flydubai turns 15

Dubai, UAE: Dubai’s low-cost-carrier, flydubai, turned 15 this month, marked with a gamechanger journey that altered for the better the business landscape of traveling and aviation in the Middle East and beyond.

Commenting on the occasion of the airline’s 15th anniversary, HH Sheikh Ahmed bin Saeed Al Maktoum, Chairman of flydubai, said: “Today, on the occasion of the 15th anniversary of flydubai, I would like to congratulate the team at flydubai on the success they have achieved since their inaugural flight to Beirut on 01 June 2009. flydubai has been inspired by the success and ambition of Dubai, which has been and continues to be a key contributor to the success of the airline. The vision of the leadership of the UAE has been a guiding principle; enabling the airline to grow, expand and adapt to the changing market requirements and further support trade and tourism.”

“flydubai has become a key player in the aviation industry in the UAE and in the region, and a major contributor to Dubai’s socio-economic development. Looking to the future, I am confident of the further growth and success of the airline in line with Dubai Government’s efforts to further enhance Dubai’s position as a leading global aviation hub,” he added.

From its home in Dubai, flydubai has created a network of more than 125 destinations served by a fleet of 87 aircraft. Since commencing operations in June 2009, flydubai has been committed to removing barriers to travel, creating free flows of trade and tourism and enhancing connectivity between different cultures across its ever-expanding network.

flydubai has marked its journey with a number of milestones:

An expanding network: Created a network of more than 125 destinations in 58 countries across Africa, Central Asia, the Caucasus, Central and South-East Europe, the GCC and the Middle East, the Indian Subcontinent, and South-East Asia.

Serving underserved markets: Opened more than 90 new routes that did not previously have direct air links to Dubai or were not served by a UAE national carrier from Dubai.

An efficient single fleet-type: Operates a single fleet-type of 87 Boeing 737 aircraft and includes: 29 Next-Generation Boeing 737-800, 55 Boeing 737 MAX 8 and 03 Boeing 737 MAX 9 aircraft.

Enhancing connectivity: Carried more than 100 million passengers since it began operations in 2009.

ECS Group’s Squair: One million AWBs and Growing

Paris, France: ECS Group’s Squair team verified its one millionth AWB in April, a remarkable milestone since this service was launched in March 2020

Squair offers a crucial and unique back-office service to airlines and GSAs, enabling them to concentrate fully on tasks of higher value for customers. The speed of industry adoption is fanning further expansion.

Squair’s VERIFY offers AWB verification and data capture service as a stand-alone ability. The teams process AWBs completely digitally, following up on billing queries where required, and consolidate and check cargo sales reports.

This centralized process optimization means lower operational costs for customers, and results in fewer Charges Correction Advices (CCA) and disputes. ECS Group is the sole GSSA to offer this as a stand-alone service, which has rapidly gained traction in an air cargo industry otherwise faced with long-term resource challenges.

“When Squair’s VERIFY product was launched in 2020, around 50,000 AWBs were processed in the first year. Today, our team handles that same amount in just a single month,” says Dimitri Arnaudin, Managing Director at Squair. “36 international clients located across America, Europe, Asia and Oceania now benefit from the expertise and reliability of our service, and our KPIs clearly show the weight of workload that no longer rests on their shoulders.”

Those KPIs reveal that 95% of all AWBs are processed autonomously. Less than 5% of the AWBs verified generate the request for clarification from Squair’s customers so that data capture can be completed, and less than 1% of AWB verifications result in a CCA and change in invoice to customers, proving an overall reliability of more than 99%.

Rapid growth in customer numbers led to the launch of a second Squair team in India in February last year, complementing the existing team in Bulgaria and opening the market to Far-East customers. By the end of 2023, Squair India had grown to a team of 14 people. “We now have 16 people working, and the plan is to keep growing the team up to 23 by the end of this year,” Arnaudin details.

In sync with ECS Group’s strategy and values, Squair promotes diversity and gender equity. “To date, 57% of our team members are women, and at management level the ratio is 60% female,” he reveals.

