Category Archives: Air Cargo

Air Cargo Committee

BWI Supports Tourism, Business—and Horse Racing

by Jonathan Dean
Manager, Division of Communications
Baltimore/Washington International Thurgood Marshall Airport

On the third Saturday of each May, the thoroughbred horse racing world turns to the historic Pimlico Race Course in Baltimore for the Preakness Stakes.  The middle jewel of the Triple Crown, the Preakness is the largest single-day sporting event in the State of Maryland.  According to the Maryland Department of Business and Economic Development, a crowd of more than 117,000 enjoyed the 138th running of the Preakness in 2013.  For Baltimore and the State of Maryland, the Preakness is an important opportunity to highlight the local horse industry, hospitality, and tourist attractions to a national and international audience.

H.E. Tex Sutton's "Air Horse One" touches down at BWI ahead of the Preakness Stakes

Baltimore/Washington International Thurgood Marshall Airport plays a role each May in supporting the Preakness.  In the days before the race, horses are flown from Louisville, Lexington, and other markets to BWI.  Experienced, professional horse handlers from the H.E. “Tex” Sutton Forwarding Co.use a specially-modified Boeing 727 aircraft to fly the horses safely and quickly to Baltimore.  Corporate jets and other general aviation aircraft fly to BWI for the weekend festivities.  Commercial flights bring additional visitors to Baltimore for the race and other Preakness-related activities.

Preakness competitors enjoy an in-flight meal

Other Maryland airports play an important role, too.  Business jets use Martin State Airport as a quick gateway to Pimlico.  General aviation airports throughout the state support additional flights, and even host a blimp that is used during the television broadcast of the Preakness.

As part of a safe, reliable, and efficient transportation system, BWI and airports across Maryland help ensure the quality of life for residents, businesses, and visitors.  And each May, these airports support the Preakness and the important horse racing industry in Maryland.

Heading out from BWI to Pimlico

Reporting from Nashville: Delivering Solutions that Matter

By Liying Gu
Elise Jordan, senior vice president, strategic financial planning and analysis & business systems of FedEx Express, opened the annual ACI-NA Economics & Finance and Human Capital Conference this week in Nashville discussing the economic outlook, air cargo market outlook, FedEx’s strategic imperatives, the evolving role of finance, and industry challenges.

Elise Jordan

FedEx economists see a two-speed world with emerging markets such as China, India, Brazil and Mexico leading global economic growth, and the developed world in the form of the U.S., Europe and Japan in slower growth mode for some time. The global economy “is in a soft patch” currently with uncertain markets and dampened consumer sentiments driven by the debt crises in the U.S. and Europe and geopolitical uncertainty in the Middle East. According to Jordan, FedEx expects calendar year 2012 U.S. gross domestic product growth to be slightly below the blue chip consensus of 2.3 percent, and calendar year 2013 below the consensus 2.6 percent.

The air cargo industry is expected to grow faster than world trade and global GDP, driven to a large extent by the increase in high value-added goods, just-in-time inventory practices and the growth of electronic commerce.  In 1970, 10 percent of U.S. GDP was related to international trade. Today, it’s about 25 percent and growing. International air cargo accounts for only about 2 percent of the tonnage moved, but over 40 percent of the value.

FedEx continues to pursue growth opportunities in international service, which is the fastest growing component of the company’s overall revenue base. In this process, the company also strives to be flexible and nimble enough to respond to the ups and downs of the world economy in an organized and appropriate manner.

Looking forward, Jordan sees fuel, infrastructure, and sustainability among the many critical issues facing airlines and airports today.  Greater access and connectivity, safer operations, fewer delays, lower costs, greater fuel efficiency and reduced carbon footprints, cannot be optimized without significant improvements to the nation’s aviation infrastructure in the very near future.

