BRUSSELS: Russia says it is considering applying an overflight ban in response to the latest round of EU sanctions announced on September 12. The move could affect the Apple iPhone 6 launch in Europe slated for September 19.
Cargolux is now flying three times a week between Luxembourg and Zhengzhou, capital of China's Henan province, where Apple's contract manufacturer Foxconn produced over 95 million iPhones last year.
Since June, the Luxembourg airline has reportedly been stopping for fuel at Novosibirsk, southern Siberia (right) on flights from Zhengzhou. A Russian ban could mean a more costly routing via Kazakhstan, Azerbaijan or carrying less payload for a non-stop flight. Alternate Apple options that regularly use Novosibirsk include AirBridgeCargo and Volga-Dnepr.
Another airline unlikely to be hit by any Russian ban is Air China - currently flying between Zhengzhou and Amsterdam three times a week over Kazakhstan, Russia and the Ukraine with either a B747 or B777 freighter.
The iPhone 6 launch coincides with a report from Greenpeace that says Apple is leading the consumer electronics sector in addressing its environmental footprint – ahead of rival Samsung, "who are failing to match Apple's leadership".
Assuming the logistics industry is successful in delivering them, sales of the most popular consumer electronics are forecast to reach 2.5 billion by the end of this year. Greenpeace says more than 50 percent of the mobile phone market, represented by Samsung, Apple and Nokia, is now free from the worst hazardous substances: Polyvinylchloride (PVC) and Brominated flame retardants (BFRs).
However Apple is the only company to have eliminated the use of PVC and BFRs in all its products: "Apple has shown us a glimpse of a greener future, leading the sector on toxic-free products and starting to address the huge environmental footprint of electronics manufacturing," said Greenpeace UK's head of IT, Andrew Hatton.
Noting that Samsung, Dell, Microsoft and Amazon "lag behind", Greenpeace says supply chain transparency and the elimination of all hazardous chemicals are key next steps for the industry: "Other sectors, such as textiles, have shown what is possible, offering a credible and applicable model for electronics companies to follow. Twenty global textile companies have now committed to eliminating all hazardous chemicals by 2020 and many are implementing changes throughout the supply chain from the products to manufacturing hubs like China," it notes.