New Articles

United Airlines Moves Cargo Around the World in Cargo and Passenger Planes


United Airlines Moves Cargo Around the World in Cargo and Passenger Planes

If you’ve been wondering who is filling commercial jetliners these days, we have the answer: some brave travelers and a whole lot of cargo.

United Airlines has played a vital role in helping keep the global supply chains stable during the COVID-19 pandemic by flying needed goods not only in its cargo planes but what are normally passenger planes as well.

In addition to current service from the U.S. to Asia, Australia, Europe, India, Latin America and the Middle East, United has added cargo-only flights to Dublin, Paris, Rome, Santiago and Zurich.

“Air cargo continues to be more important than ever,” explains United Cargo President Jan Krems. “This network expansion helps our customers continue to facilitate trade and contribute to global economic development and recovery. I’m proud of our team for mobilizing our cargo-only flights program that enables the shipment of critical goods that will support global economies.”

Since United Airlines began the program on March 19, more than 2,400 cargo-only flights have transported more than 77 million pounds of cargo.

Meanwhile, despite a three-year-old blockade on air, land and sea travel imposed on Qatar by its neighbors Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain and Egypt, Qatar Airways claims its share of the passenger and air cargo market has grown significantly over the past three months.

“Qatar can be proud that it is home to not only the Best Airline in the World but also the current largest passenger airline, the largest cargo airline and the Third Best Airport in the World,” states a company release.

The Middle East countries cut diplomatic and trade ties with Doha and imposed the blockade on June, 5, 2017, because Qatar allegedly supported “terrorism” and was too close to Iran. Calling the blockade “illegal,” Qatar rejects the claims and says there was “no legitimate justification” for the severance of relations.

private aviation

How Small Companies are Shaping the Future of Private Aviation

Executive aviation has a strong reputation based on its reliability, cost-efficiency, and flexibility, three key variables that have changed how companies are doing business all over the world. Kyle Patel, CEO of South Florida based BitLux shares his thoughts.

Time is a valuable commodity across markets. How a business can achieve, in less time, the delivery of a product or service, without undermining quality, is the building block for success. This is the case for small, medium, and large companies; they are all tied to time-bound experiences towards their clients. How does this connect to private aviation?

For small and medium corporations, with fewer employees and overall budget, accomplishing more in less time is vital to remain relevant, especially amid the pandemic outbreak. This translates in less time wasted in the airport, arriving closer to the destination, and departing right after delivering a product. Say goodbye to waiting for a late commercial flight back to your home base and welcome the possibility to depart from a regional or domestic airport at any time.

The previous is decisive in the success of smaller companies, in constant search for underdeveloped markets with the purpose to get where multinational corporations still haven’t found interest in taking action. This often means moving to locations with no airline connections; exactly where private aviation thrives by landing in secondary airports that don’t fit larger aircraft and reducing, sometimes even in hours, lengthy and costly ground transfers before reaching the destination.

There’s a misconception that executive aviation is only for Fortune 500 companies and powerful CEO’s. The access to this segment has risen during the past years thanks to an increase in availability, a change in perception and competitive prices worldwide. Private aviation serves entrepreneurs, small and medium business owners in a mission to satisfy their needs and meet even their most ambitious growth plans, thanks to a much sounder management of time.

Global trend powered by turboprops

Worldwide and especially in emerging markets where large jet aircraft are still scarce, small businesses rely on turboprops. Small towns with secondary airports are a great example. BitLux, a private aviation company based in Palm Beach, has ample experience connecting isolated regions within the state and country, taking passengers to places where commercial aviation lacks presence, thus connecting small-town businesses to various opportunities.

Many of these companies and clients can’t rely on the visit of major airline carriers. However, several regional airports serve the purpose of business aviation while also attending specific needs of local clients. It’s the case of a small-town IT company in Oregon, showcased by the No Plane, No gain campaign, which relies on private aviation to serve its clients.

Never heard of No Plane, No Gain? It started in 2010 as an effort between the National Business Aviation Association (NBAA) and the General Aviation Manufacturers Association, with the purpose to educate the public on the importance of private aviation for its communities, companies, and citizens. Today, 10 years down the runway, it remains strong and serves as a source of information for debates about the future of the industry.

In essence, it’s challenging not to prefer private aviation over commercial. Less time invested in flights, the possibility to depart earlier if a meeting ends ahead of schedule, staying more time at a certain location without missing the flight back home, and reducing uncertainties while managing time. All these features help justify, in a tangible way, the use of business aviation.


BitLux provides executive jet charter and cargo charter brokerage services in the most thorough, safe, and ethical way possible. If you would like to speak with us about a shipment involving a top priority load, please contact us immediately at

Budapest Airport Connects Hungary and China with New Agreements

Budapest Airport continues bridging the gap in aviation connectivity between China and Hungary through its most recent airport agreements signed during the Hungarian-Chinese Forum last week. The agreement involves two Chinese airports (Xi’an Xianyang and Zhengzhou Xinzheng International) that further support Budapest Airport’s goal for providing primary logistics and distribution support for China in the Central and Eastern European regions.