Boeing and ACI-NA Host 787 Webinar




By Matt Griffin
On Tuesday, Boeing and ACI-NA hosted a webinar to update members on the general and technical specs of the 787.  Representatives from Boeing provided ACI-NA member airports and associates information on general characteristics of the 787 including parking and ground servicing of the aircraft, electrical and pre-conditioned air specifications, and wireless connectivity features and requirements.  Additionally, a quick update was provided on the development of other Boeing aircraft.


If you have any questions please contact Chris Oswald or Matt Griffin.

Passenger Service Depends on ‘Belly Cargo’

By Nelson Lam
The ACI-NA Air Cargo Committee monthly call held on Sept. 1 invited Michael Morey, director of operational strategy for Air Canada to speak about Air Canada business direction and operational strategy.

In prior discussions with Morey, he expressed his enthusiasm and patience required for the delivery of the Boeing 787 “Dreamliner.”  Service for the Dreamliner at Air Canada has been delayed for 2 years and is currently scheduled for the second half of 2013 with all operating logistics already in place.

With all cargo operators focusing on the bottom line, Air Canada’s strategy has been evolving from its traditional point to point strategy to transiting freight through Canada.  Addressing the question of how Air Canada analyzes the financial standpoint of the strategy shift, Morey stated the need to meet Air Canada’s entry requirements and performing a cost to benefit analysis.  All operational logistics including handling fee, fuel burn, commission fee, landing fee, and processing time are considered.

Morey’s message to airport members was clear; an airline’s cargo operations determines the validly of an airline flight segment.  With that said, airliners and airports need to continue to collaborate to address issues and be involved in the decision making process.  A new cargo handling facility serves no purpose if it is not easily accessible by cargo operators; and conversely, an airport limited by the information provided, cannot offer adequate level of customer satisfaction.

Michael Morey’s presentation along with the audio recording of the call is available to our members.  For the audio recording dial-in instructions please contact ACI-NA’s Nelson Lam.

Air Cargo-Economy and Environment

Hiran Perera; Picture courtesy of Emirates SkyCargo

By Aneil Patel

The breakfast keynote speaker at the ACI-NA Air Cargo Conference was Hiran Perera, Senior Vice President Cargo Planning and Freighters of Emirates Airlines. Perera travelled all the way from Dubai and was in Washington D.C. for less than 24 hours to address the air cargo conference attendees.

He briefly highlighted the importance that air freight contributes to the airline industry and the wider global economy. Air freight currently accounts for over 40 percent of global merchandise trade by value and provides estimated annual revenue of almost $55 billion worldwide.

The cargo industry plays a critical role as it is involved from the procurement cycle to the delivery of the finished product. Liberal and open sky policies are great catalysts and can trigger unconstrained growth capability, which is important for any developing economy.

Fuel prices are the number one threat for any airline and are doing the greatest damage to the aviation industry. High fuel prices and increased currency volatility could threaten the longstanding relationship between GDP growth and the increase in air cargo volumes.

In 2009, Emirates took delivery of two Boeing 777’s. Perera explained this was the worst time to receive new aircraft; however, he described them as “recession friendly aircraft.”  This was because Emirates successfully managed to fully utilize both 777’s. With the help of passenger and freighter aircraft, cargo revenue currently contributes for 18 percent of Emirates total airline revenue.

Emirates Airlines is proud to have accomplished their environmental commitments.  In their short history, they have managed to operate the world’s largest fleet of Boeing’s eco-efficient 777’s pioneered by Emirates through use of innovative navigational technology and journey management, and created new routes across the skies to save precious time, fuel and emissions.

In keeping with the environmental commitments, Perera referred to the need to push for e-freight “Vision to Reality. This involves replacing the paper trail associated with the cargo supply chain with electronic messaging. E-freight can eliminate an estimated 7,800 tons of cargo weight allowing increased cargo capacity for the customer and give a massive saving of $4.9 billion dollars worldwide. Eliminating 7,800 tons of paper will allow the Air Cargo Industry to contribute to conserving the environment and reducing the carbon footprint.