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Denis Choumert

Chairman, European Shippers’ Council

The covid-19 crisis has hit aviation the hardest compared to other modalities, 90% of all passenger planes have been grounded and air cargo capacity worldwide has dropped by 35%. However, if there is one lifeline we currently depend on in dealing with this crisis, it is aviation. Hence, the corona paradox. Air cargo has become vital in shipping all medical and urgent goods related to this crisis. Air bridges have been made to fly masks, protective gear and ventilators and airlines are looking at ways to convert passenger planes carrying cargo. The air cargo industry in general can be proud of its achievements, and the stories we are reading in the newspapers and social media give energy to those working day and night in getting these medical and critical goods shipped.  Nevertheless, usual still active air shippers have faced growing challenges in the light of demand for emergency transport of medical aid and protection equipment triggering little residual capacity left and average rates up to 3-4 times normal. To avoid prolonging such a situation which might be detrimental to all parties, transparency and cooperation in the air supply chain will be key for dealing with this crisis and spur the economic recovery.

Air cargo has been seen as a scapegoat for quite some time, it is noisy, pollutant and some shipments (e.g. perishables) are questioned. Nevertheless, the perception on air cargo and its role in providing goods to society has changed in some aspects. Never before have there been so many rules and regulations bent by governments on supporting the air cargo industry, making sure that the lifeline will operate. Although measures taken by countries are all temporary, the question is for what timeframe? Air cargo currently plays a vital role currently in battling the covid-19 crisis, but will be vital in the economic recovery as well.

Truly shipping goods by air has never become more challenging for shippers. The drop in capacity and increase in rates has created a bonanza in the air cargo industry with opportunistic ad hoc flights and abandonment of regular cargo networks. Thus keeping shippers in the dark on which solutions might prevail in the near future. Now more than ever, shippers will need transparency on most of the matters which are traditionally unknown to them because the system is steady: what flights to what destination are being served, which is the slot allocation at airports. With this access shippers will be able to adjust their production and transportation planning and identify themselves as possible shipments for airlines. More information on slots will also support the negotiation position of shippers, as with rates this high some shippers are simply pushed out of the market, and some might not return.

In times of crisis, cooperation is key to help the industry survive, profit from market opportunities in the long run without take the money and run behaviour,  thereby reducing damages for companies in the long run. In essence air cargo operations have become a tailor-made operation. The standard line communication between shipper – forwarder – airline needs to become more flexible, not by bypassing the forwarder but by changing its role as the fixer in between shipper and airline. Creative thinking in what can be done to ship goods instead of saying it can’t be done should be the new normal. Transparency and cooperation will make sure to tackle the covid-19 crisis and making air cargo lead the way into economic recovery.

Gerry’s dnata Expands Offering; Launches Line Maintenance Services in Pakistan

Karachi, Pakistan, 13 January 2022 – Gerry’s dnata, Pakistan’s leading ground services provider, has expanded its offering. The company obtained Maintenance Organization Approval from the Pakistan Civil Aviation Authority to provide aircraft line maintenance services to airline customers, and now offers a one-stop-shop of ground handling, cargo and technical services at the airports of Karachi (KHI), Lahore (LHE) and Islamabad (ISB). 

Gerry’s dnata’s team of professionals can provide full line maintenance support and are trained on customers’ company procedures, providing a seamless service to both passenger and cargo airlines.

The launch customer is flydubai, which Gerry’s dnata already serves at four airports in Pakistan providing a range of ramp and passenger handling services to the airline and its customers.

Syed Haris Raza, Vice President of Gerry’s dnata, said: “As Pakistan’s leading ground handler, we constantly enhance our offering to best meet the needs of our customers. We are confident that our airline partners will welcome the expansion of our portfolio and take advantage of getting quality and safe ground handling and technical services from a single provider. Our team of highly trained, seasoned professionals will deliver world-class quality and safety for our valued customers.”

Mick Hills, Senior Vice President of Engineering and Maintenance at flydubai, said: “We are looking forward to expanding our relationship with Gerry’s dnata to include line maintenance services in Pakistan. Having a single, local provider to oversee our line maintenance, as well as ground handling, will add more efficiencies to our fleet management and ensure a quicker turnaround of our aircraft.”

Gerry’s dnata have the capability to handle the following aircraft types for scheduled, unscheduled and AOG services:

  • Airbus A319/A320/A321 NEO (CFM LEAP-1A)
  • Airbus A318/319/320/321 (CFM56)
  • Airbus A319/320/321 (IAE V2500)
  • Airbus A330 (RR RB 211 Trent 700)
  • Airbus A330 (GE CF6)
  • Boeing B737-600/700/800/900 (CFM56)

Over the past year, Gerry’s dnata has continued to enhance its operations and services to deliver the highest level of quality and safety and help airline customers safely transport passengers and precious cargo to and from Pakistan. It made significant investments in infrastructure, technology and equipment, including the opening of a new, state-of- the-art cargo facility in Lahore which doubled the company’s cargo handling capacity at the airport.

Gerry’s dnata’s quality of service helped it win or retain over 20 contracts with key accounts across its network. The company also achieved prestigious industry certifications, including GDP and IATA’s ISAGO accreditation, which validate its capabilities and place the business in a market leading position.

Gerry’s dnata serves more than 20 airline customers at seven Pakistani airports. The company’s team consists of over 2,500 dedicated aviation professionals who assist more than seven million passengers and handle 150,000 tons of cargo annually.

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Gabor Vasarhelyi
Public Relations, dnata