Since June 2016 the low-cost airline from Iceland has been flying 6 times per week to Frankfurt.
On 2nd of June FCS Frankfurt Cargo Services GmbH has been charged with the cargo handling for WOW air from Reykjavik. The airline founded in November 2011 has increased its network considerably by adding the route to Frankfurt.
WOW’s founder, Skúli Mogensen, explains that Frankfurt has been a very important step as WOW air is focusing on growth and also on routes to North America. He is convinced that Frankfurt will be
soon one of their most important markets. Already this year there are plans to increase the airline’s fleet from 6 to 11 aircraft.
Capturing major shares of the highly competitive low cost market
This is newcomer WOW air’s prime business objective. Measured against this, cargo transport plays only the third or fourth fiddle in the Icelandic LCC’s current strategy.
However, there are indications that this will change gradually in times ahead since air freight carriage ups the airline’s turnover and adds to its profitability. “Although cargo will always remain being a niche product within WOW air’s service portfolio, I personally expect a very positive development of this particular business segment,” states Managing Director Michael Jaensch of Aerotrans, WOW’s Dusseldorf, Germany-based cargo sales agent. His company not only sells the carrier’s lower deck capacity on routes from central Europe to Iceland and North America but together with WOW air’s management also develops suitable transit traffic schemes at main European hubs. “Shipments of freshly caught Icelandic fish best illustrate our concept,” he says. The temperature sensitive consignments are brought in the belly holds of WOW air to Frankfurt or Amsterdam where they are directly transferred to outgoing flights bound for Japan or Korea, Michael tells.
But it’s not only imports and transits of fish GSA Aerotrans is looking after. “Some days ago we took care of ship spares and maritime goods at Rhine-Main airport that came from Iceland on board a WOW operated Airbus A321 and were handed over by us to Air Namibia for their onward journey down to Windhoek,” Mr Jaensch de-scribes the shipment’s itinerary.
Asked about WOW air’s market share from central Europe to Iceland he speaks of remarkable 10 to 15 percent. “Icelandair will always remain on top of the pack due to their high capacity offer and the two freighters they operate but we are picking up step by step,” he says. On the way back from Iceland to London, Paris, Frankfurt, Berlin, Edinburgh, Dusseldorf or Bristol the aircraft are always full with fish.
WOW’s pricing policy helps to achieving this self-imposed growth target. “The rates we offer are generally a bit lower than those of our direct competitors,” reasons Mi-chael Jaensch, without revealing specifics.
What enthuses Michael most is the recent fleet and route expansion, announced last week by CEO Skúli Mogensen and Airbus Chief Fabrice Brégier at the Farnborough Air Show. The agreement provides
the purchase of 4 Airbus A321 passenger aircraft, capable of loading up to 4.5 tons of air freight per flight in the holds of the aircraft. Two of them will go into service next year with the
remaining two following in 2018.
Currently, WOW air operates 11 aircraft, among them three leased A330s that are mostly deployed on long-haul flights from Reykjavik to the U.S. West Coast (San Francisco, Los Angeles), but operate also on European routes which have a high passenger demand.
FCS happy with new customer
Frankfurt Cargo Services which is majority owned by Worldwide Fight Services (WFS) is happy with their new cargo customer in FRA. The six weekly flights with inbound perishables and outbound general cargo are a welcome addition to the FCS handling community.
Hans-Georg Emmert, FCS Managing Director has been busy during the past months reallocating space in FCS’s warehouses for existing and new customers.
The latest addition to his portfolio before WOW air was to capture Qatar Airways as a customer. Qatar will be housed in its own warehouse which was previously used exclusively by Japan Airlines. Since the demise of JAL’s freighter fleet and reduced services, the warehouse became too large for the Japanese national carrier. Ideal though for Qatar Airways which has greatly increased its cargo capacity through FRA.
WFS CEO position is still unclear
There is still no news as to who will take over as CEO at WFS since Olivier Bijaoui abruptly decided to leave the company.
It seems that the relatively new WFS owner, Platinum Equity is taking its time on deciding who should take up the reins.
Barry Nassberg, WFS’s COO remains as interim CEO.
It is not clear whether Barry is interested in taking the CEO position or whether he will be offered it.
Another internal candidate could in our view be Michael „Mike“ Duffy who is the CEO of CAS, the USA-based handling company which WFS took over a couple of months ago.
Mike used to run the WFS cargo product in the USA before taking up the CEO position at CAS. He knows the “ins-and-outs” of WFS and the air cargo business.
Would he be interested? Would Platinum in such a case then consider moving the WFS headquarters from Paris to New York?
All still spekulative.
John Mc Donagh / Heiner Siegmund