The teams also benefit from ECS Group’s strong emphasis on digitalization and continuous process improvement. “Squair is a digital native and sustainable company. Since the beginning, we’ve made processes paperless. Historically, AWB verification was done through printed AWB copies. Squair works with 100% electronic versions and its processes are supported using entirely cloud-based IT architecture,” Arnaudin concludes.

“Squair’s growth strategy is fine-tuned to ensure continued consistent compliance with our customers’ SLAs. We currently operate out of two centers: one in Europe, one in Asia,” Adrien Thominet, Executive Chairman of ECS Group, explains. “Within weeks of inaugurating our India office last year, we began services in APAC, marking our first step in the region. Since then, we have attracted more data capture activities for this region, including Japan in July 2023, and Australia and New Zealand in December—all adding to our solid customer base in Western Europe and Northern America.”

Saudia Technic welcomes Saudia Cargo Headquarters within its MRO Village

Riyadh, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia: An exciting new collaboration was forged during the 3rd edition of the Future Aviation Forum in Riyadh between Saudia Technic and Saudia Cargo.

A signed agreement between the parties will establish Saudia Cargo’s new headquarters at Saudia Technic’s Maintenance, Repair, and Overhaul (MRO) Village, located at King Abdulaziz International Airport in Jeddah.

The five-year agreement, set to take effect before the end of September 2025, will enable Saudia Cargo to lease and operate 6000 square meters of space within Saudia Technic’s largest MRO Village in the MENA region.

The CEO of Saudia Technic, Captain Fahd H. Cynndy, said: “We are delighted to collaborate with Saudia Cargo and welcome them to Saudia Technic’s MRO Village. We are not just establishing a contractual agreement; we’re embracing a future characterized by partnership and ingenuity. This strategic partnership highlights our steadfast dedication to quality, heralding a new era in optimization, expansion, and customer-centric solutions within the aviation industry.”

This newly formed alliance represents a wealth of opportunities for both parties, leveraging their respective expertise to optimize resource utilization, achieve cost savings through shared facilities, and facilitate knowledge sharing and skill transfer between air cargo logistics and aircraft maintenance care services.

The CEO of Saudia Cargo, Teddy Zebitz, celebrated the announcement commenting: “At Saudia Cargo, we are thrilled to embark on a new chapter of collaboration and innovation as we relocate our headquarters to join Saudia Technic’s MRO village. This strategic move not only reinforces our commitment to operational excellence but also paves the way for synergies that will drive efficiency, growth, and customer satisfaction. Together, we look forward to shaping the future of air cargo and aircraft maintenance services with a united vision and shared expertise.”

The agreement signed between the two parties will play a significant role in fostering a culture of
innovation and cross-functional teamwork, driving continuous improvement, and enhancing
collaboration and synergy across Saudia Group’s subsidiaries.

WestJet Cargo Strengthens International Network with Resumed Calgary to Paris-CDG Service

Alberta, Canada: WestJet Cargo announced the strengthening of its flights between Calgary and Paris Charles de Gaulle (CDG) with 5 to 7 flights a week, highlighting the airline’s commitment to expanding its footprint in Europe and enhancing service efficiency through strategic hubs.

Paris CDG acts as a central hub, enabling WestJet Cargo to connect with various destinations across Europe using multiple modes of transport. This connectivity is bolstered by the strong partnership with ECS Group, whose expertise in logistics and network capabilities has been vital in overcoming transportation challenges and optimizing cargo routes. The route supports a diverse cargo base with a payload capacity of 18 tons, feeding and de-feeding various locations in France and beyond.

Kirsten de Bruijn, Executive Vice President of Cargo at WestJet, highlighted the strategic developments: “Our expansion into European markets through the Paris hub is a key part of our growth strategy. ECS Group’s technological support and network have been indispensable in enhancing our service capabilities, allowing us to pursue new opportunities in additional European countries.”

