The logistics subsidiary of Lufthansa, LH Cargo is opening a new cargo station at Germany’s Paderborn-Lippstadt as of June 15th.
Working closely with the airport, consignments made up from general cargo, express freight and dangerous goods (hazmat) will in the initial phase be handled there and trucked under LH flight numbers to the German carrier’s main base in Frankfurt.
“Our new service in Paderborn contributes to the further acceleration of imports and exports at the business location in Eastern Westphalia,” says Ulla Kuntze, Regional Director of Sales &
Freight Handling at Lufthansa Cargo.
LH Cargo’s two German hubs in Frankfurt and Munich give the carrier access to over 300 worldwide destinations.
We spoke with Managing Director Marc Cezanne of Paderborn-Lippstadt Airport about the role cargo plays at PAD:
Q: Up to now, PAD hasn’t been a big dot on the cargo landscape. This is obviously changing documented by LH Cargo’s announcement to run an own station at the airport and line-haul flights by Bulgarian cargo carrier Bright Flight that commenced only weeks ago. What has made your place becoming increasingly attractive for air freight?
A: Within the region, we have the necessary demand and freight volumes as well as the infrastructural possibilities to create an attractive cargo offer at Paderborn-Lippstadt Airport. This fact had to be established in the market. You may find a variety of successful industrial companies within our catchment area, including global players such as automobile suppliers like Benteler or Hella, agricultural machinery manufacturer Claas as well as automobile manufacturer VW. The stationing of the Bright Flight aircraft in March and the scheduled opening of the air cargo station for Lufthansa Cargo are the first fruit of our labour.
Q: How much cargo throughput do you expect for this year, both trucked and flown shipments?
A: At this point in time, it’s difficult to point out concrete numbers. We aim to surpass the tonnage of 304 tons (flown) in 2015. Regarding the volume relation, trucked air freight will play a significantly bigger role according to our current plans. But the regular operations of the Bright Flight aircraft have started quite successfully, we feel very optimistic about that. The Antonov AN-26B with its transport volume of around 5.5 tons is ideal for short-notice assignments such as transporting parts for the automobile or machine manufacturing industries. Due to the good order situation here, Bright Flight is currently operating with 3 aircraft.
In addition to this ad-hoc service, the airline BinAir serves cargo deliverance 5 times a week from PAD.
Q: Where do you see your future role in air cargo – more as a consolidation center for trucked freight or goods flown in and out directly? Kindly specify.
A: We would like to expand in both areas and offer an attractive cargo service for our customers. The near future will definitely see more air freight being transported from PAD via truck than aircraft. But experience has taught us that charter airlines like to make use of our infrastructures. Urgent deliveries and special cargo projects can be realised a lot smoother via our airport than at the big hubs. A lot is possible with regards to our equipment. In addition, there are no slot restrictions, waiting times or night flight restrictions.
Q: The future of regional airports is very much contested lately. Some went broke, others were taken over by foreign investors like Hahn last week, with the “rest” being dependent on public subsidies. Where is PAD’s place within this landscape and by what means do you want to secure a safe future for Paderborn-Lippstadt Airport without asking taxpayers year after year to cover the deficits.
A: This discussion is leading nowhere, especially since regional airports cannot be generalised. We are one of the most economic airports in Germany and not that far off from breaking even with a very good operating result – even though we are investing for the future, especially in new equipment for the fire department and snow-plowing service. This is where we receive investment grants. We are firmly established within the German airport landscape and will continue to hold our own.
Q: Kindly explain what role air freight is playing in your strategic plans.
A: Air freight will play a more important role than in the past. We are not just developing this area, but also expanding in general. There is a lot of developing potential within our strong economic catchment area. This catchment area including Southern Westphalia, Eastern Westphalia, North Hesse and South Lower Saxony is one of the top 5 economic regions in Germany. To this purpose, we are soon launching our own cargo homepage and will extend the sales activities for the cargo operations.
Compiled by John Mc Donagh / Heiner Siegmund