IN BRIEF, THE LATEST CARGO AIRLINE INDUSTRY NEWS.
Brussels Airport reaches half-a-million tons
The management of Brussels Airport reports that they have surpassed the 500,000 ton mark of flown cargo already this year. This is seen as being the continuation of the present positive cargo handling trend at BRU. The airport suffered somewhat when DHL Express a decade ago transferred their Europe hub from Brussels to Leipzig. In the meantime BRU has made up for much of this loss by attracting new business with overall growth in flown volumes rising by 25% during the past four years. BRU has seen a year-to-date overall cargo growth of 9.5% whereby a notable rise in cargo carried in passenger aircraft bellies this year has so far reached +13%. Full freighter uplift rose by almost 7% and integrator traffic by just under +10%.
Brussels Airport Head of Cargo and Logistics, Steven Polmans stated that “since 2008, our volumes dropped under 500,000 tons of cargo and in 2013 we were even flirting with the 400,000 number. But in the last four years we have seen an overall growth of 25% in our flown numbers.” The finalisation of a major expansion plan for the cargo area is well under way. This is to include new warehouse space along with additional freighter ramp parking areas. The results of the tender for a third certified cargo handler are expected to be made known by the first quarter of 2018.
LH Cargo cooperates with Santa Claus by adding extra JFK cargo flights.
The large volume of Christmas mail between Germany and the USA has prompted Lufthansa Cargo to add additional MD-11 freighter flights between Frankfurt and New York’s Kennedy Airport. The extra flights began in mid-November and will run until just before Christmas Eve. A total of six extra MD-11F extra flights each carrying up to 60 tons of cargo are performed on Mondays exclusively for Deutsche Post under the Santa Claus umbrella. Alexis von Hoensbroech, Chief Product and Sales Officer at LH Cargo stated: “In the six weeks before Christmas in particular, our Airmail/eCommerce product is in great demand for packages sent on short notice and deadline-sensitive shipments. For this reason, we increased our capacity exclusively for our close partner Deutsche Post AG in recent years. However, 2017 is a special situation, as we have never before organised so much additional cargo space on such short notice.”
CV success might mean additional freighters
Luxembourg-based Cargolux has it seems, a welcome problem, in that the carrier may well require additional capacity very soon in order to meet customer demands. Recently, the Luxembourg press reported that CEO Richard Forson is not ruling out the possibility of adding some used Boeing 747-400 freighters into the fleet. CV is said to be looking at hiring up to 60 new pilots next year and these will be needed to operate any new equipment that may come online. It seems likely that if additional aircraft are added, that these will be of the -400F type - which are cheaper to come by. Cargolux presently has 23 B747Fs in their fleet of which 14 are B747-8Fs and 9 are B747-400Fs.
In other news Cargolux flew two highly sensitive outsized buoys from Luxembourg to the Chinese city of Xiamen. From there they will be shipped out to the planned two offshore wind farms in Changle and Zhangpu which are located in China’s Fujian province. The buoys weighing almost 6 tons each measured 8.10 meters in length and had a diameter of 2.55 meters. The transport was completed in cooperation with Globaltrans who arranged road transport from the factory in Bremerhaven to Luxembourg.
Vulkan Air plans U.S. cargo flights
Kiev, Ukraine-based Vulkan Air which operates with three dry-leased Antonov AN-26 freighters is reported to have applied to the US Department of Transportation (DOT) for a so called Foreign Air Carrier Permit (FACP) in order to get ready to start cargo charter operations into the United States. This seems to be quite a strange application considering that the AN-26 freighter of which more than 1,400 were produced mainly for the military, only has a maximum range of around 600 km and payload go 5,500kgs. Not suitable for operations from Europe to the USA, but maybe Vulkan Air is considering basing one or two aircraft in Mexico or Central America where there is a need for capacity to carry automotive parts into the USA. The carrier has also applied for a European EASA Third Country Operator Permit to start flights from the Ukraine to EU countries. Approval is pending, but expected by the end of this year.
