Aeroflot continues to be China's Favourite International Airline

AEROFLOT has for the third year in a row been honoured as the Favourite International Airline in China at the Flyer Award Ceremony 2019 held in Shanghai.

The awards are supported by the Civil Aviation Administration of China's (CAAC) inflight magazine and sector publication Flyer Tea. Winners are selected by the jury and by votes from frequent flyers and travellers.

The prestigious awards recognise outstanding participants in China's dynamically developing tourism market. Previous winners include leading global airlines, including carriers that hold Skytrax 5-Star Airline status.

Aeroflot won the award due to its key competitive advantages: high service quality and flexible fare policy.

"The recognition of Aeroflot as the Favourite International Airline in China is confirmation of the effectiveness of our strategic efforts in China", said Aeroflot CEO Vitaly Saveliev.

"We offer our customers a wide route network and one of the youngest fleets in the world. Millions of Chinese passengers choose our airline for affordable ticket prices, convenient transit via our hub airport Sheremetyevo and high-quality service.

"Further development of service on Europe-Asia transit routes - one of the most competitive aviation markets globally - is one of Aeroflot's key goals, along with the active expansion of the domestic route network."

The carrier's routes encompass four key locations in China: Beijing, Shanghai, Hong Kong and Guangzhou. Earlier the airline signed a partnership agreement with Alipay, China's most popular payment system.

HK traders unfazed by Brexit but still cautious on US-China trade dispute

THE latest DHL Hong Kong Air Trade Leading Index (DTI) shows that locally based traders who use airfreight remain cautious due to the ongoing US-China trade dispute but are optimistic that the situation will be resolved in the next quarter.

The index, compiled by the Hong Kong Productivity Council, analyses the key attributes of business demand based on a survey of more than 600 Hong Kong companies that focus on inbound or outbound airfreight consignments.

The survey found the optimism on US-China trade relations was "further fueled by the growth prospects" brought on by the development of the Hong Kong Greater Bay Area, reports London's Air Cargo News.

A spokesperson for DHL Express Hong Kong, which commissioned the report, said: "Outlook on air exports and imports only exhibited a slight downturn from the previous quarter due to lower demand from the Americas and Europe, which has somewhat tempered the stronger demand in Asia Pacific.

"While markets in the Americas and Europe have seen small dips from the previous quarter, Asia Pacific has shown signs of confidence from traders. The Rest of the World has surged significantly, attributed to the sharp recovery in product variety."

Demand for both imports and exports of food and beverage has strengthened, according to the report, as it remains the "top commodity" traded this quarter. Apparel and clothing accessories, electronic products and parts, as well as watches, clocks and jewellery dropped slightly due to slower demand in the Americas offsetting the improvements seen in the European and Asia-Pacific markets.

While it continues to have significant impact in the UK, only "a small percentage of air traders" in Hong Kong are concerned about Brexit. Most of the air traders surveyed are focusing on the benefits that the Greater Bay Area will bring in terms of infrastructure, innovation and trade.

Moscow airport showcases cargo terminal for China trade

RUSSIA's biggest airport, Moscow's Sheremetyevo (SVO), and Moscow Cargo, held a joint cargo complex presentation with their Chinese partners as part of a strategy to spur the further development of Russian-Chinese air freight expansion, reports Moscow's Russian Aviation Insider.

"Thanks to Sheremetyevo airport's efficient, long-term planning and large-scale investment programme, we understand the needs of airlines and are ready to meet them in full," said Andrey Nikulin, first deputy general director of Sheremetyevo International Airport.

Said ranking Moscow Cargo official Mikhail Chuvilkin: "One of the greatest advantages of our terminal is the availability of areas for express cargo handling. Today, speed is the main requirement for customers. Speed provides a competitive edge."

China has become a significant strategic partner for Russia. In 2018, trade turnover between Russia and China increased 28 per cent, beating a record-high US$100 billion. Russia ranks first among China's 10 largest trade partners in terms of trade turnover growth.

The new cargo terminal at Sheremetyevo is designed to satisfy growing market demand and offers an advanced high quality infrastructure for China-destined cargo and mail, said the airport.

"The terminal was built drawing on the experience of global industry leaders and the use of automated cargo storage and handling systems enabled us to reduce cargo handling and packaging time, make tracking transparent, and expand the area of IT interaction with customers and airlines. Factoring in the high growth rates of cargo turnover, the completion of the second stage of the cargo terminal is scheduled for 2022," said an airport statement.

Sheremetyevo, which is the only airport in Europe to service eight Chinese airlines, offers a route network of connections between Russia and China comprising 19 destinations.

Air cargo import shipments from China to Sheremetyevo increased 40 per cent, while exports saw a 20 per cent increase.

AOG-247 signs with B&H Wordwide in London and Frankfurt airports

B&H WORLDWIDE, a major aerospace logistics provider, has signed a deal to provide fast-expanding aircraft and engine components supplier AOG-247 with warehouse and inventory management services at both London Heathrow and Frankfurt.

Under the terms of the contact B&H will provide full inventory management at both locations including complete consignment handling and access to the B&H FirstTrac online portal.

B&H will initially be responsible for managing the UK-headquartered company's commercial engine inventory (introducing CFM56-7 Life Limited Parts) which AOG-247 will base from B&H's Frankfurt warehouse.

"As with all component suppliers, AOG-247 needs to be very close to their markets and by utilising space at both our Heathrow and Frankfurt facilities they are well placed to meet any of their own customers' requirements while at the same time having the scope to expand their activities in the years to come," said B&H Worldwide Group CEO Stuart Allen.

Said AOG-247 managing director David Bradley: "The services offered by B&H will enable us to have a larger footprint in these markets both now and in the future."

Struggling HK Airlines sees 50 pilots quit with more expected to move

SOME 50 pilots are said to have joined the recruitment market after leaving the financially plagued Hong Kong Airlines.

The struggling carrier is also reported to be offering all its pilots secondments or transfers to HNA Group airlines, including Hong Kong Air Cargo.

Emirates is also said to be recruiting from the Hong Kong Airlines pool, which has about 630 pilots, reports UK's The Loadstar.

Cashflow issues have prevented the airline taking delivery of four new aircraft, currently waiting in Toulouse, but even more pressing is a heated battle among shareholders for control of the company.

Financially troubled HNA Group owns some 29 per cent of the shares, but a boardroom coup recently saw HNA-appointed chairman Hou Wei ousted by Zhong Guosong, who, it was thought, together with Frontier Investment Partner, controlled 61 per cent of the airline.

The former chairman and board members were ordered not to interfere in the business by a court.

HNA Group has denied allegations of embezzlement and financial misdeeds at the carrier, which has five A330 freighters in the fleet of its cargo subsidiary, Hong Kong Air Cargo, which also has three 747-400Fs on ACMI from Atlas Air.

However recent events have complicated the issue when it appeared that Frontier Investment had sold its 35 per cent share to Grand City Investment Capital this month, for US$69.7 million. Mr Zhong only holds some 27 per cent of the shares and, without Frontier, does not have a majority.

Last month, Hong Kong Airlines said it would reduce its fleet by 10 and return some aircraft to leasing companies after it was sued by two lessors over unpaid fees in February.