Innovations In The Sky: Emirates SkyCargo’s Flight Into Growth and Efficiency

Emirates SkyCargo, the airfreight division of Emirates, is a global leader in cargo transportation, connecting more than 80 countries through a supply chain of over 300 destinations. The air freight division of Emirates Airlines was established in 1985 with only two aircraft that traveled to Mumbai and Karachi. Since then, the division has expanded its operations to include a fleet size of over 270 wide-bodied aircraft, out of which 11 are dedicated freighters. The company provides transportation services for sensitive drugs, complex pharmaceuticals, and hospital equipment, which contribute to global health. In an exclusive interview Abdulla AlKhallafi (Cargo Manager-India, Emirates Skycargo), delves into the airline’s recent expansion into the dynamic Indian market and its strategic approach to aligning with the evolving air cargo industry. He further sheds light on the company’s growth plans, recent achievements, and its commitment to meeting the ever-changing demands of the market.

Currently, we operate 167 flights across nine cities in India, with 5 weekly freighters serving Ahmedabad and Mumbai. Additionally, we run ad-hoc freighters from cities like Bangalore, Chennai, and Delhi. To further enhance our capacity, we leverage our existing resources within India. Our robust cargo tracking network ensures adaptability – if space is unavailable at one point, we seamlessly track the cargo to the next available station. Furthermore, strategic tie-ups with interline partners enable us to generate extra capacity from Dubai. This comprehensive offering dynamically adjusts to market changes, meeting the demand for additional capacity when needed.

In the realm of cargo, we anticipate the arrival of additional freighters to bolster our overall capacity. This includes the introduction of the 777-200 freighter and the 777-300ER converted freighters. Expected in the last quarter of this year, these new additions aim to enhance our freighter capacity and contribute to our continuous growth. Speaking of growth, our overall performance has surpassed market expectations. From January to December, we achieved a remarkable 7% volume growth, outpacing the global average. This positive trajectory aligns with our commitment to providing robust services to the market.

The 777s will address short to mid-term requirements, while converted freighters cater to long-term needs, offering additional space for volumetric cargo. Notably, while they share the same payload capacity as the triple seven 200, they provide an extra 100 CBM of space. This advantageous feature positions them to cater effectively to volume-based or volumetric cargo. Anticipating market demands, we have strategically aligned our aircraft orders with long-term projections and market forecasts. This ensures that our capacity, including these converted freighters, aligns seamlessly with the dynamic and evolving needs of the market.

As mentioned earlier, our growth trajectory consistently surpasses the industry average. Moving forward, we remain committed to not only sustaining but enhancing this momentum. This involves continual improvements to our existing product line and the introduction of new offerings that align with market demands. An example of our recent innovations is the AXT, specifically designed for vital shipments that require swift transportation. This focus on catering to sensitive cargo within tight timelines reflects our dedication to meeting customer needs. Moving ahead, we will persist in refining our product portfolio to meet evolving market requirements and customer expectations.

Certainly! It seems like there is a growing demand for specialized logistics, particularly for the transportation of sensitive medical goods such as blood samples and organs. These items require a higher level of care than generic pharmaceutical products. The emergence of specific products and services in response to these needs also aligns with the necessity to adhere to medical compliance standards. It’s important to note that medical devices extend beyond electronics to include heart-based vehicles and other crucial apparatus.

Moreover, in India, there is a notable effort to boost the country’s market share in the export of medical devices. While I don’t have the exact target market share off the top of my head, the Indian government is actively supporting initiatives to enhance India’s standing in the global medical devices market.

So, Emirates FITE addressing this need for specialized logistics in transporting sensitive healthcare items, complying with industry regulations and supporting India’s push for medical device exports.

In addition to our product enhancements, we are actively expanding our market presence through digital platforms. Currently, we are live on cargo and web cargo. Moreover, we are developing an internal system to seamlessly integrate with the market digitally, establishing direct connections with our customers’ systems. This initiative is geared towards efficiency, aiming to significantly reduce processing times compared to conventional methods. Our focus extends beyond mere capacity and aircraft offerings to prioritize streamlined business processes and enhance our overall customer interactions.

We focus on our offerings, long-term plans, and fleet expansion to meet market demands, ensuring consistency and operational efficiency. Recognizing the need for expanded freighter capacity, we’re actively increasing our freighter fleet. Notably, our fleet consists solely of 310 wide-body aircraft, providing a unique advantage. With no aircraft carrying less than 15 or 20 tons payload, we offer customers consistent capacity. This commitment to operational consistency extends to our daily flights, reaching most cities and ensuring a reliable daily offering. This strategic approach positions us as an industry leader, emphasizing operational reliability and capacity uniformity.

India is witnessing a fascinating transformation in the global supply chain landscape. Globally, there’s a notable shift, and India is at the forefront of this change. The government’s proactive initiatives to promote local manufacturing are particularly noteworthy. Large manufacturers are already establishing their base in India, and this trend is expected to significantly boost India’s exports worldwide. Our presence covers the majority of mega manufacturing hubs in India, aligning with the government’s push for self-reliance.

We recognize the importance of staying attuned to market dynamics, especially given the continuous government efforts. It’s not merely a reaction, rather,  it’s an ongoing commitment to understanding market pulses. This proactive stance is ingrained in our approach, and we foresaw and anticipated the evolving landscape. With imports gradually shifting towards parts and components manufactured in India, we are well-positioned to adapt to these trends, ensuring our capacity meets the evolving needs of manufacturing initiatives.

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