Munich Keen on ABC 747-8 Freighter Flights

That’s quite a leap in capacity! In January, ABC subsidiary ATRAN commenced serving Munich in cooperation with TNT by operating Boeing 737 freighters to the Bavarian capital. Only five months later parent AirBridge Cargo follows by putting a mighty Boeing Jumbo 747-8F on the Munich route, thus complementing ATRAN’s four weekly 737 freighter flights.

Soon en route to Munich – ABC operated Boeing 747-8F  /  source: hs
Soon en route to Munich – ABC operated Boeing 747-8F / source: hs

Markus Heinelt, Munich’s Director for developing cargo traffic, reacted enthused when asked by CargoForwarder Global about the upcoming weekly ABC flight. “The carrier’s decision to strengthen its presence at our airport evidences that main deck capacity providers like ABC put us increasingly on their map.” The industry in southern Germany is burgeoning and consumer spending goes up, so it’s no surprise that additional uplift capacity is demanded by the market. “We were asked by local forwarders to put one of our Jumbo freighters on the Munich route, thus linking Bavaria with Moscow and – more importantly – the Fareast,” stated an ABC manager. Once accomplished, an additional option for airlifting goods is offered to the industry, thus extending Munich’s existing intercontinental all-cargo network operated by FedEx or Cargolux, with the latter connecting Munich with the U.S. to assure the timely delivery of components and automotive parts for the different variants of the X-series car maker BMW assembles at their Spartanburg, South Carolina production plant. 

Markus Heinelt, MUC Airport
Markus Heinelt, MUC Airport

Robert’s first official mission as ABC Executive
According to information obtained by CFG, the initial ABC 747-8F flight is slated to take place on 9 May with the carrier’s newly appointed Senior VP Marketing & Sales Robert van de Weg coming over from his office in Luxembourg to welcome the arrival of the Munich freighter.

The targeted new 747-8F services come on top of the four weekly ATRAN frequencies that will not be downscaled. These are conducted in close cooperation with package delivery firm TNT and utilized by the integrator to feed and de-feed its main hub in Liege in Belgium’s Walloon Province. The 737 aircraft that links Moscow Sheremetyevo Airport with Munich and Liege is capable of loading ten tons per flight.

Currently, ATRAN operates two 737 freighters which soon must be equipped with the modernized 7.1 version of the Traffic Collision Avoidance System – TCAS. Doing this is mandated by the EU Commission for all aircraft with a maximum takeoff weight of over 5,700 kilograms. Or else they risk to be banned from European skies. In Atran‘s case a contract has meanwhile been signed with Dutch provider Fokker Services to install the latest TCAS technology.

Wolfgang Meier, Head of Sales at ABC and Volga-Dnepr
Wolfgang Meier, Head of Sales at ABC and Volga-Dnepr

ABC takes one step at a time
The upcoming service to Bavaria is yet another step ABC is taking to strengthen its presence in Germany and Central Europe. This is best illustrated by the carrier’s double daily flights operated in and out of Frankfurt by deploying either 747-400Fs or 747-8Fs. Only since recently, one of these flights is routed onwards to Chicago O’Hare, a service enabled by a bilateral traffic agreement between Berlin and Moscow that allows German cargo carriers more trans-Siberian flights and ABC up to three weekly transatlantic services from Frankfurt to the U.S. according to the fifth freedom rights. “We’ll proceed cautiously by taking one step at a time,” noted ABC’s Sales Chief Wolfgang Meier recently in a discussion with CFG.


Heiner Siegmund