Positioned as the top 10 global air cargo carrier, Turkish Cargo with its new hub expects to address the needs of the market, operate direct flights to 150 destinations by 2023 and tap the growing ecommerce opportunity.

Debuting with two Curtiss Kingbirds, two Junkers F.13s, and one Tupolev ANT-9 in 1933, currently Turkish Airlines’ operates a total fleet size of 336 passenger and freighter aircraft. Christened under the brand name ‘Turkish Cargo’ in 2000, Turkish Airlines’ cargo airline has handled 1.4 million tonnes of cargo in 2018 and has gained 7th position in the global air cargo market, as per the World Air Cargo Data (WACD). The carrier flies direct freighters to 85 destinations, in addition to the cargo carrying capacity of its flag-carrier. As per WACD, in February 2019 the carrier recorded a 9.6 percent increase in its tonnage despite the 5.8 percent contraction in the air cargo market.

In 2018, Turkish Cargo forayed into new routes extending its network to Zaragoza, Spain; Vilnius, Lithuania; Liege and Brussels, Belgium; Miami, US; Toronto, Canada; Houston, US; Bogota, Colombia; Mexico City, Mexico; Curacao, Netherlands Antilles; Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam; Taipei, Taiwan; Navoi, Uzbekistan; and Muscat, Oman.

The 'Rising Star' in Turkey's  air cargo businessCommenting on the successful performance of Turkish Cargo, M İlker Aycı, chairman of the board and the executive committee, Turkish Airlines, stated, “In the last two years, Turkish Cargo has risen from the 12th to 7th position despite a shrinking demand globally. This success brightens the future of Turkish Cargo even more. With our determination and growth strategy in the air cargo market, Turkish Cargo will be one of the top five air cargo brands in the world.” The carrier operates 23 freighters, including five B777Fs, ten A330-200Fs, four B747-400Fs, three A310-300Fs, and one A300-600F.

The year 2019 saw the opening of Mega Hub Istanbul Airport, a global logistics centre with an annual six million tonnes of cargo handling capacity, which will further create inroads for the airline to operate direct flights to 150 destinations by 2023. The new cargo terminal is expected to be opened in the first quarter of 2020. At the end of the first phase of the project, the airport will have a 165,000 square metre usable area with a handling capacity of two million tonnes per year. Once fully completed, the handling capacity will rise up to four million tonnes.

The Mega Hub will be the biggest and one of the most modern cargo facilities in the world. The 25 cargo aircraft parking positions located close to the cargo terminal will allow for faster cargo operation. In addition, a separate distribution base will be established near the passenger aircraft parking positions, so that cargo with short transition periods can be managed more effectively.

The ‘Rising Star’ in Turkey’s  air cargo businessThe new facility is expected to address the needs of the market and maximise customer satisfaction by ensuring that all special cargo processes, from acceptance to delivery meet the highest possible standards of quality for perishable, pharmaceuticals, valuable cargo, live animal transportation, express, e-commerce cargo.

In order to increase special cargo volumes, Turkish Cargo’s facilities are designed to handle various types of cargo in their dedicated zones with flexible and efficient solutions. Automated storage and retrieval system (ASRS) and pallet container handling system (PCHS) is going to be used in the warehouse to limit human intervention to increase speed, efficiency and quality. One of the critical projects is Work Order Optimisation in cargo operations. All of the freight movement, which is held by operators, is going to be optimised and orders will be distributed by the upgraded warehouse management software (WMS). This ensures a smooth, lean, and efficient operation. The internet of things (IoT) is being used to carry out Work Order Optimisation for instant data flow. Therefore, workers can step in immediately, if necessary.

Turkish Cargo’s main asset is delivering pharmaceutical shipments. In order to keep up with the times, investment in pharma facilities, training, and certification required to transport pharmaceuticals safely and securely are being carried out. Along the similar lines, Turkish Cargo is building a larger and dedicated pharma facility at Istanbul Airport and aims to be a transit hub for pharma in between Asia and Europe. Some highest level and standards in a certified dedicated facility for pharma product at Istanbul Airport are constant climate acceptance area without breaking the cold chain; 5,000 square metres isolated area, where +5 and +20 degree temperature is provided; and cool cells for unit load device (ULD) storage. The airline has also implemented the latest IoT telematics systems (Telemetry) and ERP technology (COMIS by IBS).

With e-commerce growing rapidly by ignoring physical borders, global e-commerce companies are looking for more competitive, faster and more punctual delivery solutions through different logistics models. Turkish Cargo transports cargo to more than 300 destinations through 124 countries, providing road feeder services to a large number of offline stations and bonded warehouses. The airline believes that markets like North America and Europe are more mature. On the other hand, the Middle East, Africa and Latin America, have more potential to grow. These regions are expected to grow more than mature markets in 2019. To further enhance its business, the hub will have 7,000 square metre total area for air mail, e-commerce, and express cargoes.

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