Surge in cargo volume keeps handlers busy

Siginon Aviation has been in the business of ground handling for over two decades in Kenya, and is now looking to expand. “Profitable regional expansion is being explored to go beyond Kenya borders in ground handling and related services. We are also leaning towards tapping into the growing perishable market, said Jared Oswago, Operations Manager, Siginon Aviation.

Last year, Qatar Airways Cargo appointed Siginon for ramp and ground handling at Jomo Kenyatta International Airport. Oswago said, “As a response to the spurt in volumes, Siginon is investing more in robust systems and equipment for improved efficiency. We are training our staff more and challenging them to aim higher in the level of productivity.”

The industry is addressing the range of challenges facing ground handlers and airlines, with initiatives like proper training, adoption of new technologies and safety audits. Alexander König, Managing Director, PortGround, remarked, “Continual training for our personnel who are involved in handling aircraft is naturally an important element in our work to ensure that we’re in a good position in the long term and are also equipped to use forward-looking technologies.”

PortGround GmbH, a subsidiary of Mitteldeutsche Flughafen AG, offers ground handling and freight services at Leipzig/Halle and Dresden Airport. “PortGround’s priority is to automate production processes and make investments in the latest handling technologies. It has its own idea centre for technological solutions in order to improve or introduce process operations,” said König.

The company has IATA-certified personnel in order to handle all types of aircraft and cargo, including large animals. When asked about the expectations from stakeholders, König remarked, “Access to the information systems of stakeholders would be useful to make it easier for us to manage our process operations. Another aspect, which would have a positive impact, involves networking the handling systems that are collectively used in order to simplify production.”

Highlighting the business generation aspect, König said, “Our major focus is on gaining new customers. Beyond this, our activities are geared towards interlinking customer processes with those of our company; this helps us safeguard our existing business in the long term.”

The industry is also calling for a collaborative approach between airports, airlines, handlers and forwarders to better manage the cargo growth. Russi Batliwala, CEO, Chapman Freeborn, said that the industry was not prepared for the upturn in 2017 due to the limited aircraft including freighters, and not enough ground staff at airports.

The growing air freight volumes have triggered the need for space and expansion of services in ground handling. As Boeing’s Services Market Outlook report indicates that airlines are likely to spend $4.5 trillion in the next 20 years on airport ground, station and cargo operations, up from the current $138 billion, the industry is gearing up to be future ready. This includes improving operating margins by lowering costs, investment in robust IT solutions, better coordination and ramp management, certified personnel, in addition to collaborative decision making at airports (CDM), GSE pooling, which thereby ensures efficient ground handling services.

Posted By : STAT Times 1:05-04-2018 158:00

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