Exclusive - Cologne Welcomes New Freighter Flights

Operator Demeter Air Services initiated flights between North Africa and Central Europe by deploying a BAe ATP freighter, capable of uplifting eight metric tons each departure. Co-loader is integrator UPS that is eager to expand its business in the Maghreb belt stretching from Tunisia to Morocco.

Tunisian Enfidha-Hammamet In’l Airport  /  company courtesy
Tunisian Enfidha-Hammamet In’l Airport / company courtesy

Cologne-Bonn Airport has welcomed a new cargo client: Since last Monday (12 January) West Atlantic AB, a Gothenburg, Sweden-based capacity provider, is linking the Tunisian Enfidha-Hammamet International Airport with Cologne-Bonn Airport in Germany’s North Rhine-Westphalia state by operating one of their BAe ATP freighter aircraft on this route.

Demeter manages the service
Responsible for the five weekly conducted flights that include stopovers in Malta is the Tunisian firm Demeter Air Services, confirmed to CargoForwarder Global by their Director-General Karim Stambouli. “We are liable for this service, the ground handling of the shipments at Enfidha-Hammamet International Airport here in Tunisia and the supervision of the flights,” states Karim.
Enfida Airport which opened in 2009 and is located around 150 kilometers south-east of the capital Tunis was chosen because “it’s very well equipped and easy to reach,” reasons the Demeter manager.
He emphasizes that any interested party can book capacity on board the aircraft, including any forwarder or package delivery firm. 

Image of West Atlantic BAe ATP freighter  /  source: West Atlantic
Image of West Atlantic BAe ATP freighter / source: West Atlantic

The flights fit into the Maghreb strategy of UPS
Despite this liberal sales philosophy it can be assumed that Demeter’s biz model is based on a deal with integrator UPS to contribute substantially to fill a good portion of the main deck of the aircraft with own express goods.
When asked, UPS ensures that it is not a scheduled flight operated on behalf of UPS or a new service based on a charter agreement signed by the integrator. All they say is that “we are utilizing the freighter’s capacity to optimize the existing connections linking northern Africa with our European network and to enhance our service quality in the express sector,” states Jan Heitmann, the U.S. integrator’s Manager Public Affairs Airport Operations at Cologne. But as said, utilizing the capacity is everyone’s own choice.
Jan adds that additional information can not be provided for competition reasons. However, it’s no secret that UPS intends to step up the own biz activities in the Arabian Maghreb region, where the U.S. express giant is not yet well represented. It can be assumed that the Enfidha-Cologne flight fits well into the integrator’s expansion strategy.
In case both the Tunisian and German markets react positively to the flight, the ATP freighter might soon be replaced by a Boeing 737F that would double the uplift capacity on this route.

Import stopovers at Malta
According to CGN cargo officials the fact that the flights from Germany to Tunisia are routed via Malta is of major advantage. “We see a lot of business potential particularly on the leg Cologne-Malta,” said a manager.
Responsible for filling the freighter with goods on southbound flights is the Dusseldorf station of general sales agent Air Logistic Group (ALG).

Heiner Siegmund

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