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American Airlines Cargo Extends its Extensive Transatlantic Network this Winter

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American Airlines Cargo Extends its Extensive Transatlantic Network this Winter

American Airlines Cargo further enhances its transatlantic services for customers this winter with an increased number of direct services from 11 European cities and 11 major U.S. destinations. This winter schedule, which includes two more origins than the 2021 season, offers more than 35 daily flights to the U.S. with onward connections throughout the American Airlines global network.

The airline is currently providing daily service from London Heathrow Airport (LHR) to all 11 U.S. destinations on a mix of Boeing widebody aircraft, including the 777-200, 777-300 and 787-9. U.S. destinations for this direct winter service are Boston Logan International Airport (BOS), Charlotte Douglas International Airport (CLT), Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport (DFW), John. F. Kennedy International Airport (JFK), Los Angeles International Airport (LAX), Miami International Airport (MIA), Chicago O’Hare International Airport (ORD), Philadelphia International Airport (PHL), Phoenix (PHX), Raleigh-Durham (RDU) and Seattle-Tacoma International Airport (SEA).

American is also supporting its Spanish markets with direct service from Madrid–Barajas Airport (MAD) to DFW, JFK, MIA and PHL, while shippers with freight out of Barcelona-El Prat Airport (BCN) can take advantage of flights to JFK and MIA.

Looking to the French and German markets, Paris Charles de Gaulle Airport (CDG) will have direct service to DFW, JFK, MIA, ORD and PHL, while German customers have two direct connections to CLT from both Frankfurt Airport (FRA) and Munich International Airport (MUC) with additional service to DFW out of FRA.

Two major Italian origins, Milan Malpensa Airport (MXP) and Rome–Fiumicino International Airport (FCO) will directly serve JFK and PHL, respectively. Amsterdam Airport Schiphol (AMS), Dublin Airport (DUB) and Zurich Airport (ZRH) will continue to service PHL as well.

“This is a really major expansion of our winter service following the years of the pandemic and is tremendous news for American Airlines customers in both the UK and across Europe,” says Emma Oliver, Sales Director – EMEA & APAC for American Airlines Cargo. “We continue to see demand for our capacity to the U.S., as we have many customers wanting to move their cargo across our domestic network and beyond to Latin America or Asia.

The Group’s cargo airline experience dates back to its CAL Cargo Airlines’ beginnings in 1976, and its handling division (previously known

CHALLENGE ACCEPTED! The Strengths Behind the Slogan

The past two years have been the most challenging in the entire history of aviation and yet, for one air cargo conglomeration, challenges are what it thrives and, literally, delivers on: Welcome to Challenge Group – Experts in international cargo solutions.

When you bring together experience, an extensive skillset capable of tackling any air cargo and aviation situation, and when defining individual, customer-centric solutions is in your company’s DNA, then adopting Challenge as your name and “Challenge Accepted” as your corporate slogan, is a very logical move.

It is also part of a major rebranding that has been underway ever since the Group embarked on its harmonized restructuring in 2020. So, who is Challenge Group? Headed by CEO, Yossi Shoukroun, the Group incorporates three airlines: CAL Cargo Airlines based in Israel, Challenge Airlines BE based in Belgium, Challenge Airlines MT and Challenge Air Cargo, the commercial arm of the Group, both based in Malta, its own ground handling company in Liege, Belgium: Challenge Handling, a strong European road feeder network out of Liege: Challenge Logistics, an aircraft and parts leasing division: Challenge Aviation, and a comprehensive line maintenance provider: Challenge Technic. The Group’s cargo airline experience dates back to its CAL Cargo Airlines’ beginnings in 1976, and its handling division (previously known as LACHS) was established in 1997. The other companies were founded over the course of the past six years. Malta-based Challenge Air Cargo is the latest addition and is due to commence operations this year.

Challenge Group’s core expertise in airfreight, handling, and logistics, has established it as a leading provider of reliable, integrated, and tailor-made, air-cargo door-to-door solutions. In fact, 65% of its business is non-standard cargo that requires innovative, industry-specific handling solutions: many of these have been for outsize freight shipments. One reason why, alongside a host of state-of-the-art and highly automated air cargo handling equipment and facilities, the Group is in possession of Europe’s largest 52-tonne high-loader, located in Liege. From temperature-sensitive shipments (IATA CEIV Pharma-certified in the air and on the ground), to dangerous goods, all the way through to live animals (Challenge Handling also manages the ultra-modern Horse Inn hotel, one of the finest in Europe, at Liege Airport: more than 250 horses passed through it to on their way to the Tokyo Olympics last year, for example); Challenge Group is trained, certified, and experienced in handling and flying all kinds of commodities.

