After a slowdown in service due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Emirates SkyCargo is once again on course at Quito’s Mariscal Sucre International Airport, with three scheduled weekly frequencies to Amsterdam and Dubai – and plans to add one more.
According to José Luis Suárez, PrimeAir’s South America Regional Sales Director based in Quito (UIO), this come back is welcome news for local shippers, freight forwarders, and his other customers in the region.
Before the pandemic hit, PrimeAir was supporting the operation of four regular flights from UIO to Amsterdam (AMS) and Dubai (DXB), Emirates’ main hub with connections across the entire Emirates SkyCargo network.
As its general sales and service agent (GSSA) in Ecuador, PrimeAir and Emirates SkyCargo (EK) have been working closely together since EK first entered the market in 2013. PrimeAir provides in-country sales, marketing, and accounting for Emirates SkyCargo, in addition to specialized airport services such as warehouse supervision and ULD control.
But, according to Suárez, as the coronavirus crisis grew, so did demand for service to transport medical equipment and supplies. In March and April, regularly scheduled service in multiple markets was interrupted – and not just for Emirates SkyCargo. Nearly all cargo carriers worldwide were re-allocating their capacity – and humanitarian commitment – to countries hardest hit by the virus.
Flash forward to August, and only now are service patterns getting back to normal, which Suárez says is very good news for shippers of non-medical material – especially among Ecuador’s vast floriculture industry.
“Even as the impact of the virus was hitting markets hard, there was still a demand for fresh-cut flowers, and product was available. But there were only limited options available to move it.”
To help meet the capacity challenge at UIO, PrimeAir stepped up with unique solutions to support its customers throughout Ecuador – first by successfully arranging interline shipments with AtlasAir to AMS through April.
As available capacity started to come back on line, PrimeAir received its first offering of Emirates SkyCargo service at UIO with Boeing 777ER passenger aircraft, also called PFs (Passenger Freighters). Interline and PF service continued weekly until early June when pure B-777F freighters were reintroduced and added to this mix of service on SkyCargo’s standard routes.
Presently, three freighters flights (B777F) operate weekly, departing UIO on Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Sundays with direct flight to AMS.
Looking forward to returning to pre-pandemic levels of service, Suárez is hopeful that by mid-August a fourth frequency departing Fridays will be added.
“It has been a time of ups and downs, but I know that our clients are grateful for the unconditional support of both Emirates SkyCargo and PrimeAir in the Ecuadorian market,” he added.
“We understand that the investment in bringing empty flights to UIO was high, but the effort was not in vain because our goal is to preserve the long-term relationship with our customers.” PrimeAir also has served as the designated GSSA for Emirates SkyCargo in Colombia, since Summer 2018.
Emirates SkyCargo, the freight division of Emirates, is the largest international airline cargo operator in the world. With an unrivalled route network, the carrier connects cargo customers to 155 cities across six continents and operates in many of the world’s fastest developing markets.
Besides supporting the floriculture sector, Emirates SkyCargo exports other perishables such as mangoes and baby bananas from Ecuador to markets such as Germany, the Netherlands, Hong Kong, and Singapore.
Emirates SkyCargo’s modern fleet of extended-range widebody freighters have controlled temperature zones set up inside the aircraft ensuring that perishable shipments travel at the right temperature.
For more on Emirates SkyCargo, visit https://www.skycargo.com/network/air/
PrimeAir benefits from being part of Miami-based Prime Group, a network of coordinated logistics specialists with offices and representatives worldwide.