Air freight tonnage at Munich Airport has been climbing sharply since the first of January this year. The biggest chunk of shipments is still in the holds of passenger aircraft but the share of goods carried by freighters is gaining fast. This results in fewer consignments being trucked from MUC to other airports.
It’s the old chicken or the egg question, respectively pull vs. push discussion: Does market demand trigger more transport capacity or is upping capacity leading to more industry
Which one of these conflicting approaches applies to MUC is a topic scholars should investigate and ultimately answer. Maybe it’s even a combination of both. For the airport people only one aspect really counts – the bottom line, stats.
Getting on the radar
And these look extremely promising. According to Markus Heinelt, Director Cargo Development, MUC’s tonnage has leaped 7.6 percent in the 9 month period from 1 January first to October thirty-first 2014 in comparison by-year. While belly freight accounted for +5.6 percent, consignments brought in (or out) by freighters leaped 21.2 percent. “Particularly the main deck numbers are extremely encouraging,” raves Markus. To add: “Step by step our airport is getting on the radar of carriers that operate freighter aircraft.”
And what about the pull or push factor?
In this particular case a good deal speaks for the pull version, at least at first sight. This is confirmed by ABC’s Munich-based Sales Manager Walter Morris, who refers to the increased demand by forwarding agents that keep asking for main deck capacity to and from MUC. He also states “By operating either a 747-400F or the bigger 747-8F we met the demands of the local cargo community in southern Germany and parts of Austria”.
ABC is there to stay
While integrator flights increased steadily, line-haul cargo airlines had left Munich as result of the general economic downturn in the past. Things turned to the better again in 2013 with Cargolux started serving MUC, followed by Volga-Dnepr’s subsidiary Atran Airlines that commenced flying last January deploying P2F converted 737Fs on the Munich-Moscow route. Atran’s bigger sister ABC followed in May, serving the Bavarian capital once a week alternately with one of their 747-400Fs or 747-8Fs. The ABC frequencies were doubled by the end of October, with landings on Fridays and Saturdays in MUC. “At Moscow Sheremetyevo Airport, ABC’s intercontinental gateway, most exports coming, not only from MUC but from AMS, FRA, BSL and some other places in Europe are transferred to ongoing flights to the Far East, with only a limited number of consignments staying within Russia or the CIS states. “Depending on the capacity needed by forwarders we operate up to three flights per day on the Moscow-Shanghai route,” states Walter.
Reduced road traffic to FRA
The more cargo and passenger airlines are serving MUC the fewer road feeder services are needed to truck the shipments from Munich through half of Europe to get them loaded there onto all-cargo aircraft. “Three to four years ago about 75 percent of the entire cargo tonnage generated by the industry in southern Germany was trucked to other airports in western Europe,” says Heinelt. Thanks to growing main deck capacity, including the freighters operated by integrators, this figure has gone down to 65 percent in the meantime. Markus Heinelt: “This proves that we still have some work to do to offer the market additional main deck capacity.” Only then will agents located in southern Germany, Austria and the Czech Republic continue and increase consolidating their goods at MUC instead of having them trucked to other major airports.
Heiner Siegmund / Michael Taweel