PrimeAir’s handling of oversized cargo is a heavy responsibility

When it comes to handling high-value, oversized cargo there is no margin for error. Especially when it’s a large commercial turbine engine – or an entire helicopter.

As Atlas Air’s general sales and service agent (GSSA) in Bogota, PrimeAir’s expert team on the ground knows well that working with such major payloads is no small task. It is a specialized skill that requires years of experience and knowledge of the critical nature of the cargo.

PrimeAir benefits from being part of Miami-based Prime Group Companies, a global logistics conglomerate with 20 years of experience in working with such heavy and oversized items. Ensuring the safe and reliable handling of aerospace equipment is just one of many services they provide as the GSSA for Atlas Air, but it certainly ranks among the highest in importance.

With a price tag for one single engine exceeding $20 million, and $3 million for a new rotorcraft off the line, it is critical that the operation goes perfectly.

Last month, Atlas Air was contracted to transport a 13-ton General Electric LM6000 engine from Los Angeles to Bogota (BOG), where PrimeAir’s crew would offload it. A gas-turbine derivative of the CF6 engine family that’s been the cornerstone of the widebody aircraft business, this particular version is used for marine propulsion of cruise ships and fast ferries… A big engine with big work ahead.

Upon arrival at BOG, the PrimeAir team used a ramp-side crane to delicately move the 26,000 lb. behemoth to a nearby trucking area where a wheeled flatbed trailer took over, by providing final delivery to the customer’s warehouse.

“Special cargo like this needs definitely gets special attention,” said José Luis Vargas, PrimeAir’s Commercial Manager at BOG. In fact, both the engine and the helicopter that was delivered in a separate operation were designated Dangerous Goods (DG). This meant that expert handlers were required at each of the points of origin to carefully inspect the outbound shipments to ensure their acceptance and transport on Atlas Air aircraft.

Point of origin of the helicopter was YQB, the Canadian airport serving Québec City – not far from where Bell manufactured this Bell 407 GXi rotorcraft destined for Colombia.

With a chargeable weight of approximately 10 tons, the seven-seat four-blade helicopter was disassembled for transport and shipped BOG where it was accepted ramp-side by PrimeAir. Once off the Atlas Air freighter, the payload was transported using a normal dolly to a trucking area for the continuation of its journey to the customer.

“Our customers know we’re the go-to experts for big logistics challenges like these. That’s because we’ve been doing specialized heavy-cargo work for decades – and not just for the aerospace industry. We also manage logistics for the transport of oil-industry equipment, construction equipment, and automotive parts and equipment.”

One of the premier carriers in PrimeAir’s portfolio, Atlas Air is not only one of the most important and reliable cargo airlines in the world, it is the company’s longest lasting customer. PrimeAir also offers sales and marketing, cargo services, operations, handling, and accounting.

While PrimeAir has been Atlas Air’s designated agent in BOG for three and a half years, the relationship between the two companies began 20 years ago, in support of Atlas Air’s freighter operations between Quito and Miami, which continues today.

For information, visit www.primeair.aero.

PrimeAir expands with Emirates at BOG

It’s always good to hear when a General Sales and Service Agent lands an agreement with an international cargo carrier – especially in today’s highly competitive environment.

But when a GSSA like PrimeAir gets to announce it is significantly expanding its South American operation due to a new agreement with Emirates SkyCargo, it’s a shout heard around the world.

“This is really big news,” says Roger Paredes, CEO of Miami-based Prime Group, under which PrimeAir operates. “Not just because it is a long and arduous process to be appointed as a GSSA, but because Emirates is so highly respected around the world.”

Emirates is consistently voted one of the world’s best airlines, and its SkyCargo division is ranked the largest cargo airline worldwide, just behind FedEx. Starting in August, the carrier will provide service (via Avianca) between Bogota and both Ft. Lauderdale and Orlando where cargo will connect with an Emirates B777 to Dubai International Airport and beyond. This new service complements Emirates’ existing schedule from neighboring Quito to Amsterdam and beyond.

“They are very selective who they work,” he added. “So when Emirates expanded into Bogota, naturally they went with PrimeAir, one of the best-known names in the Colombian freight-forwarding community.”

Actually, Sky Cargo was already quite familiar with the high caliber service PrimeAir provides. They were appointed as the carrier’s GSSA the day they began flying into Ecuador in 2013. Now, the time-tested relationship with Emirates is expanding here in Colombia.

“Emirates is obviously very pleased with how we’ve been performing,” Paredes continued. As a GSSA, PrimeAir will provide in-country sales, marketing, and accounting for SkyCargo, in addition to airport services such as warehouse supervision, and ULD control.

As a result of the new agreement, PrimeAir now has an opportunity to expand its own overall operation – and presence – at the Bogota station, where they have been serving as Atlas Air’s GSSA for more than two years.

“The airlines clearly see the top quality work we do for them – in fact, a very good job from the cargo sales side, filling up the planes,” noted Paredes. The cargo coming out of Colombia is 99 percent perishables, the majority of which is flowers – which continues to be the primary commodity for PrimeAir in Latin America since its founding in Quito in 2001.

“Being involved in this business for so many years, we have a name. When someone wants a GSSA in Ecuador, they think PrimeAir. And in Colombia, it is a similar story,” says Paredes. “Everyone always thinks of us here.”

But at the end of the day, it is a big feather in the cap of the entire PrimeAir team, to be able to say they represent an international carrier as prestigious as Emirates.

“Emirates is respected all around the world for their on-time performance and reputation as a well organized, professional operation. So to be aligned with such a company actually serves as selling point for us among our freight forwarder customers,” Paredes added.

“After all, as the saying goes, ‘you are judged by the company you keep’.”

PrimeAir serves to make cargo sales, operations, handling, and accounting easy and reliable for airlines operating across the globe. Based in Miami, the company benefits from being part of the Prime Group, a network of coordinated logistics and freight specialists with offices and representatives worldwide. For information, call 305-592-2044, email info@primeair.aero, or visit www.primeair.aero