09-10/2016 Between heaven and hell
It’s rather rare for freighter aircraft to make the headlines of the daily newspapers, but a few days ago this was the case. In this example, however, the industry would probably have preferred no publicity at all to the bad publicity that it got. The story, you may have read it, concerned an MD-11F that landed at Harare airport on 14 February. Airport employees inspecting the aeroplane made a depressing and mysterious discovery. In one of the air conditioning vaults of the plane, which is operated by the US carrier Western Global Airlines, they found a male corpse and large quantities of cash in rand, South Africa’s national currency. The central bank of Zimbabwe’s southern neighbour confirmed that it was the designated recipient of the money, but it wasn’t clear whether touching down in the Zimbabwean capital was a planned re-fuelling stop or an unscheduled stopover on the way to Durban. In any case, the six crew members were taken into police custody. The story seems almost to spring from a James Bond-type spy thriller – together with so many other exciting logistics stories to be told from the land at the Cape of Good Hope, as well as from the rest of Southern Africa! We’ve presented you with a few of them in our Special, starting on page 23.
Our second Special starts on page 28 and shows that there’s plenty to live for once you’ve been declared dead! Join us for our second close look at Asia in this still young year, and you’ll probably find as many reasons as we did not to write the Far East off from a logistics point of view just yet.
Allow me to finish with some light at the end of the tunnel. On 1 June the new Gotthard base tunnel will be ceremonially opened in the presence of top European politicians such as the German chancellor Angela Merkel and the French president François Hollande. 140,000 Swiss people entered a lottery for 1,000 railway tickets for the journey of a lifetime on the first train through the tunnel.
It remains to be seen whether the Swiss are as enthusiastic about a second road tunnel through the same mountain, with a vote on that project worth billions due on 28 February, two days after this issue of the ITJ is published.
We’ll keep you posted on the result, of course. In the meantime we hope you enjoy your read of this issue.
Head of airfreight