NCA Sends Boeing’s Big 747-8F to Hahn Airport

Nippon Cargo Airlines (NCA) started serving Hahn with Boeing 747-8Fs, replacing their 747-400Fs which had been flying there up to now. This change would have been impossible if Hahn hadn’t enlarged their runway some time ago. Now, together with their customers, they are benefiting from this move.

Loading of NCA operated Boeing 747-8F at Frankfurt-Hahn airport  /  source: HHN
Loading of NCA operated Boeing 747-8F at Frankfurt-Hahn airport / source: HHN

NCA’s first 747-8F flight to Hahn last week was filled to the brim with shipments, airport officials confirmed. The following flights as well, they say.
The Japanese carrier serves the airport in the German state of Rhineland-Palatinate, four times per week. They all are round the world trips routed from Japan to the USA (Chicago), from there to Europe and finally back to Japan.

The equivalent of an additional flight
By changing equipment from Boeing 747-400F to the U.S. manufacturer’s larger 747-8F they add capacity to the market by roughly 60 tons each week. “Capacity-wise this equals an additional freighter flight with an Airbus A330F,” Head of Sales at Hahn, Christoph Goetzmann told CargoForwarder Global. That’s music to the ears of NCA’s  GSA Air Logistics Group, as Manager Frank Schlund confirms: “There is plenty of freight out there, so we don’t see any problem filling the extra space of around 15 tons offered by our client’s Boeing 747-8Fs each flight.” Frank goes on to say: “This way we can increase the flexibility of our ad-hoc and project business.”

Additional biz for VG Cargo
The GSA offers pick-ups of NCA consignments from all major German airports, transporting them to Hahn. “Mostly we receive BUPs or containers ready to go, but in addition there is also quite some loose cargo that we hand over to Hahn-based ground handler VG Cargo for further processing.” Comments by VG’s Managing Director, Nikolai Dinges: “The decision for the modern aircraft type is future-focused, provides advantages for their customers and is very positive for the freight business at Hahn.” “We are happy to support and accommodate the increase NCA’s cargo business,” he adds.
Three of NCA’s four weekly Hahn departures are routed to Malpensa from where they proceed to Tokyo’s Narita, while the remaining flight operates via Amsterdam back to Narita.

High loads in and out
Hahn’s Mr. Goetzmann stresses another point worth mentioning: “NCA operates under the fifth freedom of the air between Chicago and Hahn, which leads to high levels of incoming tonnage unloaded here and large export volumes flown to Japan.” This should lead to a much needed upturn of his airport’s cargo figures that went down during the last couple of years. Air China Cargo’s recent decision to land some of their freighters at Hahn, followed by NCA’s capacity increase are encouraging glimmers of hope for the airport that had suffered from declining traffic figures in recent years. They indicate that 24/7 operating Hahn is not just substituting Frankfurt, Amsterdam or other major airports, but is on its way to becoming an alternative site for cargo traffic in Germany and Central Europe, stresses Christoph.

More has to come
However, for energetic Goetzmann the recent upping of cargo traffic and tonnage can only be the beginning of a more promising future. “We highly welcome the latest developments, but more business has to consequently follow.”
Hahn’s Managing Director Markus Bunk points out that in addition to NCA, Silk Way and Atlas Air already operate Boeing’s largest freighter aircraft on routes to and from Hahn. This positive transition from smaller to larger aircraft and from older to more modern equipment would not have been possible if “we would not have expanded our runway last year by adding a so called RESA zone,” the executive notes. This Runway End Safety Area is necessary for larger freighters such as the Boeing 747-8F to safely operate at Frankfurt-Hahn Airport.

Good taxpayer
Hahn is jointly owned by the states of Rhineland-Palatinate (82.5%) and Hesse (17.5%). The politicians support an early privatization of the place. Although still in the red, Hahn pays yearly taxes in the amount of €96 million euros and secures well over 3,000 jobs.

Heiner Siegmund

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