Jean Ceccaldi, Managing Director of Aero Cargo France – subsidiary of ECS Group, commented on the technology integration: “We’re proud to support WestJet Cargo with our Quantum e-quotation system and Apollo business intelligence platform. These tools enable efficient management of cargo capacities and market analysis, supporting WestJet Cargo’s goals of technological excellence and enhanced service delivery.”

The commitment to sustainability also plays a role in this partnership, with both companies working to integrate sustainable practices into their operations, reflecting their dedication to environmental stewardship.

As WestJet Cargo continues to grow, the airline remains focused on providing high-quality, efficient, and technologically advanced cargo services to meet the dynamic needs of its global customers.

Air Canada partners with SATS for its long-awaited return to Singapore

Singapore: Air Canada has awarded a passenger, ramp, and cargo handling contract to SATS as it prepares to resume flights to Singapore’s Changi International Airport for the first time in over 30 years.

The airline launched four Boeing 787-9 flights a week connecting Vancouver and Singapore on 4 April 2024.

SATS currently handles all the Star Alliance partners in Singapore, enabling Air Canada the benefit of seamless passenger and cargo connections beyond Singapore to other key airports across Southeast Asia. The new route will provide the only non-stop service connecting Canada and Singapore.

The new contract also extends Air Canada’s global partnership with SATS and Worldwide Flight Services (WFS), a member of the SATS Group.

“We are delighted to welcome Air Canada back to Singapore and proud that the airline has chosen to extend its partnership with SATS Group into Southeast Asia. This is another significant business win for SATS Group at Changi Airport, reinforcing the good and longstanding partnership with Air Canada as a major customer of WFS. Air Canada and its customers will benefit from our combination of operational excellence and global network connectivity,” said Bob Chi, CEO, Gateway Services at SATS.

Qatar Airways Renews Partnership with UNHCR to Support Communities in Need

Doha, Qatar: Qatar Airways and UNHCR, the UN Refugee Agency, announced the renewal of their existing partnership to support the shipment of relief items to the most vulnerable refugees and internally displaced people worldwide.

The agreement was signed during a signing ceremony which included a speech by Qatar Airways Group Chief Executive Officer, Engr. Badr Mohammed Al-Meer, and the UN High Commissioner for Refugees, Mr. Filippo Grandi, in the presence of the UNHCR’s Representative to the State of Qatar, Mr. Ahmed Mohsen, and Qatar Airways, Chief Cargo Officer, Mr. Mark Drusch.

Engr. Badr Mohammed Al-Meer announced the two-year renewal of the partnership between Qatar Airways Group and UNHCR to provide humanitarian relief and assistance to those globally displaced.

For the past two years, Qatar Airways Cargo has been working closely with UNHCR to help provide humanitarian aid to better the lives of people worldwide. With this partnership, Qatar Airways will provide another 400 tons of free tonnage to UNHCR to help support them in the delivery of crucial aid supplies to those most in need.

To meet these goals, the award-winning airline utilizes the airline’s hub-and-spoke network out of Hamad International Airport, which was once again voted the ‘World’s Best Airport’ at the Skytrax Airport Awards this year. Additionally, the airline’s cargo division, which is the largest global air cargo operator in the world, has a robust fleet of 28 freighters with access to utilize a passenger fleet of over 200 aircraft, to a network of 70 freighter destinations and over 170 belly-hold destinations.

Qatar Airways Group Chief Executive Officer, Engr. Badr Mohammed Al-Meer, stated: “We are proud of what we have accomplished through our relationship with UNHCR over the past four years, which has helped support displaced communities around the world.” He added: “We look forward to the significant renewal of our partnership and in continuing to aid those who are most vulnerable. Qatar Airways Group is committed to fulfilling its humanitarian role by helping refugees and internally displaced people worldwide.”

Ahmed Mohsen, UNHCR’s Representative to the State of Qatar expressed his appreciation for the strategic humanitarian partnership with Qatar Airways and stated: “We highly appreciate this vital partnership and are proud to renew it for two additional years, which reflects Qatar Airways’ solid commitment towards supporting our humanitarian efforts, in terms of delivering essential relief items to those most in need.”

