Lightweight ULDs to cut TAP’s fuel bill

Portuguese flag carrier TAP Portugal expects to save more than €2·5m in fuel costs over the next four years by replacing its 3,500 Unit Load Devices for lightweight units as part of an outsourcing deal with CHEP Aerospace Solutions announced on October 6.
The Star Alliance member has agreed to transfer control of its existing ULDs to CHEP, which has committed to replace them with lightweight units over the coming months. As well as saving fuel, the significant reduction in container weight is expected to reduce TAP’s carbon emissions by 11 000 tonnes over the four-year contract term.
Having outsourced the maintenance of its ULDs to In Flight Solutions in 2012, TAP Portugal subsequently decided to outsource the entire management of its container fleet through an international tendering process. According to Lisbon Hub Director Jorge Pi Massip, ‘we were looking for a fully outsourced solution from a hands-on ULD management company that will provide us with significant cost savings and minimal intervention from our staff.’
Thanks to the synergies of integration with CHEP’s global pool, the partnership is expected to reduce TAP Portugal’s ULD fleet size by approximately 15%. Massip said the operator had ‘received excellent feedback from several CHEP customer airlines’ during the tender evaluation process.
CHEP Aerospace Solutions already manages ULDs for more than 30 airlines around the world. Its President Dr Ludwig Bertsch said ‘TAP Portugal’s destinations in Europe, Africa and South America are a perfect fit for our ULD pool, and the global coverage of our repair network of 50 stations will also minimise the costs of repositioning damaged ULDs. A dedicated account manager in Lisbon will ensure that TAP Portugal can focus on its core business of flying passengers and cargo whilst CHEP takes care of all ULD-related activities. We are confident that our partnership with TAP Portugal will deliver value to both parties.’
With a fleet of 77 aircraft, TAP currently flies to 88 destinations in 38 countries through its Lisbon hub, adding a further 11 cities during 2014. As well as linking Europe with Africa and North America, the airline is the leading international carrier operating to and from Brazil, where the introduction of routes to Manaus and Belém this year has brought the number of destinations served to 12.

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