Currently, Istanbul-based MNG Airlines operates seven Airbus A300-600F and one Airbus 330-200F. By 2020, two additional A330Fs will be added to the fleet, the carrier confirmed to CargoForwarder Global. This not only ups the airline’s capacity and widens the reach considerably but opens the door for new market opportunities as well.
Since some time, the 1996 founded Turkish carrier (IATA code: MB) is pursuing a split business model, based on two key pillars: Firstly, conducting charter flights on behalf of large integrators
such as DHL Express, FedEx or UPS. This absorbs about half of MNG’s main deck capacity of roughly 400 tons.
In a nutshell, this is a solid, steady and – supposedly – also profitable contractual setting based on manageable risk. MNG offers the capacity, the integrators are responsible for filling the aircraft with their shipments. That’s the name of the nightly game.
The second pillar are line-haul flights operated on the company’s own account. To be commercially successful, this strategy either needs a sales force standing on the payroll of the carrier or – alternatively – agreements with general sales agents who care about marketing the freighter fleet’s capacity. MNG has opted for the latter.
Lean organization thanks to GSAs
In its home market Turkey, MNG partners with GSSA Airmark. Their cooperation started in 2013 and endures since then. Despite the current challenging economic situation in Turkey “we manage to fully utilize the fleet’s main decks. So, the MNG flights departing from Ataturk or Sabiha Gokcen are constantly full,” assures Alpa Aksemsettinoglu, network operations manager at Airmark. Main destinations are Leipzig, Cologne, Luton or Amsterdam and Milan.
In Germany and the Netherlands, GSSA Skyline Air Services cares about the MNG consignments. In the UK it is Globe Air Cargo. “Our long-term partnership is based on mutual loyalty and professionality,” states Oener Cetin, Skyline Director Germany. He goes on to say: “This enables us to play a bridging role for cargo shipments traveling from central Europe to Turkey or beyond.” Interline accords signed between Skyline and other carriers ensure fast and seamless onward flights of goods to final international destinations, the manager holds.
Second largest cargo carrier in Turkey
He emphasizes that MNG’s night flights are tailored to the demands of the Turkish market. “The goods flown out of Cologne or Amsterdam at night are ready for pick-up by importers in Istanbul early the next morning.” This service is highly appreciated by the automotive industry and the high-tech sector and increasingly becomes a major benefit for e-commerce customers, too, he tells.
According to figures provided by the management, MNG accounts for a market share in exports from Turkey totaling 7 percent, making it the second largest freight carrier after giant Turkish Airlines Cargo that siphons off 60 percent of the volumes flown out of the country.
Mr Aksemsettinoglu points out that of help for his company’s daily sales business is the closeness of both Ataturk and Gokcen Airports to Istanbul’s seaport. “This enables us to secure a portion of the sea-air traffic transited here from the harbor to Istanbul’s airports.”
For feeder and distribution purposes, bonded trucks are running on behalf of MNG from Istanbul to Izmir, Ankara, Adana and Antalya. “In addition, we offer clients trucking services to the Balkan countries and to destinations in the EU, particularly for oversized items,” adds Hasan Tasus, CCO at MNG. This is complemented by air services provided by Slovenia-based carrier Solinair which was acquired by MNG in 2008. Since their subsidiary is EU-registered “it allows us to operate within the block,” emphasizes MNG managing director Ali Sedat Oezkazanc.
A key asset of the freight carrier is its enormous flexibility. “In case DHL, UPS or other main customers demand sudden transport capacity we are the right address,” says the MNG chief. He speaks of a 98 overall on-time performance of all flights, “making us a valued partner for our customers.” Critical factor are the block times, measured accurately by the integrators. “An off-block delay of two minutes is still within the tolerance limit,” states a pilot. “If a delay lasts longer you better present sound reasons to your customer, such as freak weather conditions or technical hiccups a high loader may have had.”
Shortest cargo flight
Utmost operational flexibility and reliability - these key values are standing on top of MNG’s self-portrayal. Evidenced last Wednesday, when flight MB223 departed from IST at 8:40 pm local time, taking from there in a short hop to neighboring airport Sabiha Gokcen, to land there right on time only 13 minutes after takeoff. IST-SAW is supposedly the shortest cargo flight ever operated by an airline. At SAW the A300-600F took off at 10:43 pm local time, exactly 90 seconds behind schedule, to land at Leipzig almost 3 hours later. “The 90 seconds off-block delay at SAW is still within our tolerance limit,” reported the MNG loadmaster on duty, while entering the data into his laptop. Quite a performance!