior to Bellinger, Walter worked as Fleet Planning Director for Flybe and also spent over 10 years in aviation finance roles at Santander and Alliance & Leicester.

In his previous roles Walter acquired many years’ experience across aviation transactions and asset management strategies looking at new aircraft with top tier airlines, higher yield asset risks, remarketing, leasing and mid-life to part-out transactions with a total value of over $3.5 billion.

Walter joins IBA as it builds on its established technical and appraiser expertise to develop its asset management and servicer business and to provide independent advice – particularly in relation to the risks and opportunities around the asset, lease returns and scenarios for remarketing and repossessions.

Phil Seymour, CEO of IBA comments, “Peter possesses a wealth of experience and knowledge of numerous funding structures and transaction procedures across many different asset types. He has an outstanding track record in driving innovation and delivering for customers and I am confident he will provide our clients with the very best commercial insight for their assets whilst helping IBA’s asset management team to develop further and achieve its full potential”.

Peter Walter adds, “I’m delighted to be joining IBA and contributing to our ambitious growth plans. I have been a client for many years and have always been impressed by IBA’s depth of knowledge and insight. Their burgeoning reputation is evidenced by winning the Appraiser of the Year Award for 2018 and I am very much looking forward to developing the asset servicer business, providing a link between the asset owners, financiers and investment communities and IBA’s years of market knowledge and technical expertise.”

Celebrating 30 years of experience and a portfolio of over 100 aircraft, IBA is ideally placed to manage existing aviation portfolios or support the establishment of new platforms. IBA’s combination of independence, breadth of expertise and depth of data provides aircraft owners with premier asset management services capable of supporting their investments through each stage of the cycle starting with pre-transaction analysis, fleet servicing, remarketing or transitioning.

Dassault Systèmes unveils ‘Reinvent the Sky’ at Farnborough Airshow

Dassault Systèmes recently announced at the Farnborough International Airshow the launch of ‘Reinvent the Sky,’ its new industry solution experience for aerospace and defense. Based on Dassault Systèmes’ 3DEXPERIENCE platform, “Reinvent the Sky” accelerates the development of light aircraft and unmanned aerial vehicles, from concept to working prototype. Dassault Systèmes is enabling startups, new entrants and small original equipment manufacturers to invent sustainable air mobility experiences that will transform the aviation market in today’s Industry Renaissance.

“Electric aircraft will have a transformative impact on the 21st century. We are developing an electric autonomous vertical takeoff and landing vehicle that will make commuting fast and enjoyable,” said JoBen BeVirt, Founder, Joby Aviation. “A cloud-based solution affords our company access to the same tools used by much larger OEMs. We also add capabilities as our needs change. With Dassault Systèmes’ ‘Reinvent the Sky,’ our focus is on developing the best prototype possible, not on managing IT hardware.”

Virtual universes are offering new ways to invent, learn and produce that extend the concept of mobility beyond the automotive sector. In aviation, they lower the barriers to market entry for smaller innovators creating autonomous electric flying taxis, delivery drones and other sustainable air mobility solutions for passengers, goods and smart cities. ‘Reinvent the Sky’ cuts the development time of a first prototype in half while minimizing costs. These are key factors in accelerating the overall innovation process to deliver a product to market.

“The demand for light aircraft and multi-mission drones is expected to reach $15 billion by 2020 and there are at least 450 land- and air-based mobility projects underway in the world. Small OEMs must adhere to tight timeframes to gain a competitive advantage, meet investor expectations and showcase their unique value,” said David Ziegler, Vice President, Aerospace & Defense Industry, Dassault Systèmes. “‘Reinvent the Sky’ helps them to break away from the pack. These small OEMs can achieve type-certification on time, reduce certification costs, plan lean manufacturing processes, and improve performance.”

Tailored for product innovation by startups, new entrants and small OEMs, “Reinvent the Sky” offers cloud-based, scalable access to digital design and simulation applications in a single, secure, standards-based environment, with quick and easy deployment. Multi-discipline teams can collaborate in real time to define requirements ensure traceability from initial concept to manufacturing, access and reuse common processes and parts, and make decisions earlier to reduce errors.

