Since 2013 Finnair Cargo has been operating a second European hub at Brussels Airport. The opening of the carrier’s new cool centre at Helsinki Airport on 14 December provided an excellent opportunity for an update on the carrier’s BRU activities from Fredrik Wildtgrube, Finnair Head of Global Sales.
CFG: Fredrik, why does Finnair Cargo operate a second hub next to its main gateway Helsinki?
FW: Because within our network we see BRU as an important gateway for AY both inbound and outbound. We have wanted to ensure that we have a quick connection to our main hub Helsinki, from
where we are able to connect to our entire network. As quickly as the traffic started from BRU, both outbound and inbound movements became a sought-out product and we are very happy with
CFG: This brings up the question why AY Cargo opted for Brussels and not Liege, Amsterdam, Cologne or other west / central European airports as a second hub?
FW: When entering BRU we had a clear intent to grow in the pharma market. BRU airport has a dedicated pharma strategy and it was quickly shown that we had mutual benefits for choosing BRU as our extended hub in Europe.
AY Cargo feels well treated by BRU
CFG: This asks for specification. So what exactly are BRU’s operational and commercial advantages as sub-hub for AY Cargo?
FW: Fact is that BRU has continually developed its pharma position over the recent years, gaining experience in handling and processing this sensitive commodity step by step. From our point of view it is of ultimate importance for us that we can operate in a hub that supports our customer’s needs and our operational necessities in the best possible way. It’s also worth mentioning that our business partners take advantage of the combination of Finnair Cargo, BRU hub and our new COOL cargo terminal in Helsinki.
GFG: Do you still use DHL’s A300F equipment for linking Brussels and Helsinki Vantaa? What is the daily or weekly frequency?
FW: Airbus A300F is correct. We operate 3 times per week. According to our sourcing process Finnair Cargo found that DHL was best suited for our requirements.
Fast time-to-market is paramount
CFG: As Finnair was among the first airlines to join the IATA CEIV Pharma product we may suppose pharma is the main commodity on the route BRU-HEL?
FW: I fully agree. CEIV is a good indication that we have a clear performance driven agenda regarding pharma transports. To keep product integrity, it’s important that we as a service provider apply speed within our network in a high-quality environment. This way we can contribute to a faster time to market for our customers and to ensure that temperature sensitive products are travelling as fast as possible throughout the network. In addition to the BRU freighter we can utilise the narrow body equipment where cargo size allows. We also offer RFS from BRU, but this is mainly used for general cargo.
CFG: Is this a balanced route?
FW: Yes, absolutely. While not all routes carry the same commodity. Some of our routes are more commodity-specific, such as pharma from Brussels and perishables from Norway.
It is all about data accuracy
CFG: Only weeks ago your airline introduced a new monitoring tool named Cargo Eye, providing the staff of your newly created Cargo Control Center at HEL Airport end-to-end-visibility of cargo processes, enabling customers real-time information on their shipments. Does the opening of the new Cool Center in combination with the Cargo Eye have any impact on your BRU activities?
FW: Certainly, because Cargo Eye and COOL will further develop speed and accuracy. It will be exciting to see what supply chain improvements our customers will develop on the back of our latest investments. Our new tools show what is happening with cargo every step of the journey, and they will result in improvements in the way cargo is handled. Reliability and visibility are key ingredients in an efficient supply chain. In an industry in which a lot of decisions are made on estimates and assumptions, we want to ensure that within our network we are relying on the most exact and accurate data, allowing our customers and partners to make the best possible decisions throughout the transportation chain, especially when time is a key differentiator.
Advanced technology catapults AY Cargo to new heights
CFG: Last December, your Nordic Cool Center went online together with your monitoring tool Cargo Eye. Are there any further big points standing on your 2018 agenda?
FW: At Finnair we are currently experiencing the largest expansion period in our history. Our fleet is growing and so are our capabilities in digitalisation and how cargo is moved throughout our network. We are focussed on serving customers better, quicker and smarter than we have done before. I’m aware that it might sound a bit clichéd but we have not invested in upgraded resources just to remain where we are. Therefore, we continue to listen to our customers intensely, trying to meet their requirements wherever possible. To put it in a nutshell, we carry on this way we are going, attempting to deliver the best possible air cargo product.
CFG: Fredrik, thank you for your time.
Marcel Schoeters in Brussels