Air Cargo Germany, the German freight carrier which went down in April of 2013, is rumored to be preparing itself for a "new birth" and pulling itself back onto the international airfreight scene
as of mid March this year.
Generally speaking, in the past, carriers which went down as fast as ACG did last year are not usually successful in rising again out of the ashes in such a short period of time.
However, rumors abound with the news that they will reappear in the skies again very soon under the name of “Air Cargo Global“ - another “ACG!“
CargoForwarder has tried to gather information as to what is, or could be ”fact or fiction“ in ACG‘s case!
The story is that the new ACG plans to operate with one of the two aircraft which both originated from China Airlines fleet, were operated by ACG and are now still parked at Hahn Airport, their previous operating base. The second aircraft should, if all goes well, then follow at a later date! These are the two remaining Boeing 747F‘s out of an original fleet of four aircraft. The others belonged to Martinair and were handed back after ACG's demise in 2013.
Who is then meant to be behind this investment?
"Air Cargo Global" - and not "Air Cargo Germany" is the apparent "new investor" and is reported to be a company registered in the Republic of Slovenia and headed by one time Aeroflot cargo boss, Andrey Goryashko, who strangely enough was also involved in the original build up of Air Cargo Germany.
Assuming that the old ACG debts will have to be written off in the insolvency proceedings, where would an expected €20 - €30 million needed to refinance and "refurbish" a carrier with at least two freighters come from?
Definitely not in part from Hahn Airport or the State of Rhineland-Palatinate who each had to write off a €5 million loan they‘d made to the defunct ACG in the past!
Air Cargo Global, which is perceived to be a registered Slovakian company, could then in effect register (both) aircraft under a Slovakian Aircraft Operators Certificate (AOC).
This was thought about before when the Afghani carrier SAFI Airlines was refused operating rights into the European Community under Afghanistan registration and considered re-registering their aircraft under the Slovakian AOC. Something which did not happen by the way.
Would this also allow the carrier operations out of Germany?
Has all of this been put into motion as mid-March is more or less just around the corner?
Operations out of Frankfurt's Rhine-Main instead of Hahn?
Reliable sources have informed CargoForwarder that the "new ACG" is opting for operations out of FRA and not out of HHN.
Reference is made to apparent Chinese shipper reluctance to move goods via HHN due to "long, too costly and unreliable trucking times" from the airport situated between Frankfurt and Cologne and which was, and still used by many other freight operators.
Does this view make sense?
Christoph Goetzmann, Director of Business Development at Hahn Airport touched on this very subject during the Hahn New Year reception in January. He stated that Hahn is ideally situated with its new road and airport infrastructure for all freighter operations; however he added, "that we must rethink our strategy somewhat in order to make our service even more attractive and to bring this message to shippers in the Far East" who in his view may well be partly misinformed on Hahn's capabilities.
A valid point! Considering the present unrest at FRA due to lengthy truck load / unload times and extra costs for handlers and truckers alike.
Hahn might be further away from FRA, but we've not heard lately that the airport suffers under truck and handling drawbacks or protests by residents.
Then there is the cost side of it all!
If ACG were to get up and running, then why FRA and not HHN?
CargoForwarder is not promoting one or the other, however, would not a basic cost picture show HHN as being more attractive for the carrier at the end of the day?
Handling costs / slot times / moving the cargo off the apron etc., etc.
On top of all this, we hear that ACG plans to operate with one aircraft (maybe two) on the Dubai / Hong Kong route, one which is a nightmare regarding eastbound rates and still hard fought on the westbound sector.
Does the market warrant or need yet another all freighter operation in this sector?
If so, then that would be a sign of a real market pick up.
Will costs of an operation from FRA or even HHN versus incomes doom this venture before it started?
Operations cannot be with aircraft showing the present ACG livery since they are insolvent and normal costs to repaint the tail and body of a B747F are in the range of € 50 thousand each.
Air Cargo Global - is also an "ACG" - so removing the "Germany" and replacing it with "Global" might only cost a couple of thousand.
Cost saving from the start?
John Mc Donagh