Exclusive: Finnair Cargo - the Northern Underdogs!

Janne Tarvainen, Vice President-Head of Cargo for Finnair Cargo, was guest of the German Air Cargo Club’s September gathering in FRA. He titled his presentation on Finnair Cargo as “The Underdogs from the North.”
A strange choice considering how well Finnair Cargo seems to be doing.

DPresented Finnair Cargo and the carrier’s “Cool Nordic Hub” at the September ACD: Janne Tarvainen (center) and Uwe Beck (second from right). They are flanked by ACD leaders Mathias Jakobi (left), Winfried Hartmann (second from left) and Christoph Papke (far right).

It was actually a dual presentation. While Janne gave the rundown on Finnair Cargo he was assisted by Uwe Beck, Managing Director of Becon Projects. Beck’s company was entrusted with the project management for the brand new Finnair Cargo warehouse which will come into operation in May of 2017.

The next generation of Finnair Cargo
Founded in 1923, Finnair, despite being positioned almost at the top of Europe, has proven to be a very flexible and customer orientated airline, both on the passenger and cargo side.
The carrier boasts the shortest distance via the Great Circle Route from Europe to most Far Eastern destinations.
It is presently restructuring its fleet whereby the Airbus A350XWB will become Finnair’s workhorse for long distance flights in the future.
This aircraft, of which Finnair  already operates six and a total of nineteen on order will according to Janne Tarvainen, give Finnair Cargo between +40% - +50% more cargo capacity by 2020 compared to today’s belly offering.
The Finnish national carrier has done away with freighters, but has a cooperation with UK-based IAG Cargo on a block share agreement. A similar deal exists with Japan Air Lines whereby Finnair is responsible for JAL cargo sales from Helsinki to Tokyo.
There is also a leased in feeder freighter from Brussels to Helsinki.

Cargo is very important for survival
Cargo accounted for revenues of €184 million in 2015 and tonnage carried totaled 130,000 tons.
Much of the cargo carried was pharmaceuticals and fresh fish, mainly from Norway.
There are seventeen Asian destinations being served from Helsinki, with six in China and four in Japan alone.
The other main long-haul route to the USA serves New York, Chicago and Miami along with around 70 European destinations.

First CEIV certified carrier
The company boasts short and uncomplicated transit times in HEL for both passenger and cargo traffic.
A cargo example is Finnair’s guarantee that fresh fish has a maximum transit time from origin to final destination in the restaurant in the Far East of only 34 hours.
Finnair is proud of the fact that they are the first carrier worldwide to be awarded IATA’s Center of Excellence for Independent Validators (CEIV) certification.
This is important for a carrier which is highly dependent on total customer satisfaction especially for the transport of seafood and pharmaceuticals.
In total, ten countries generate around 80% of the Finnish carrier’s cargo.
Norway generate 14%, most being fresh fish, along with Belgium, Sweden and India whose markets are geared more towards pharmaceutical goods.
The carrier saw the necessity some years ago to expand cargo operations in HEL and the need for a modern and up-to-date handling facility which in part is geared towards temperature sensitive cargo.
The AY Board of Directors did not flinch when they were informed that a new facility, based on modular design, with all the necessary IT, operational and cooling facilities, would cost the carrier 80 million euros.

Permission granted - Becon Projects takes up the role of Project Manager
It seems that those entrusted with Finnair’s development and survival were easily convinced that the 80 million investment was “a must.”

The new ultra-modern warehouse which is planned to open in May of 2107 has been dubbed “Cool Nordic Cargo Hub.”
Becon Projects, which was founded by Uwe Beck back in 2009 and has accompanied many projects in the Middle and Far East for carriers among others, such as Emirates, was entrusted with the design consultation role.
It was decided to go for a new greenfield facility instead of doctoring the present cargo set-up.
In 2012 a full review was made and in 2014 the formal design was agreed upon.
Construction started in 2015 and both Messrs Tarvainen and Beck are proud of the fact that the project is going exactly to schedule and is totally within budget.
Something, Uwe Beck states, that other airports can look upon with envy.


Becon’s slogan is “Form Follows Function”
Uwe Beck informed the ACD audience that often airports, carriers or handlers let the actual building take the lead when looking at new facilities.
His message was that one has to “get their ducks in a row first” by looking hard at and deciding on what design, operations, it systems and interfaces will be needed, before then putting these together and creating the building around them.
“Get the frame ready first” he says and then build.
This seems to be paying off for Finnair Cargo who will be delivered a facility based on a modular expansion line which can handle cargo speedily seeing as 80% of Finnair’s throughput is transit cargo.
Special separate fresh fish and other temperature sensitive areas are included and a specialized “shop floor control” mechanism designed to optimize work space.
The 300m x 100m building is designed to be able to handle up to 350,000 tons per annum.
That’s almost 220,000 tons more than Finnair handles today.

AY cargo it seems is convinced that cargo flows will increase.
So, the Underdog statement is definitely an Understatement for the future.

John Mc Donagh

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