PrimeAir is ready to ‘Go Eastern’

Big news in the airline industry is the resurgence of Eastern Airlines – and it’s big news for the Prime Group, too.

Dedicated to honoring the tradition of Eastern Airlines, the management team overseeing the comeback of this legendary brand has been busy planning for a long time. And now it’s gears up, as they just launched scheduled service between New York and Guayaquil, Ecuador.

During its heyday, Eastern Airlines was one of the original ”big four” domestic U.S. carriers, before folding in 1991. But in January 2002, it returned (again) to the skies, beginning with a route to Aeropuerto Internacional José Joaquín De Olmedo (GYE) out of New York’s JFK. It is also set to serve Georgetown, Guyana; and Jinan, China, flying extended-range Boeing 767s.

On their website, they state they are committed to getting it right this time, because their attention to detail “is focused on the tiniest mechanical check and even the cobalt blue stitching on Seat 17B.”

Eastern Checks In
Perhaps then it’s no coincidence that, when it came to attaining full-service cargo support on the ground in Guayaquil, the new Eastern checked in first with PrimeAir, Ecuador’s most established GSSA (General Sales & Service Agent).

“This is very good news for us,” says Prime Group CEO Roger Paredes. “With our significant presence in New York, this will provide even greater capacity into JFK, allowing us to further expand our business in New York, as well.”

The GSSA agreement with Eastern Airlines was signed in late January in time to begin cargo service on Feb. 1. PrimeAir is one of four Prime Group companies that include Prime Logistics, Prime Fresh Handling, and Prime Fresh Products – all of which operate throughout the U.S., Ecuador, Colombia and Europe.

PrimeAir is looking forward to filling the widebody bellies of Eastern’s once-weekly passenger flights with such specialized cargo as fish from coast of Ecuador, tropical fruits, and of course flowers from Quito and Cuenca.

And with Eastern’s strategy of continuing to open up flights to other underserved markets, it would appear the sky’s the limit for potential new growth – for both companies.

For nearly 20 years, PrimeAir has been providing the GSSA services in Latin America for some of the biggest players in air cargo – such as Atlas Air and Emirates SkyCargo, just to name a few. In fact, Ecuador is PrimeAir’s historic base of operations, where it all started in 2001.

What We Do Best
Closely supervising the action on the ground in Ecuador, PrimeAir’s team there has decades of experience handling perishables that make up a significant portion of the market. They benefit from being part of the Prime Group, a network of coordinated cargo and freight specialists with offices and representatives worldwide, in making cargo services, operations, handling, and accounting easy and reliable for airlines working across the globe.

Today’s Eastern Airlines is an entirely different company than the Eastern Air Lines of old. It is born out of a charter company called Dynamic Airways based outside of Philadelphia, in Wayne, Pa.

The carrier currently has eight aircraft, all of which are various models of the Boeing 767. The new livery is a unique design inspired by the local colors and geography of the destinations they will serve.

With a new slogan of “Go Eastern,” PrimeAir is ready to go along for the ride!

Prime Group’s Long Affair With Valentine’s Day

If you’re involved in any sector of the fresh-cut flower business and you’re reading this right now – get back to work!

Although we’re just moving out of the peak Valentine’s Day period, January 25 through February 7, there’s still a lot of work to be done. With International Women’s Day around the corner, the clock is ticking and there’s little time to rest.

But all kidding aside, I’m glad you’re here, because it gives me an opportunity to say thanks to all of our freight forwarders with whom we get to work so closely this time of year, and to our shippers and air carriers who so depend on us.

I’m also grateful for the passion for perfection exhibited by our team of dedicated hard-working employees who continue to do what they do best – especially over the past few weeks.

The monstrously high volumes we are presently handling is nearly unimaginable for the typical consumer. But we’re used to it. We’ve been working with perishables for so long, it’s become second nature to expect nothing less – and to provide nothing short of perfection.