Frankfurt cargo throughput up in November
Frankfurt Airport operator, Fraport reports that their positive passenger and cargo results in 2017 continued their upward trend in November. Passenger figures in Frankfurt rose by just over 21% compared to last year. However, it should be noted that FRA was plagued by Lufthansa staff strikes in November 2016 which led to many flight cancellations.
Cargo throughput continued its upward trend with a just under 5% (4.9%) increase to 200,827 tons moving through the airport in November. This trend is expected to continue although the airport is presently facing problems with cargo congestion and there were two air cargo handling staff strikes in November which led to chaotic conditions in the cargo handling area.
International airports in which Fraport has a holding, also performed well in November. This also includes the 14 Greek airports in which Fraport is involved, although their increase in passenger traffic (+1.2%) was marginal compared to airports such as Lima, Ljubljana or Varna.
Antonov Airlines reaches their tonnage target
The Ukraine-based heavy lift air cargo specialist, Antonov Airlines, reported this week that the carrier has by the end of November already surpassed their total tonnage carried during 2016 by 26 percent. Antonov has not revealed the actual tonnage but expects it to increase even further by year end. The orders for heavy lift capacity continues unabated across the globe and the demand for 2018 is said to be just as strong as it was this year.
Antonov Airlines is the only operator of the six engine AN-225, of which only one is in service. They also operate with a mixed fleet of eleven Antonov freighters of which seven are the well-known Antonov AN-124 heavy lifters.
DHL goes digital on air freight booking
DHL Globe Forwarding took a decisive step at the end of November by introducing their digitalized Online Freight Quotations & Booking Service. This new service which is integrated in DHL’s Interactive Online Freight portal allows shippers and consignees to pull up quotes straight away and book their shipments directly into the DHL Air Connect and Air Economy services which are available for shipments weighing up to 2 tons each. Customers, when requesting a price quotation, can also pull up additional costs such as insurance premiums or import duties. The new service which is available in around 40 countries is seen to be especially attractive for clients using DHL Global Forwarding services on the Asia to Europe and the transpacific network.
Cargojet gets rid of their 727 freighters
The Canadian freight carrier Cargojet has decided to put their remaining three Boeing 727 freighters into retirement. This move is in line with Cargojet’s policy to operate with a more modern fleet. The carrier which has a long standing contract to operate on behalf of the Canada Post Group and Purolator, now will have a total of eleven B767 freighters and six B757 freighters in their fleet. A further passenger converted B767F and a B757F are expected to join the fleet during 2018. Cargojet recently lost some business when Air Canada decided to cease their contract with Cargojet whereby they were operating various all cargo routes for Air Canada with B767F equipment.
Garvens ends CGN tenure
Cologne/Bonn Airport’s long-time Managing Director Michael Garvens is terminating his duties at the German airport as of 31 December this year. The decision, published by CGN’s Supervisory Board last Friday evening is based on an agreement that takes the mutual interests fully into account. Both sides have agreed to strict confidentiality about the reasons behind this decision and the contents of the settlement reached. In their note, the controllers thank Hamburg-born Mr. Garvens for his 15 years of successful work at Cologne/Bonn Airport as Managing Director and most recently as Chairman of the Board of Management.
Under Garvens’ tenure, CGN became the first German Airport to attract numerous low cost carriers, catapulting the number of passengers rapidly upward.
Also, Garvens and his management team successfully developed the air freight business, making Cologne/Bonn the third largest cargo hub in Germany, expecting the throughput of roughly 800,000 tons in 2017.
On 10th November, Garvens was temporarily suspended by the Supervisory Board on suspicion of financial irregularities. Critics spoke of an orchestrated intrigue of political opponents trying to oust the member of the Christian Democratic Party (CDU) from office.
John Mc Donagh / Heiner Siegmund