Dubai-based Emirates SkyCargo has seen strong take-up for its ‘Emirates AOG’ time-critical aircraft-parts shipping service, with a further 20% growth anticipated for 2019.
Emirates AOG launched in April 2018, following nearly a year of market research. The service aims to ship parts quickly, minimizing aircraft down time and lost revenue when spares and components are not immediately available.
“Since the product launch last year, we have transported over 800,000kg of AOG components. In terms of number of shipments, this is just shy of 1,000,” Dennis Lister, Emirates VP cargo commercial development, told Inside MRO.
Lister expects the AOG business to increase by about 20% in the coming year, based on 2018-19 numbers and customer feedback.
“It is hard to forecast demand, unlike other product categories like pharma or valuables, due to the nature of the industry. Also, there is no centralized market data. We are therefore reliant on our people on the ground, who have built the relationships with the key players in the market. We therefore use their insights to build our data models and predict future demand.”
Before Emirates AOG, Emirates SkyCargo used to ship AOG components with priority ‘AXA’ status. “Although faster than general cargo, AXA did not have the acceptance cut-off and delivery timeline benefits that we introduced with Emirates AOG,” Lister said.
To speed things up for Emirates AOG, Emirates SkyCargo had to change acceptance and delivery times with ground handling agents across its whole network of 155 destinations.
Market research also showed that AOG shipments most commonly weighted about 4kg, which fed into product development.
“We developed a bright red Emirates AOG ‘Must Go’ bag, which is now used for last-minute bulk loadings and immediate retrievals,” Lister said. “[Customers] know that their shipment is not mix-loaded in a consolidated unit or pallet and can be easily accessed and retrieved.”
The ‘Must Go’ bag gives the AOG spares “the absolute highest priority,” he explained.
“In addition to late acceptance for AOG cargo delivery, for example, we are also saving the customer close to 3.5 hours at destination. That is, for a shipment below 100kg, we are guaranteeing ready for collection (RFC) status within 2.5 hours of aircraft arrival. In the world of AOG, time is money.”
A year on, Emirates SkyCargo is looking to develop the product further. “One of the areas we are looking at for Emirates AOG is live tracking and we’re working with our partners to see how best we can incorporate this technology,” Lister said.
Emirates SkyCargo already has a 24x7 Cargo Operations Command Centre (COCC) in Dubai that tracks shipments to make sure they arrive as planned.
“The team intervenes and takes preventive measures (rebooking, rerouting etc) in case there is a risk of a high priority shipment, such as AOG, missing their pre-agreed deadlines,” Lister said.