Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Air Freight Providers Start To Get Back On Track

Road Networks Filled The Vacuum Well
Shipping News Feature

EUROPE – The news that much of Europe is opening up its air space, after being closed due to ash since the 15th of April, has got companies that provide air freight services moving to re-establish operations as quickly as they can safely do so.

Cyrille Gibot at TNT confirmed that the company had resumed intercontinental flights to the Americas and Asia yesterday with twenty flights from their Liege facility able to leave.

Speaking to Handy Shipping Guide he said that though some regions of Europe still had restrictions in place TNT hoped to have most services resumed by this evening or by the end of the week at latest.

DHL said that: "We are progressively re-establishing our air network, as flight bans are being lifted throughout Europe. This includes gradually stepping up air operations at DHL Express’ East Midlands Airport and Leipzig Hubs."

FedEx had, as we reported yesterday, been able to resume air freight transit to Charles de Gaulle airport and UPS also confirmed that they were able to start flights yesterday to some European destinations and that this would expand as rapidly as the situation allowed.

However, they also warned that there is a backlog on freight from the Americas, Africa and Asia and they are working to clear this.

Airlines with specialist cargo divisions are also reporting a rapid resumption of service.

Etihad Crystal Cargo say that: “With recent developments regarding UK airspace and the re-opening of LHR, all flights bound for LHR have been re-instated effective immediately.”

In addition, Virgin Atlantic Cargo state that they “…plan to operate our normal flying schedule, in and out of London Heathrow, London Gatwick and Manchester on Wednesday 21 April 2010. We have to be cautious as we don’t know if UK airspace will close again, but for the moment we are taking full advantage of the opportunity presented to us.”

A common theme from all the express carriers were statements that most problems for their logistics had been coped with by imposition of contingency plans that meant their road haulage services were able to take up the slack caused by the ban on flights.

Despite this, it is to be hoped that the volcanoes on Iceland remain more subdued for a period to allow both passenger and freight transport to resume normality. And that the governments of Europe perhaps take a leaf from the practices of the carriers, and look to establish procedures and protocol to deal with a crisis of this nature when it, inevitably, happens again.