Over the last four years, the company has trebled its capacity and now handles 300,000 tonnes of cargo per year, with an ambition to reach half a million tonnes annually by 2023. Today, it counts 850 employees and a fleet of four B747-400F. These will soon be complemented by four 767-300BDSF and four 777-300ERSF conversions over the next two years, Challenge Group follows a solid, 5-year expansion strategy in terms of further fleet growth, exploring new business areas, and continuing to develop its rapidly expanding first and last mile services across Europe and the US, to provide quality end-to-end solutions to its customers.

“Air cargo is a people-driven industry, full of down-to-earth, hands-on characters. We identify strongly with this direct, solution-focused approach, and have incorporated company values that precisely reflect this attitude: Passion, Authenticity, Agility. The perfect ingredients for the success of our ‘Challenge Accepted’ promise. We enjoy getting things done!” says Yossi Shoukroun, CEO of Challenge Group.

A modern, unified digital presence is also part of the new branding scheme, aimed at bringing the Group’s different divisions together. Yet, one feature of the Group that is already inherent and identical across all of its companies, is the attitude of its people: it is their can-do approach, creativity, and total customer focus, that ensure the highest levels of quality, safety, and efficiency in solving all challenges entrusted to Challenge Group. Challenge accepted – Challenge solved!

About Challenge Group

Challenge Group is a unique, international air cargo conglomeration offering tailored air freight industry solutions from handling, air and ground logistics, to aviation services, for a wide range of industries and commodities.

Challenge Group employs 850 people across three airlines (CAL Cargo Airlines in Israel, Challenge Airlines BE in Belgium, Challenge Airlines MT in Malta),  a commercial division (Challenge Air Cargo) in Malta, a ground handling company (Challenge Handling in Liege, Belgium), a European road feeder provider (Challenge Logistics in Liege, Belgium), an aircraft and parts leasing division (Challenge Aviation), and a comprehensive line maintenance provider (Challenge Technic). The company has trebled its capacity over the past four years and now handles 300,000+ tonnes of cargo per year.

cargoai donation Qatar Airways Cargo Teams Up with Cainiao to Launch a Weekly Charter Flight Linking China and Brazil

Qatar Airways Cargo is a Thoroughbred in Horse Transport

Qatar Airways Cargo safely transported 190 of the world’s finest horses to and from equestrian events in Qatar and Saudi Arabia recently

Due to the Amir Sword Festival in Doha (17-19 February), the Saudi Cup in Riyadh (25-26 February), the Commercial Bank CHI AL SHAQAB  presented by Longines in Doha (24-26 February), and the Longines Global Champions Tour (LGCT) in Doha (3-5 March), Qatar Airways Cargo carried 190 of the world’s fastest racehorses and finest show jumping and dressage horses on its freighters over the past few weeks.

The prestigious HH The Amir Sword Festival, hailed as the high point in the Qatar equestrian racing calendar, attracts thoroughbreds and pure Arabian horses from all over the world, in competition to win the USD 4.34 million in prize money. The horses transported by Qatar Airways Cargo originate in Ireland, the United Kingdom and France. Those horses competing in the CHI AL SHAQAB and LGCT, on the other hand, come from all over Europe. Qatar Airways Cargo coordinates their transport together with specialiszd horse agents in Europe and Qatar. They travel via the Horse Inn at Liège Airport (LGG), which sees much of Europe’s horse traffic and Hamad International Airport (DOH). In total, three full horse charters flew from LGG to DOH: two on 19 February and one on 20 February.

The Saudi Cup preparations were a little more complex since they involved arranging a double pick-up from the USA. Between 14-16 February, Qatar Airways Cargo flew first to Los Angeles (LAX) to pick up four horses, and from there on to Miami (MIA), to collect another eight and fly them all to Riyadh (RUH), Saudi Arabia. Two days later, on 18 February, 14 horses were flown from Osaka Airport (KIX) in Japan, to Riyadh, also for the Saudi Cup.

“Every horse transport requires meticulous advance planning and coordination with the customers, the specialized freight forwarders, and the respective airport facilities. We take great pains to ensure that the animals entrusted to our care have as stress-free a journey as possible, naturally in line with all animal transport regulations. Alongside state-of-the-art horse stalls, and seats for the grooms on board our freighters, we also ensure that the distance to the aircraft from the airport animal facility, as well as the waiting times are as short as possible,” Guillaume Halleux, Chief Officer Cargo at Qatar Airways explained. “Race-horses often have a very high value, and they are shipped three to seven days prior to the event in order to be at peak fitness on the race day. We are well versed in dealing with this precious cargo. Horses meanwhile make up around 35% of all our QR Live animal shipments, and we are one of the main horse transportation carriers in the world.”