In addition, he praised Qatar Airway’s dedication over the past years, and said: “Since establishing our partnership with Qatar Airways in May 2020, amid a critical time during the emergence of Covid-19, Qatar Airways has lent us a helping hand to support refugees and displaced communities with vital relief items and medical supplies.”

By working with Qatar Airways, UNHCR has wide access to deliver life-saving support including water, medical care and hygiene materials to keep refugees, internally displaced people, and host community members safe around the world.

10 organizations unite to combat illegal wildlife trafficking in global supply chains

London: As wildlife crime continues to pose a significant threat to biodiversity, local and national economies, as well as national and international security, 10 leading organizations have joined forces to combat illegal wildlife trafficking by increasing awareness and vigilance across global supply chains.

The illicit trafficking of wildlife not only endangers countless species but also undermines the stability of ecosystems and jeopardizes the livelihoods of communities worldwide.
Maritime traffic, in particular, remains vulnerable to the trafficking of illegal goods. With the vast volume of trade carried by sea, the demand for faster, just-in-time deliveries and the increasing complexity of intermodal supply chains, criminals increasingly exploit weaknesses in global maritime supply chains to traffic contraband items.

Stepping up the fight against illegal wildlife trafficking, 10 international organisations have joined forces in an initiative led by the World Shipping Council, supported by United Nations Development Program, the Global Environment Facility, and the Global Wildlife Program, in collaboration with TRAFFIC and WWF, and co-sponsored by BIC, Global Shippers Forum, the International Fund for Animal Welfare and TT Club. Together, they have produced practical guidelines for all supply chain participants, with advice on measures to take, questions to ask to help identify criminal wildlife trade, and guidance on reporting suspicious activities. An accompanying “Red Flags” document serves as a daily reference for all individuals involved in the supply chain.

Combatting illegal wildlife trafficking is a shared responsibility that requires collaboration across international containerized supply chains. All parties involved, especially consolidators and those receiving goods for packing or carriage, must take proactive steps to prevent the shipment of illegal wildlife.

This includes verifying the legitimacy of cargoes, properly sealing shipments, conducting risk assessments, and promptly alerting national authorities to suspicious activities, as appropriate.
The Joint Industry Guidelines for Combatting Illegal Wildlife Trafficking are designed to support and further promote existing International Maritime Organization (IMO) guidelines by providing specific and actionable guidance to private sector stakeholders, and the IMO was kept informed through the development process. The joint industry guidelines have been submitted to the IMO for additional awareness and action.

Illegal wildlife trafficking is not only decimating endangered species worldwide but also fuelling organized crime and threatening global security. The coalition’s joint effort underscores the shared responsibility of all stakeholders in combatting illegal wildlife trafficking. By uniting their expertise and resources, these organizations demonstrate their commitment to protecting wildlife and promoting sustainable trade practices.

“We recognize the critical role that the maritime industry plays in combatting illegal wildlife trafficking. By working together to increase awareness across the supply chain of how to spot and address this criminal activity, we can prevent the exploitation of global maritime supply chains for criminal activities and protect endangered species worldwide,” says John Butler, President & CEO of the World Shipping Council.

Dr. Margaret Kinnaird, Wildlife Practice Lead of WWF, noted, “Wildlife crime often converges with transnational organized crime, such as trafficking in illicit drugs and arms. The Joint Industry Guidelines for Combatting Illegal Wildlife Trafficking aim to support stakeholders to address wildlife trafficking through their organizational processes. WWF is committed to continue fostering strong public-private partnerships through collective initiatives like this, to disrupt illegal trade and to disincentivize wildlife traffickers using the maritime sector supply chain to traffic illicit goods.”