Vistair Systems unveil major upgrade for DocuNet

Vistair Systems, a leader in the development of aviation management software, has released a major upgrade to its document management system, DocuNet, with the introduction of its enhanced Compliance and Regulation Matrix feature.

DocuNet’s Compliance and Regulation Matrix has been developed to provide clients with enhanced usability and improved linkage functionality to support regulation tagging and tracking. This ensures operators are able to swiftly confirm and comply with their regulatory requirements.

As part of the upgrade, client users now benefit from sophisticated regulation tagging within their operating manuals, providing direct linkage to both global and local regulatory documents such as EASA Air Ops, IOSA Standards or Continuing Airworthiness Regulation manual.

This new development delivers significant time and operational efficiencies to users and is able to provide total assurance that the latest global and local regulations are reflected across an operator’s manual suite via a single interface.

Currently being rolled out to its global client base the feedback has been uniformly positive. British Airways, TUI, Qantas and Air Arabia have all estimated that the potential time saving and assistance with completing the IOSA involves a reduction in ‘weeks’, which will have a dramatic effect upon operational efficiency. In the past it is estimated that a Technical Pilot could take up to 10 days ensuring manual compliance for such a task.

Additional features such as regulation-tracking functionality, comprehensive workflow records, and audit trails, makes it easy and simple for operators to understand the implications of changes in the regulatory environment. Of importance, there is the additional ability to demonstrate to regulatory bodies how their manuals and procedures are used to promote compliance in their organisation.

David Hedley, CTO at Vistair comments: “The functionality of our DocuNet technology continues to advance at a rapid pace. Innovation and developments are key, and we are driven by both customer and industry requirements which ensures that the system is continually refined to perfectly meet operational needs. This latest version of the compliance matrix allows airlines to successfully and effectively demonstrate compliance within their operations manuals and at speed should it be necessary to do so.”

Combining both software and service, DocuNet is the aviation industry’s leading airline document management solution, capable of delivering your operational library and all mission-critical content across all platforms, including complex XML manuals from Airbus and Boeing as well as Bombardier and Embraer fleets.

Boeing invests in Digital Alloys’ 3D printing technology

Boeing, through its investment subsidiary HorizonX Ventures, participated in the $12.9 million series B funding round of Digital Alloys, a Massachusetts-based additive manufacturing company.

Digital Alloys’ Joule printing technology can rapidly combine multiple metals into each part to enhance thermal, electrical, magnetic and mechanical properties. The process allows metals such as titanium and high-temperature alloys to be 3D-printed for parts that could be used on Boeing products.

“Our investment in Digital Alloys will help Boeing produce metal structural aerospace parts faster and at higher volume than ever before,” said Brian Schettler, managing director of Boeing HorizonX Ventures. “By investing in companies with emerging additive manufacturing technologies, we aim to strengthen Boeing’s expertise and help accelerate the design and manufacture of 3D-printed parts to transform production systems and products.”

This is at least the fourth 3D-printing startup Boeing has supported this year through HorizonX, after Assembrix, Morf3D and Oerlikon.

Formed in January 2017, Digital Alloys’ patented printing approach aims for a cost and time reduction over powder-based systems and delivers higher resolution than other wire-based 3D-printing techniques.

“Partnering with Boeing will make us a smarter, stronger company,” said Digital Alloys CEO Duncan McCallum. “We are committed to enabling Boeing and other leading manufacturers to create valuable new products quickly and at less cost by incorporating metal 3D printing into their production.”

Additive manufacturing generates value for Boeing by reducing the cost and time needed to design, build and deliver products. Boeing currently has more than 60,000 3D-printed parts flying on space, commercial and defense products.

The series B funding round in which Boeing HorizonX Ventures participated was led by G20 Ventures, with additional participation by Lincoln Electric and Khosla Ventures.