“All Nippon 941, cleared to land and – welcome to Dusseldorf!”
With this initial greeting the tower controller at DUS International welcomed the crew of this ANA flight. It was almost a historical moment last week since there hasn’t been a scheduled flight between Tokyo and Dusseldorf for almost a quarter of a century. Instead, passengers had to transfer somewhere along this route, a fate each cargo shipment was also sharing. Quite an incomprehensible situation since Dusseldorf is the European city of choice for Japanese citizens to live and work.
This aspect was emphasized by the airport’s Managing Director Thomas Schnalke in his welcome address to the many hons and guests attending the opening ceremony at DUS on the occasion of the first landing of ANA’s Boeing Dreamliner 787. “More than 500 Japanese enterprises have their European headquarters in North Rhine-Westphalia, of which 480 are located in Dusseldorf and the metropolitan area of our city,” stated Herr Schnalke. He went on to say that world-renowned brands such as Canon, Fujifilm, Mazda, Toyota, Nissan, Toshiba, Sony, NEC or Yamaha are based there, turning over €35bn per year and securing around 23,000 jobs.
“This new direct air link brings both cities closer together and improves the trading activities of our enterprises doing business in Europe,” enthused Japan’s Consul General, Kaoru Shimazaki in his welcome greeting. He further said that more than 10,000 of his compatriots are living in Dusseldorf and the surrounding areas, making the city the center of gravity for the Japanese industry within the EU.
Up to now roughly 50,000 passengers living in densely populated North Rhine-Westphalia traveled by air to Japan. So did thousands of tons of cargo that had to be trucked to AMS, FRA, LUX or CDG to be uplifted due to the absence of a direct air link.
DUS expects cargo to leap
“This daily service operated by ANA makes our site even more attractive for local exporters. This mainly because the running times of their consignments to their Japanese customers will be shortened substantially compared to the time consuming transport when goods are trucked from their production site gateways located hundreds of kilometers away,” states DUS Cargo’s Head of Marketing and Sales, Thomas Schuermann. The same accounts for imports from Japan bound to Germany that are distributed to the final customers right after arrival.
Although only a handful of flights have been conducted since ANA’s first landing, Dusseldorf’s Head of Communication Thomas Koetter estimates a yearly increase of cargo in the range of 10,000
tons at his airport due to the new intercontinental service. For his namesake Thomas Schuermann another aspect is even more important: “This flight puts us on the forwarding agent’s landscape for
cargo flows between our highly industrialized state North Rhine-Westphalia and Tokyo.” This is the main message sent by the ANA flight to the industry, he concludes.