Azzedine Downes, President and CEO of the International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW), said: “The illegal trade of wildlife across our oceans is immense, overlooked, and often under-reported. Given its scale and vulnerability, maritime traffic must be central to our collective efforts to mitigate the illegal wildlife trade. The creation of these guidelines is a fundamental first step in shining a spotlight on this part of the supply chain, giving us the building blocks for a solution that positively impacts animals across the globe. When we protect biodiversity, we protect ourselves, and today, we are one step closer to making this a reality.”

Philippa Dyson, Monitoring, Evaluation and Learning Manager at TRAFFIC, further added, “It’s estimated that 72-90% of illegally trafficked wildlife, including live animals, animal products, plants, and timber, is smuggled via the shipping industry, so the sector holds a responsibility to rise against transnational organized crime. By taking action with these resources, the sector will have far-reaching positive impacts for conversation and biodiversity growth at the same time as protecting livelihoods of local communities.”

DHL Aviation renews warehouse handling contract with WFS in France

Paris/Bonn/Singapore: DHL Aviation has signed a new multi-year contract with Worldwide Flight Services (WFS), a member of the SATS Group, to manage freight at its airport stations in France.

This renewed partnership extends the two companies’ 14-year relationship in France and demonstrates DHL’s continued confidence in WFS. DHL signed its first freight handling contract with WFS in Paris in 2010.

The DHL CDG HUB plays a key role in DHL’s air logistics strategy. Equipped with modern facilities and a next-generation shipment sorter, it guarantees the continuous and rapid handling of packages. Currently, the CDG HUB provides strategic air links with other DHL hub locations within and outside Europe, such as Leipzig and Brussels airports, as well as Casablanca, Morocco.

In addition, WFS manages onboard truck freight services for the CDG HUB from Leipzig and Brussels, as well as freight reception points for DHL Aviation throughout France, including Orly, Bordeaux, Lille, Lyon, Marseille, Nantes, Strasbourg, Toulouse, Basle-Mulhouse and Nice.

Laurent Bernard, VP Cargo France at WFS, explains: “DHL is a significant customer of WFS in Paris and across our network in France. We have a strong partnership and this extension to our warehouse contract clearly shows our service performance satisfies DHL’s high standards. Maintaining this contract is very important to our business in France and helps to demonstrate WFS’ capabilities to DHL for wider partnership growth across our global network in the future.”

“We are proud to give continuity to an operational and business partnership that has worked well for years and with mutual satisfaction. We would like to thank John Batten (CEO EMEAA at WFS) and his entire workgroup of professionals for the quality work done so far and even more for the better work we will do in the future,” Filippo Capogreco, VP DHL Aviation, added.

Etihad Cargo and Astral Aviation celebrate inaugural flight strengthening Abu Dhabi-Nairobi connection

Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates: Etihad Cargo, the cargo and logistics arm of Etihad Airways, in partnership with Astral Aviation, a leading cargo airline with extensive African network coverage, completed the inaugural flight from Nairobi, Kenya, to Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates, on 21 March 2024.

This flight marked the commencement of a promising collaboration following the Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) signed between the two carriers, aimed at expanding Etihad Cargo’s reach into the African market.

The inaugural flight was strategically timed to accommodate the increased demand for flowers, demonstrating the synergy between Etihad Cargo’s global reach and Astral Aviation’s strong African network. The successful operation underscored the partnership’s potential to enhance cargo capacity and offer efficient logistics solutions, particularly for time-sensitive shipments such as perishable goods.

Under the MOU, which will see Astral Aviation operating more flights to the UAE’s capital, supported by the UAE’s national carrier, Etihad Cargo and Astral Aviation have committed to leveraging their combined networks, expertise, and logistics capabilities to enhance cargo services between the UAE and Africa. This partnership is a testament to both airlines’ commitment to providing innovative and customer-centric solutions, ensuring high-quality service across their operations.

Following the success of the inaugural flight, Astral Aviation will resume weekly operations from Abu Dhabi starting 28 March 2024. This regular service is anticipated to further strengthen trade links between the UAE and Africa, catering to a wide range of cargo needs and fostering economic growth in both regions.