So hats off to the dedicated folks in our two divisions that play such an integral role in preparing, shipping, and delivering such delicate and highly time-sensitive product as fresh-cut flowers – PrimeAir and Prime Fresh Handling. Our customers depend on you and you deliver every day.

This is also the time of year that my business partner Omar Zambrano and I pay homage to the company’s core business of providing top-line logistics support for the flower industry. Since day one, shipping roses and other fresh-cut flowers from South America to the U.S., and now Europe and beyond, has been our main focus.

In fact, flowers are the very reason Prime Group exists today – and continues to succeed. They are the seed that started it all, and that are allowing the company to thrive and strategically expand into other profitable business and product lines.

It’s a busy time. It’s an exciting time. And there’s always time to say thank you.

So thanks! And Happy Valentine’s Day!

Helping to Make Life’s Little Moments the Biggest

It goes without saying that Valentine’s Day is the most romantic day of the year – a time to show that special someone just how much they mean to you. Most often, it comes down to a beautiful little moment on this one special day, perfectly accentuated with a breathtaking bouquet of long-stem roses.

And then it is done. Mission accomplished – for the thousands of people behind the scenes, as well, who have toiled for weeks to ensure this exact moment goes without a hitch. People like the team of professional employees at Prime Fresh Handling and PrimeAir.

For them, however, the biggest moment all year is a 17-day stretch of time, from Jan. 20 to Feb. 7. It’s that small window during which they tap into their years of expertise to expertly manage the myriad logistical complexities in transporting millions of pounds of Valentine’s Day flowers – from source country to the florist, just in time for Feb. 14.

Growing Demand
Valentine’s Day is big business. There’s no question about it. And the role these dedicated workers play is crucial to supporting the every-growing demand for fresh flowers. Valentine’s Day sales for 2020 is expected to reach $27.4 billion in the U.S. alone – an increase of $6.7 billion dollars in sales from 2019.

So how are the numbers stacking up for PrimeAir and Prime Fresh Handling? Business is on a continuous upward swing. In fact, according to Regional Sales Director Jose Luis Suarez, one of the primary indicators is the volume of shipments coming out Bogota – the rose capital of the world and primary supplier of the U.S. Valentine’s Day market. In terms of tonnage, he says the Prime team fully expects to see an increase of 15 percent into Miami.

“On any given week, we operate about six cargo flights per week, but in order to meet the heightened demand, we’ve significantly boosted capacity leading up to Valentine’s Day. Over this peak 17-day period, we’ve been carrying literally triple the volume we normally handle, with about 48 total flights,” he added.

That amounts to three B747s flights per day carrying 100,000 kilos of crated flowers per flight – the equivalent of more than 100 tons!

“And that’s just what we’re handling. Considering that multiple other handlers and carriers are also putting in extra capacity to handle the demand over this same time period,” Suarez added, “that’s a lot of rose petals!

Projections out of Quito are equally impressive. According to the Expoflores, the National Association of Producers and Exporters of Flowers of Ecuador, air shipment of flowers during this same period, Jan. 20 – Feb. 8, were also projected to be up year-over-year, by 6 percent to the U.S.; 9 percent to Europe and Russia; and 20 percent to “other” locations.

On the Horizon
Flowers from Ecuador primarily go to supply Europe demand, with PrimeAir operating two extra flights to Amsterdam for the Valentine’s period and four extra flights in advance of International Women’s Day, coming up in March.

The peak period for Women’s Day is Feb. 16-28. After that, shippers get a break until Mother’s Day, May 12, which means everyone in the industry will be super busy again the last week of April through May 4.

Well in excess of 20 million flowers from Colombia and Ecuador are planned be cut, gathered, and shipped during the 2020 Valentine’s Day/Women’s Day season.

For information about PrimeAir, Prime Fresh Handling, and the entire family of Prime Group companies, visit www.primegroup.aero.

Regional Sales Director Jose Luis Suarez may be reached in Quito via email at joseluis.suarez@primeair.aero, via cellphone at (593-9) 9 555-3195, or at (593-2) 281-8055, ext. 1006.