In 2017, around 380,000 tons of cargo were handled at Munich Airport, corresponding to a rise of over 7 percent on 2016. And the air freight bonanza will go on in 2018, predicts MUC’s Head of Cargo, Markus Heinelt, in this interview.
CFG: Markus, air freight volumes have kept growing in MUC throughout 2017, but the vast majority of consignments were flown in the lower decks of passenger aircraft.
Markus Heinelt: That’s absolutely right. And it is in accordance with our efforts that our airline clients operate successfully in all segments from Munich - with an excellent load factor on both sides, seats and bellies. This overall successful operation is naturally beneficial for us. And, please consider with 330 weekly long-haul departures it is as well challenging to fill the bellies.
CFG: What are the odds that more airlines will operate full freighters to/from Munich in 2018?
MH: In general you can say that the right mix between belly and main deck capacities is of importance for all forwarders. The main deck capacity has a certain influence on the belly load and vice-versa.
Munich being an expanding consolidation hub actually meets all requirements for additional freighter capacities. Munich offers an enormous catchment area stretching as far as the Balkans or Northern Italy, but includes Austria, the Czech Republic, Slovakia and Poland as well. This illustrates that we still have great capacity potential so that we are very confident of the developments in 2018.
We further receive information from leading forwarders that they plan on more departures and destinations via MUC.
Nevertheless, we feel highly obligated to sustainability because the cargo business continues to be volatile. Therefore, we appreciate that our existing cargo customers operate with great success in Munich and expand their business continuously here.
CFG: Munich is not really known as being an airport utilized much by integrators. What’s the outlook there for 2018?
MH: Actually, all leading integrators operate at Munich Airport - mainly operating feeder flights. Munich and its catchment area are located in Germany’s leading business region with regard to economic strength, economic growth and purchasing power per inhabitant. Those conditions are – in a nutshell – nearly perfect circumstances for B2B business as well as for the growing B2C business. Due to high demand on additional space from two of our integrators we started further expansion planning.
CFG: Many leading European cargo hubs have experienced huge handling problems in 2017, particularly during the peak season, leading to backlogs and the offloading of consignments, including express shipments.
To prevent the same traffic and handling problems that FRA, LHR and some others were facing, MUC plans to invest in the ground infrastructure in the coming months. Kindly give us some details.
MH: Unexpected increases in cargo volumes do always challenge processes and infrastructures at any airport and the airport partners involved.
Our goal at our cargo hub is to secure air freight clients also in future the fastest possible processes and handling services feasible. And, as mentioned earlier, we see a lot of potential for all cargo segments in the long run and we are getting prepared for this growth.
Our current projects are for example automated solutions for stacker systems or the extension of a 25,000 sqm area for our road feeder services which will be equipped with intelligent slot management systems in order to reduce waiting times or prevent them altogether.
CFG: Markus, thanks for your inputs and good fortune for MUC Cargo in 2018.
Interview: Heiner Siegmund