Stanislas Brun, Vice President Cargo of Etihad Cargo, said: “The successful inaugural flight from Nairobi to Abu Dhabi is just the beginning of Etihad Cargo’s ambitious journey with Astral Aviation. Together, Etihad Cargo and Astral Aviation will offer air cargo solutions that cater to the dynamic needs of partners and customers, especially in the fast-growing African market.”

Wilson Chan, Senior Vice President – Freezone Cargo & Logistics of Abu Dhabi Airports, said: “Expanding cargo operations to and from Zayed International Airport is a key component of our plan to ensure Abu Dhabi continues to strengthen its global standing as an air cargo hub. From state-of-the-art cooling facilities capable of safely transporting temperature-controlled goods and pharmaceuticals, to a significant increase in operational capacity, Zayed International Airport is helping to foster greater trade between Abu Dhabi and the world. This inaugural flight, and the commencement of weekly flights to Nairobi, is further evidence of the important commercial and business ties Abu Dhabi Airports, and our partners Etihad Airways and Astral Aviation, are helping to facilitate.”

Sanjeev Gadhia, CEO of Astral Aviation, said: “The partnership between Etihad Cargo and Astral Aviation marks a significant milestone in trade between Africa and Abu Dhabi, as the new flight will enable the efficient transportation of perishables including flowers, fresh fruits, vegetables and meat from Astral’s hubs in Nairobi and Johannesburg into Etihad’s Abu Dhabi hub and onto their network. On the return, the freighter will carry cargo from Etihad Cargo’s network in Asia, the USA, and Europe into Astral’s Intra African network, which will result in new opportunities for our respective clients.”

In addition to the weekly flights launched in partnership with Astral Aviation, Etihad Cargo will provide additional belly capacity to its partners and customers via daily passenger flights to Nairobi from 1 May 2024. Etihad Cargo also operates a weekly freighter service that connects Nairobi to Amsterdam via the carrier’s Abu Dhabi hub.

Honeywell Technology to power the world’s first commercial-scale Liquid Organic Hydrogen Carrier Project

CHARLOTTE, North Carolina–ENEOS, a leading energy company in Japan, will develop the world’s first commercial-scale Liquid Organic Hydrogen Carrier (LOHC) project using Honeywell’s solution at multiple sites.

Honeywell said the LOHC solution enables the long-distance transportation of clean hydrogen and can help meet the growing requirements for hydrogen use across various industries by leveraging existing refining assets and infrastructure. The project supports Honeywell’s alignment of its portfolio to three compelling megatrends: automation, the future of aviation and energy transition.

“With more cost-effective long-distance transport, our Liquid Organic Hydrogen Carrier provides a method of more closely matching international supply and demand for hydrogen which enables hydrogen to play a critical role in the energy mix as we move toward lower-carbon economies,” said Ken West, president and CEO of Honeywell Energy and Sustainability Solutions. “By providing solutions to help overcome the challenges of hydrogen transportation, Honeywell is supporting ENEOS in transitioning to a hydrogen-powered future.”

This is one of multiple hydrogen transportation projects on which Honeywell and ENEOS are collaborating. In the Honeywell LOHC solution, hydrogen gas is combined chemically through the Honeywell Toluene Hydrogenation process into methylcyclohexane (MCH) – a convenient liquid carrier – compatible with existing infrastructure.

The hydrogen at these sites will be exported – in the same way as petrochemical products – to ENEOS in Japan in the form of MCH. Once at its destination, the hydrogen will be recovered using the Honeywell MCH Dehydrogenation process and released for use, while the toluene can be sent back for additional cycles.

Hydrogen is expected to play a critical role in reducing greenhouse gas emissions. At standard conditions, hydrogen is a flammable gas with low density and cannot be efficiently or easily transported. Current solutions available for transporting hydrogen include liquifying the hydrogen and using chemical carriers such as ammonia, each of which requires additional infrastructure to produce and transport hydrogen.