All horses were safely returned to their countries, on board three charter flights from Doha to Liège on 28 February, 6 and 7 March, respectively.

Qatar Airways Cargo is the fourth airline worldwide, and the first Middle Eastern carrier to be awarded the IATA CEIV Live Animals certification in January this year. The airline has in-depth experience in transporting horses and world-class thoroughbreds and is a long-standing sponsor of HH The Amir Sword Festival and partner of the Qatar Racing and Equestrian Club (QREC).

About Qatar Airways Cargo

Qatar Airways Cargo, the world’s leading international air cargo carrier is based in Doha, State of Qatar. It serves a global network of more than 60 freighter destinations and 140 passenger destinations utilising freighters, belly-hold passenger flights, passenger freighters and mini freighters. The airline’s freighter fleet includes two Boeing 747-8 freighters, two Boeing 747-4 freighters, 26 Boeing 777 freighters, one Airbus A330 freighter, one Airbus A310 freighter and one Boeing 777-300ER mini freighter. It also has an extensive road feeder service (RFS) network.

With considerable investments in its products, services, quality handling, infrastructure, facilities, people and procedures at each of its destinations, the cargo carrier provides high operating standards for the transportation of cargo. Qatar Airways Cargo remains committed to sustainability and giving back to communities it serves through its sustainability programme WeQare, built on the key pillars of sustainability: environment, society, economy and culture.


 Bluebird Nordic operates a fleet of 9 B737F and recently signed leases for three Boeing 777-300ER which are undergoing

Bluebird Nordic Signs GSSA Contract with NordicGSA

With the start of this year, ECS Group company, NordicGSA in Denmark, has become the GSSA for the Icelandic cargo airline, Bluebird Nordic, an Avia Solutions Group company.

 Bluebird Nordic operates a fleet of 9 B737F and recently signed leases for three Boeing 777-300ER which are undergoing passenger-to-freighter conversions and expected to be operational in 2024. The GSSA contract signed with NordicGSA, is unlimited. NordicGSA’s responsibilities cover Bluebird Nordic’s Monday to Friday daily flight operations from Billund (BLL), Denmark, to Keflavík (KEF), Iceland, and back, with import distribution operations to Northern Germany. The main commodities being moved are fresh fish, fruit and vegetables, clothing, electricals, and other general freight.

“We have a good, long-standing professional relationship with Bluebird Nordic here in Denmark, having worked together on projects in the past, so I am delighted that Magnus Magnusson and I were now able to conclude a formal GSSA agreement,” Thomas Frederiksen, Managing Director – Denmark at NordicGSA, who signed the GSSA contract on behalf of all the ECS Group countries involved, states.

“We have high hopes for this new route from BLL and CGN, as it allows us to service our biggest export markets, Germany, Belgium, and France, with fresh fish,” Magnus Magnusson, Business Development Director at Bluebird Nordic, reveals. “There is a great deal of interest from the freight forwarders in Iceland in this new lane, as it opens up new opportunities for imports from the Nordic countries that have until now only been served by passenger aircraft.”

About Bluebird Nordic

Bluebird Nordic provides import and export air freight services worldwide. With direct flights between Iceland and Dublin from Monday through Friday – the company can offer extensive customization options to its customers. In close cooperation with a leading airline like Aer Lingus Cargo, Emirates Sky Cargo, UPS Air Cargo and other well know cargo carriers,  enable Bluebird Nordic to provide a global airfreight reach to more than 100 locations all over the world. 

About ECS Group

ECS Group is the world leader in GSSA business, serving airlines. Representing hundreds of companies in over 50 countries through its 167 offices, ECS Group knows it can count on its 1,200+ employees around the world to offer high-quality service tailored to each of its partners. Thanks to this ever-increasing network, in 2020 ECS Group carried over 1,100,000 tons on behalf of the airlines it represents and, in this way, contributes to their growth and development on the international stage in the air cargo sector. ECS Group has received many awards from its peers and is the favoured partner and go-to GSSA in the cargo industry.

About NordicGSA

NordicGSA, founded in 1996, is one of the leading general cargo sales agents (GSSA) in the Nordic countries. The company is well-established, well-connected and highly successful. Working with a portfolio of respected and reliable airline partners, NordicGSA provides cargo solutions to destinations worldwide, offering sales, marketing and operational services to the entire Nordic region.