DHL now transporting some packages from LAX to downtown in helicopter

DHL
Global Shipping giant DHL has had enough of Los Angeles traffic.

So what’s it doing? The company says it has contracted with a helicopter operator to transport time-sensitive packages from Los Angeles International Airport to downtown. DHL says the newish service will help guarantee that some packages can arrive by 9 a.m.

A DHL truck meets the helicopter at a downtown heliport and transports the packages the rest of the way.

DHL is using a Eurocopter AS355 operated for DHL by Helinet of Van Nuys. According to the company, it can transport more than 350 kg of cargo. That’s about 800 pounds for all you Americans out there.

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James Cromwell will jump into shipping crate Monday at LAX to protest animals as cargo

PETA is planning another LAX protest on Monday over monkeys. Photo: An airport source.

PETA is planning another LAX protest on Monday over monkeys. Photo: An airport source.

Actor James Cromwell will insert his 6-foot, 7-inch body into a shipping crate on Monday at Los Angeles International Airport to protest Air France’s policy of accepting live animal as cargo.

Air France is among the only major international airlines that ships monkeys as cargo, according to PETA. The animal rights group says Air France shipped more than 5,500 monkeys to the United States last year. In February, PETA organized a similar protest against China Southern. 

“The real horror story is the pain and terror of the monkeys in Air France’s cargo holds beneath the feet of unsuspecting passengers,” Cromwell said in a release. “My friends at PETA and I are telling Air France that cruelty shouldn’t fly and that the airline needs to join the rest of the industry in refusing to deliver primates to their deaths in laboratories.”

The protest will happen at noon Monday at the Tom Bradley International Terminal. You might want to stop by if you’re in the area. It should be scene.

Monkey2

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Why now is not a good time to operate all cargo airplanes

It's becoming more difficult for all cargo airplanes -or freighters -- to make money.  Photo: Your blogger.

It’s becoming more difficult for all cargo airplanes -or freighters — to make money. Photo: Your blogger.

Airlines are having a difficult time filling space on their all-cargo jets, according to a recent report in the Sydney Morning Herald.

What’s the problem?

There a couple of things, according to reporter Matt O’Sullivan. One is that the goods, such as electronics, that we love to buy are no longer manufactured in just handful of places. Instead, there are now manufacturing centers across China and Southeast Asia. If airlines want to carry the goods on freighters, they have to send their planes to cities they never would have considered a decade ago. That can work, but it’s expensive to do.

”Before, we could just sit here in Hong Kong and the trucks just came over the border from the Pearl River Delta – that was the factory of the world. It is still the factory of the world but there are now other factories of the world,” Cathay Pacific cargo director James Woodrow told the newspaper. That can mean sending freighters to Bangladesh, Vietnam and Cambodia.

The other problem? There’s an imbalance in supply and demand. All-cargo jets aren’t the only types of planes that can transport goods. Any widebody airplane can haul cargo between continents, as I noted last year in a story on how airlines transport fresh produce from L.A. to Europe and Asia. 

O’Sullivan notes that Middle Eastern and Asian carriers have been adding to their widebody passenger fleets. And while those airlines are mostly in the passenger business, cargo helps them eek out a little extra profit.

“The cheapest way to carry cargo is in the belly of passenger jets whose objective is to get their valuable human cargo to their destinations,” O’Sullivan writes. “Freight in the belly of a passenger plane is icing on the cake for an airline, often making the difference between it making money on a flight or not.”

These market changes have led Cathay Pacific and Singapore Airlines to park some of their planes, according to the story. “Singapore Airlines has four 747-400 jumbos parked at Victorville,” O’Sullivan writes.

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LAX: Fresh flowers are big business for airlines

Many of the flowers you buy at your local flower shop arrive by air. Photo: Associated Press.

Many of the flowers you buy at your local flower shop arrive by air. Photo: Associated Press.

Ever wonder how those fresh flowers make it to shops across the Los Angeles region?

Many of them come by air, arriving on passenger and cargo flights at Los Angeles International Airport. According to U.S. Customs and Border Protection, CBP officers processed 867.2 million cut flower stems nationwide during last year’s “Valentine’s Day” season, which runs from Jan. 1 to Feb. 14. Miami processes the overwhelming majority of those flowers.

CBP said it was expecting about 43 million flowers to come through LAX for this Valentines Day. About 65 percent of the flowers come from Colombia, while another 21 percent come from Ecuador, according to CBP.

The top arrival? You guessed it. It’s roses.

Photo: U.S. Customs and Border Protection.

Photo: U.S. Customs and Border Protection.

The problem with these flower shipments, according to CBP, is that South American pests can burrow themselves inside of them, which can be bad for U.S. agriculture. CBP says it “intercepted” 206 pests last year. Nationwide, those bad pests include Aphididae (Aphids), Frankliniella (Thrips), Noctuidae (moths), Agromyzidae (Miner Flies) and Tetranychus (mites).

If you’re interested in more information on flower imports, Scott Mayerowitz of the Associated Press has a great story up today.

“Heat is the enemy,” Mayerowitz wrote. “When a plane touches down in Miami, the flowers are rushed to a nearby warehouse where a parade of forklifts carry them into giant coolers — really rooms — set at 35 degrees. Every time the giant cooler doors open up, fog rolls out as the frigid air hits the Florida humidity.”

Flowers

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