PrimeAir Thinks Global, Acts Local

The spread of COVID-19 is taking a particularly heavy toll on Colombia and its major economic centers, including Bogota where PrimeAir has a significant presence.

Here in Latin America’s third biggest economy, the unemployment rate is still hovering near 16 percent as economic activity shrunk by 17 percent in the second quarter of 2020. Compared with where the country was during the first months of the pandemic, there is reason for optimism.

Yet there’s still a long way to go, provided that the pandemic is relatively short-lived and the community hangs onto hope—and each other.

“For months now, the government and private sector have been looking at ways to strengthen the national economy, get us through this crisis intact, and get back to the promise of a bright future,” says Jose Luis Vargas, Commercial Manager for PrimeAir in Bogota.

To promote stability and economic development in Colombia, he says the answer is to think globally and act locally. For PrimeAir and its parent company Prime Group, that means continually adapting to the ongoing changes impacting the global supply chain, pursuing emerging market opportunities worldwide, and focusing on what the company and its people do best—provide world-class logistics support to local industries including fruits, fresh fish, aircraft engines, and most importantly, flowers.

“We are truly proud to be able to play such an important part in sustaining business in these important sectors. By working closely with our vendors and cargo airline partners, we are ensuring that our local shippers and forwarders have unfettered access to the capacity they need to continue supporting the farmers, producers, and manufacturers in the region,” says Vargas.

Committed to Keep Flying

Certainly, the surest sign of PrimeAir’s commitment to the market, its customers, and the people of Colombia, was its dogged determination to maintain uninterrupted operations, even in the immediate aftermath of the coronavirus break out.

As the general sales & service agent (GSSA) for Atlas Air in Bogota, it fell upon PrimeAir to ensure their daily B747s continued providing lift in the market, at a time when most carriers abandoned their regular schedules and rotations to go elsewhere for more profitable short-term business.

According to Vargas, “Atlas Air depends on PrimeAir’s expert abilities and long-time boots on the ground, and we deliver.”

PrimeAir currently handles six B747-400 freighter flights per week between BOG and MIA (Tuesday through Sunday); and two additional segments that operate BOG-MIA-AMS (on Wednesdays and Saturdays). In September, PrimeAir celebrated its fourth year of operation with Atlas Air in Colombia.

Rosy Economy

Prior to the sudden and devastating impact of the pandemic on the global economy, Colombia was on a solid path of growth, expecting to top the list of “30 countries preferred for investment by foreigners” published by the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development.

Relying on its rich natural resources, and other important solid sectors like fresh flowers and agriculture, Colombia was anticipating continued prosperity through 2020 and well beyond, a trend that observers remain confident will continue.

Key to the promise of national recovery is Bogotá’s El Dorado International Airport, the largest airport in Latin America in terms of cargo traffic. This major economic engine offering vast air connectivity is a major hub in PrimeAir’s global network. By servicing its many customers here, the company is also facilitating local trade, supporting economic competitiveness, and helping to increase productivity.

“The air cargo industry is a powerful catalyst for economic prosperity at the local level, ensuring delivery of farmers’ products to markets around the world and helping to sustain jobs and economic opportunity,” Vargas added. Of course it’s not just perishables; PrimeAir also supports a growing number aircraft engine overhaul and maintenance stations, transporting many of the industry’s largest aircraft power plants into and out of Colombia.

About PrimeAir

As the biggest GSSA in the country, PrimeAir sets the standard in on-time performance and is proud to deliver best-in-class service to Atlas Air, a global leader in the air transport of Colombian products.

PrimeAir combines extensive experience with local knowledge to ensure expert cargo sales and marketing services, operations, handling, and accounting for airlines across the globe including Atlas Air, Emirates SkyCargo, DHL Worldwide, and Eastern Airlines, among others.

PrimeAir benefits from being part of Miami-based Prime Group, a network of coordinated cargo and logistics specialists with offices, refrigerated and bonded warehouses, and certified handling facilities strategically located in Europe, South America, and the U.S.


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

bogota

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.

A perfectly balanced bouquet of service

Last month, Prime Group got wind of an opportunity to potentially expand operations in the flower-rich region of South America. This would be good news, as it would allow Prime Group to not only grow its network as a dedicated provider of operations, sales, and ground handling services – but to continue boost its brand here.

“To be able to expand into, Medellin, Colombia, for example would be an exciting prospect indeed, said Roger Paredes, CEO of Prime Group. “From a logistics and transport standpoint, it would be ideal to be in the three top flower-producing origins, by adding a second Colombian city.”

The world buys about $1.35 billion worth of Colombian flowers every year, making the country the world’s second largest producer of cut flowers after The Netherlands.

However, launching operations in a new city is no small task. Work on such a project would involve extensive outreach and examination, from meeting with flower farms and grower’s associations, to checking and double-checking whether a new airport would even be suitable.

“Everything from determining whether we could store the volume of pallets necessary, to warehousing and cooler capacity would need to be looked at,” said Paredes.

But for Prime Group, opening the door to Medellin would allow the company to achieve a long-awaited goal of market expansion in Colombia. “We would love to cross Medellin off our bucket list,” he said.

Responsibilities here would mirror those in Bogota and Quito, in that Prime Group subsidiary PrimeAir would supervise all operations and customer service on the ground, Paredes added, “With an eye on safety and quality of service, we ensure everything goes smoothly, supervising all the vendors – and managing all aspects of cargo transport.”

Quito, Bogota, and Medellin would be a perfectly balanced bouquet of service.