Cargo on the Upswing at MUC

Additional lower deck capacity due to increased passenger flights in combination with growing interest of carriers to operate freighters in and out of Munich are positive signals for the coming months. If things develop as they seem to, MUC will see a record cargo throughput in 2014.

Munich expects air freight to move into the fast track soon  /  source: MUC Airport
Munich expects air freight to move into the fast track soon / source: MUC Airport

Markus Heinelt is very confident. “At Munich we are currently in advanced talks with a number of all-cargo aircraft operators to have them integrate our airport in their network.” The Director Traffic Development Cargo does not reveal any names due to the ongoing negotiations but hints that he’s very confident to welcome some new main deck capacity providers soon.

Currently Munich reports 64 weekly landings and departures of scheduled full freighter operations with the integrators accounting for most of the MUC flights. For example, FedEx Express, a subsidiary of U.S. giant FedEx Corporation which deploys a Triple Seven freighter on the Munich route for some time, is linking the Bavarian Capital four times a week with the package delivery giant’s main hub in Memphis, Tennessee. “By putting our Triple Seven freighter on the Munich route we not only offer clients the fastest mode of intercontinental transport on this sector but enable forwarders and shippers also to load shipments of up to 1,000 kilograms on board the aircraft,” states Drazan Jerkovic, FedEx Expresses’ Senior Central European Manager for Gateway Operations. Having said this he adds that 99 percent of all goods flown out of Munich can reach their final destinations in the U.S. overnight, thanks to FedEx’s dense domestic network in North America, including road feeder services.

These time definite flows of goods fit the needs of the strong Bavarian exporting industry, predominantly car makers like BMW or Audi, but also machinery producers, suppliers of electrical engineering and members of the local chemical industry. Since the business of most of these enterprises is flourishing, backed by high export figures month after month, “Bavaria as an important industrial location is playing an ever increasing role within our global network,” emphasizes manager Jerkovic. 

However, although growing constantly, freighter traffic still plays a minor role at Southern Germany’s largest gateway. It is still, the case that the largest portion of shipments is flown in the holds of passenger aircraft. This trend is set to continue as a glance at the forthcoming summer schedule reveals. “Four highly interesting intercontinental routes will be added to our existing services – Houston, Shanghai, Toronto and Mexico City,” announces Markus. They are complimented by increased frequencies on a number of existing sectors.

Markus Heinelt  /  source: MUC Airport
Markus Heinelt / source: MUC Airport

In view of this favorable outlook it doesn’t take much fantasy to predict that MUC is well on its way to set new cargo records in 2014, presumably clearly surpassing the 288,000 metric tons of exports and imports loaded or unloaded at the airport last year. This figure however, is only half the truth since additional 213,000 tons carried by road haulage companies should be aggregated. 
In January, AirBridge Cargo has opened a station in Munich, thus reinforcing its presence in the German air freight market. The carrier serves MUC five times a week by deploying 747-400F equipment. “After we have established these services we intend to expand our presence since Munich has become an important cornerstone in our strategy to further penetrate the market,” states ABC’s local Head of Sales Andrey Andreev.

His and other carrier’s forward-driving strategy is based on figures published by industrial associations. According to statistics the automotive sector outgrew Germany’s total industrial production in recent years by 35 percent. This trend is expected to continue throughout the current year. Likewise, other industries are confident as well. “All indicators point towards growth,” says President Anton Boerner of the Federation of German Wholesale, Foreign Trade and Services (BGA). This is supported by the renowned IFO Institute that takes a more holistic view on the economy. Munich-based IFO expects the world economy to increase by 4.8 percent in 2014 (1.9% in 2013). This long-awaited economic recovery will be driven by the Asian tiger economies Hong Kong, South Korea, Singapore, and Taiwan but also cross over to traditional industrialized countries, predominantly the U.S. and Europe, predict the IFO analysts.

“All of these important passenger and cargo markets are linked directly by air with Munich Airport, that’s why we expect to capitalize on growing air freight volumes in the months ahead,” optimistic Markus states. 


Heiner Siegmund