ATS- Aviation Training Solutions, with its base situated in Neu-Isenburg, just a stone‘s throw from Frankfurt-Airport claims to have one of
the largest and most successful training facilities for aircargo handling and security training in Germany.
It is broadening its horizons and also announces the planned majority takeover of one of FRA‘s most well known airline security companies.
In order to delve more into this theme, CargoForwarder met with ATS Managing Director, Yvonne Nuechter and her team.
Mrs Nuechter, born 1982 in Fulda, started her initial air cargo training as assistant to the General Manager of Aviapartner, Frankfurt. A position which she held for five years before moving to take over the responsibility for ATS which is a 100% daughter company of the Wisskirchen Handling Group and was formed in 2007 at Frankfurt Airport‘s Cargo City South.
The Wisskirchen Group moved its offices to Neu Isenburg in 2011 with the aim of bringing its various business models, including ATS, under one roof.
This resulted in ATS being able to widen its training facilities whereby over 75 trainees can be schooled at the same time by the ATS team of trainers.
On top of this, the team took over their own 500 sqm “trainer warehouse” equipped with all needed, such as dummy pallets, forklifts etc, to ensure a professional palletization course along with an in-house “diametrical mock up” of a Boeing 747 freighter which they developed themselves.
The past year was a good one for ATS
Despite 2013 being generally a tough year for the aircargo scene, ATS informs us that almost 800 trainees were schooled that year and that 89% of those were either employed by Wisskirchen or taken on by other companies at the airport.
Apart from the Wisskirchen Group who employ many of those schooled, ATS prides itself on its “outside customer portfolio” which includes such companies as Lufthansa Cargo, LAN Chile, Aviapartner, WISAG, Swissport, LH‘s time matters, Worldwide Flight Services, Egypt Air Cargo and others.
Alongside FRA - ATS also has training facilities at Munich and Cologne airports, although the Neu-Isenburg set up is the largest of all three.
Yvonne Nuechter states that “we are in constant touch with companies who are on the lookout for well trained cargo personnel and whom we can supply through our schooling system.” She goes on to say that “an important aspect of our portfolio is that training refresher courses are part of the program and are put into motion on a regular basis.” The basic course stretches over a period of almost five weeks, including classroom and warehouse on the spot training.
It‘s not just correct cargo palletization that is of importance for a secure transport of air freight.
Security training on the job, especially with regards to X-ray systems is a must, Mrs Nuechter adds. In this respect ATS has for some time now brought this form of training into their system on behalf of the mother company and other clients. In order to effectively put this into motion, ATS formed its own security training team which is headed by an ex member of Fraport Security.
The future security scene demands new rules
The new European regulations stipulate that aircargo security be tightened considerably and that airline or handling staff be properly licensed for this.
The ATS basic training course runs for four weeks, whereby three of those are spent in the “classroom“ and taken up with all documentation and theory aspects and the final week is spent “on the floor” gaining practical experience on X-ray and other equipment.
Here, also, refresher courses are a must!
ATS management claims that their system is more effective than most of the present and partly state controlled training courses, which are on offer.
Wisskirchen will acquire ASA
In order to enhance this important aspect of their training program, Wisskirchen Logistics Ltd, through a signed Letter of Intent (LOI) will take a 60% majority share in ASA - Airline Services Agency, a company founded in 1988 at FRA and which offer airlines, regulated agents, airport and government authorities a wide range of passenger and cargo related security services.
ASA, who also have their offices in the Wisskirchen Group‘s building, employs approximately 100 staff who are well trained in all aspects of cargo and passenger security. Furthermore, they bring with them the most up-to-date security equipment from suppliers such as Smiths-Heimann as well as modern explosive trace detectors and sniffers.
This “joining of forces” is expected to be completed by the end of January.
Oliver Hellwig, Managing Director of the Wisskirchen Group adds that “the synergy effect of joining forces with ASA will considerably enhance the ATS training program and give both companies the means to widen their security profiles in the German market.”
In closing, Mrs Nuechter states “the last few years have been good to us all at ATS whereby we have been successful in expanding our training facilities and customer base.” However, this is no reason for us to sit back and relax. There is much to do in order to refine training processes even further and alongside this we should also decide this year on further new locations such as Hamburg or Leipzig.
CargoForwarder witnessed a truly dedicated team in Neu-Isenburg, so why should 2014 also not be a good year for ATS.
John Mc Donagh