Péter Szijjártó, minister of foreign affairs and trade, represented Hungary at the forum and commented on the agreement at the signing ceremony:

“Between two countries ­like these – with quite a distance between them geographically – strong economic cooperation is only possible if they are well-connected, which is why aviation connections, direct flights between Hungary and China, are of key importance. For this reason, we are delighted that a cooperation agreement between the airport of Xi’an and Budapest Liszt Ferenc International Airport is signed, as this agreement may link additional Chinese cities to the network where direct flights are available from Hungary, from Budapest. In addition to economic ties, our connections in tourism can also be developed further. Last year, a record number of 256 thousand Chinese tourists visited Hungary, representing a growth rate of 14 percent.”

Budapest Airport reported that it doubled its weekly capacity in cargo flights between Budapest, Hong Kong and Zhengzhou as a result of support from Hungarian diplomats and trade promotion experts. Additionally, the recent agreement further enhances opportunities to develop freight flows between Chinese locations and Budapest.

“The foundation stone was laid with the direct connection to Zhengzhou, and now it is time to further intensify our cooperation with our new Chinese partners, and thus exploit the enormous potential in the freight business in particular. Zhengzhou, Xi’an and Budapest share a great dynamic of growth, and we are very confident that we can mutually benefit from this cooperation,” said Jost Lammers, the CEO of Budapest Airport.


The U.S. air cargo market has been increasing at a steady clip. The economy has officially rebounded and in 2017 alone roughly 61.5 million tons of freight moved via airlines worldwide. Cargo airlines enjoyed healthy revenues of $95.9 billion, and there are a handful of American cargo airports that surged into 2019 as a result. 

Memphis International Airport (MEM)

The leader of the pack, MEM is No. 1 in the U.S. and No. 2 globally. Hong Kong is the worldwide leader with Shanghai-Pudong following at No. 3.

At MEM, FedEx is a massive player and responsible in a large degree for Memphis’ substantial activity. The global delivery company accounts for roughly 99 percent of cargo that passes through Memphis every day. In fact, MEM registers 450-plus arrivals and departures daily.

FedEx maintains 40.9 million square feet of space (under lease) at MEM, and the sheer volume that FedEx moves allows the airport to maintain competitively low landing fees. This is the goal of every airport and MEM is gaining on the big boys globally as a result.

Ted Stevens Anchorage International Airport (TSAIA)

Three Air Cargo Excellence (ACE) Awards went to TSAIA, the No. 2 in U.S. cargo volume. Alaska is a bit of an outlier, figuratively and literally, but unbeknownst to the larger public, most big cargo airlines stop off at Ted Stevens to refuel as it is nearly halfway between Beijing and New York. There are planes that can fly non-stop from China to anywhere in the U.S., but they typically possess less cargo. If one prioritizes cargo over time, then greater cargo space planes equate to increased revenues as more refueling is necessary.

Ted Stevens’ spokespeople are famous for pointing out that the airport is less than 10 hours from 90 percent of the modern, industrialized world. Growth rates for air freight have skyrocketed over the past handful of years. In 2014, airlines transported an impressive 40 million metric tons of goods. However, that was less than 1 percent of world trade (measured by volume). Today, air freight is more than double that of shipping.

Ted Stevens comes in fourth in the world, and their ground handlers can nimbly turn a cargo plane around in less than two hours. The airport is named is after the late U.S. Senator Ted Stevens (R-Alaska), a master tactician who was able to funnel a tremendous amount of federal funding to Anchorage, which aided in the construction and maintenance of runways and the city at large. Roughly one in every 10 jobs in Anchorage is directly or indirectly (third-party providers, etc.) related to the airport.

Louisville International Airport

As with MEM and FedEx, when one thinks of Louisville International Airport, UPS springs to mind. United Parcel Service counts on a 5.2 million-square-foot processing facility that can sort a whopping 416,000-plus packages an hour. UPS maintains 12 sorting hubs and Louisville is by far the largest. With a 7.2-mile perimeter, the size of the runways dwarfs the passenger terminal.

But why Louisville of all places, you ask? First, the city has good weather and is only 2.5 hours from approximately 75 percent of the U.S. population. Zappos has set up shop nearby and Sprint and Nikon also use UPS for nearly all their shipping.

UPS’s Worldport is the largest, automated package handling facility worldwide. An impressive 300 flights arrive and depart daily, with December being the peak holiday shipping season.   

O’Hare International Airport (Chicago)

On the heels of completing the second phase of a brand new cargo facility, don’t be surprised to see O’Hare jump a couple spots next year. In 2017, their cargo volumes were up by 15 percent, which makes yet another record year for freight arrivals and departures.

Financed by a $160 million investment from Aeroterm and roughly $62 million from the airport, the Phase II building measures a whopping 240,000 square feet. Once all phases are complete, 800,000 square feet will be available, which means up to 15 widebody aircraft will have the ability to unload at any time at O’Hare.

Trade with Asian countries is growing annually, with China being the top destination. Unsurprisingly, DHL also counts on a strong presence at O’Hare, namely a 54,000-square-foot gateway that cost $10 million to develop.   

Miami International Airport (MIA)

MIA got off to a hot start last year, registering 4 percent growth in freight tonnage over the first three months. In fact, by the end of the year, MIA witnessed an increase of cargo volumes by 60,000 tons thanks to three new carriers. But perhaps most exciting for the fifth largest cargo airport in the States is their new partnership with Amazon Air.

A twice-daily freighter service was announced by Amazon Air last October, which made perfect sense being that the largest retailer on the planet already occupies four warehouses in Miami-Dade County alone.

MIA was up 17.25 percent in domestic cargo tonnage and 1.78 percent in international cargo tonnage in 2018. Demand from Latin America e-commerce is expected to be red hot, which should equate to potential record profits for MIA.     

While the major U.S. airport players in air cargo are clear, nipping at their heels are the likes of Indianapolis, Los Angeles, Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky and John F. Kennedy (New York). The economy is humming, which means all these cargo hotspots are well into a busy 2019. Happy shipping!

AI Will Transform Our Borders – From Travel to Trade. Here’s How.

Technology is evolving at a dizzying pace, and artificial intelligence is no exception. Today, artificial intelligence is being deployed in our cars, computers and social media networks.

It would be easy to assume a crisis of public confidence and trust in AI – not least around its use in public services. As with any emerging technology, there are concerns about the implications and impact of different AI applications, such as “black box” problems relating to machine learning management and regulation. However, Accenture’s recent Citizen Survey across six countries found that 50 percent of respondents support the use of AI in the delivery of public services and that support rises noticeably when presented with specific benefits. One of the most promising public applications of AI? For our border agencies.

Although government executives often reference “smart border” capabilities, this vision has not been fully realized.  Today, the focus is largely on merging historical data from border and customs systems and applying analytics to realize process efficiencies.  This approach is valuable but limited. Rather than playing a supporting role in border management technology, AI should take centre-stage.

If deployed fully, AI has the potential to vastly improve travel and trade across our airports, shipping ports and other ports of entry. Border agencies must not be daunted or overwhelmed by the latest AI capabilities – or let fear of the unknown detract from the valuable opportunities this technology affords.

As cross-border trade and travel value chains become increasingly digitized, five value-drivers can help border agencies maximize the benefits of AI:

Responsible AI

People must feel confident that AI decisions are ethical and reliable. Fortunately, agencies are already working to establish public trust in AI. According to Accenture’s Technology Vision 2018 report, 78 percent of public service executives say they’re seeking to gain citizen confidence by being transparent in their AI decisions. Since these AI systems can make choices that affect trade, border agencies must think carefully about how they’re adopted, understand the implications for public sector organizations and their workforces. At the same time, border agencies must teach AI systems to act with both accountability and transparency.  Given the right strategy and controls, combined with a willingness to learn from other sectors, ‘responsible AI’ offers great benefits for border agencies.

Intelligent automation

With artificial intelligence gaining momentum across enterprises and industries, we’re entering the era of intelligent automation. Intelligent automation is much more than the simple transfer of tasks from man to machine; its real power is to transform traditional ways of operating by revealing what can be accomplished by integrating systems, data and people. Most process automation currently deployed by border agencies handles mundane and repetitive tasks rather than those requiring cognitive intelligence. However, that’s rapidly changing. Future AI use cases might include a chatbot that answers complex questions to an entirely autonomous port where humans’ only role is monitoring and security.

Enhanced judgements

It will be many years before AI can reliably make decisions on complex issues, such as determining what goods or visitors pass through a border and into a country. But AI does have a valuable role to play in augmenting human judgement and supporting choices about the “next best action” on case work. Take an area where humans’ visual perceptions are used as the basis for decisions – as in the classification of goods for customs declarations. Currently, these decisions may differ from port to port and from person to person, often resulting in delays. Artificial intelligence and machine learning can crunch vast amounts of data 24×7, removing subjectivity, inconsistencies and delays – especially when deployed uniformly across border agencies, shippers and traders.

Enhanced interactions

One of the biggest benefits of digitization is the ability to eliminate paper forms and provide more personalized online and in-person service. With AI, personalization can be elevated to a whole new level – and in an environment like customs, the impact on user experiences can be transformational. A border agency’s wealth of existing and historical data about each transaction or entity means routine information-gathering can be almost completely automated, enabling the agency to focus on providing a positive experience and facilitating the safe and frictionless passage of people and goods. In the airport of the future – humans will collaborate effortlessly with machines, combining instantaneous facial recognition with flight data to validate each passenger’s identity and travel itinerary, drawing on his or her full travel history and other data to assess risk levels. Then, if necessary, the AI system will prompt its human counterpart with questions for additional human-human screening.

Intelligent product categorization

Customs classifications processes are notoriously complex and bureaucratic, and the descriptions often are esoteric – yet any individual or organization that gets the classification wrong can face severe penalties. Artificial intelligence has enormous potential for simplifying these complex nomenclatures, making it easier to find the right classification while improving understanding, reducing costly errors and fostering the effective flow of trade.

It’s the nature of emerging technology to have ups and downs. Whatever the latest headlines may say, the genuine promise and business case for Artificial Intelligence at the border remain as compelling as ever.  It’s vital that border agencies stay focused on the value that AI can deliver – and don’t let short-term concerns distract them. So far, most border and customs agencies have only scratched the surface of AI’s potential. It’s now time to dig deeper into AI capabilities – and combine humans and machines in ways that don’t just improve efficiency at the border but reinvent border processes altogether.





Dubai Customs Thwarts 922 Smuggling Attempts in 9 Months

Director of Dubai Customs, Ahmed Mahboob Musabih revealed they have thwarted 922 smuggling attempts including 355 drug contrabands (38.5%) from January to the end of September 2018.

“We facilitate trade and traffic of passengers without compromising security of borders and entry points, and with the growing number of passengers and air shipping size in the last years we continue to have full control on all our checkpoints” Musabih explained.

“There are challenges facing customs authorities in countries that have strategic locations. Dubai is not an exception. It’s strategically located between east and west and has spent billions of dirhams to develop its infrastructure, ports and airports. The emirate has also provided an unprecedented host of services and products including the ideclare application which significantly reduces passengers’ time needed to declare different belongings. These advanced services will facilitate passengers’ entry into the country, especially for visitors of EXPO 2020” he added.

                  25KG marijuana  

Inspection customs officers at Dubai International Airport thwarted an attempt to smuggle 25.5 kg of marijuana which were concealed carefully inside loud speakers in the passenger’s suitcase

Lyrica pills

Inspection officers’ vigilance and effective training has also led to thwarting a smuggling of 6720 Lyrica pills which were skillfully concealed in bags of nuts.

275 cases of customs duties evasion

Ibrahim Al Kamali, Director of Passenger Operations at Dubai Customs revealed they checked around 30.2 million suitcases between January and the end of September.

“Dubai International Airport deals with large number of passengers annually. Around 74.5 million passengers used the airport in the first ten months of 2018, which means 248,000 passengers a day. These passengers hail from different backgrounds and they all deserve a good and warm welcome” he said.

During the first 9 months of 2018, 3 counterfeiting and 275 customs duties evasion cases were recorded.

“Thanks to our inspectors’ vigilance we are closely in full control of all checkpoints. Our inspection officers receive best training on body language and different types of drugs, and how to distinguish fake brands from genuine ones” Al Kamali added.



From “The Farm” to Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport

Impressive ratings continue to spotlight Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport after a press release confirmed another Aa3 rating given by Moody’s Investors Service last week. According to the release, Phoenix Sky Harbor Airport received stellar ratings on the senior and junior lien bonds. In addition to the ratings, the Standard & Poor’s Rating Services (S&P) credited the airport for its consistency in meeting financial goals throughout its 83 years of history.

“The ratings on PHX reflect our opinion of the airport’s very strong enterprise risk and financial risk profiles,” Standard & Poor’s Global Ratings credit analyst Andrew Bredeson said in a previous release. “The very strong enterprise risk profile reflects the large hub airport’s strong demand base and level of origin and destination enplanements, and good pricing power, supported by a lack of significant competition within the primary service area and a history of maintaining a competitive cost structure,”

The airport continues to create new business milestones, coming a long way from its humble beginnings in 1935 at 235 acres and with only one runway when the city of Phoenix originally purchased it. In the early days of Sky Harbor, it was nicknamed “The Farm” because of its rural location. Fast forward to 2018, and the airport is expanding even more by adding an eighth concourse to Terminal 4. This addition is said to provide occupation opportunities for Southwest Airlines and is currently estimated as a $310 million project, according to the planning and development review. An extension to the PHX Sky Train is planned as well as other modernization projects, set to be open in early 2022.

“As the largest economic engine in Phoenix, Sky Harbor is one of our most valuable assets, said Phoenix Mayor Thelda Williams. “This new rating reaffirms Sky Harbor as a world-class airport that attracts new investments to the region and strengthens our growing global economy.”