The freight carrier’s volumes handled at Munich Airport are growing, despite the general contraction of tonnage flown on board its fleet. It’s the high attractiveness of the local Bavarian market that keeps the business soaring, explains Johannes Zinkl, Head of Handling at LH Cargo’s Munich hub.
At Munich Airport, Lufthansa Cargo has a share of remarkable 30 percent in the tonnage processed there. In absolute figures that were 262,000 tons handled last year, with transits accounting for
the lion’s share (65 percent).
This contrasts to Frankfurt, the carrier’s main global hub, where LHC’s market share fluctuates between 23 and 20 percent.
15 percent additional capacity
Touching his airline’s business perspectives in Munich for the second half year, Mr Zinkl predicts a further increase in tonnage, without providing concrete figures. His main argument: Lufthansa upped their flights to and from Munich, offering the freight market additional 15 percent of lower deck capacity. A very helpful move was also the management decision to base Lufthansa’s fleet of A350-900 jetliners at the Bavarian gateway. Currently, 13 units of this Airbus variant are operated by the airline with 32 still to be delivered by the European plane maker.
LH Cargo is not planning to base freighters in MUC
It’s a very cargo-friendly aircraft, welcomes Mr Zinkl Lufthansa’s decision pro Munich. Simultaneously to the aircraft’s successive delivery, LH enlarges its intercontinental network step by step, seen for instance by the Osaka flights that were transferred from Frankfurt to Munich at the end of last March.
So when will the airport welcome the first freighter of Lufthansa Cargo to start operating from there?
Since volumes are growing, as confirmed by Mr Zinkl, it seems to make sense.
“But only at first glance because Munich is mainly a belly hub,” argues the Handling Chief. “In contrast to Frankfurt, the region here lacks sufficient industrial clusters to justify freighter
Having said this, he points out that about 80 percent of all cargo volumes handled at Munich arrive or leave by truck. They link the airport with the Czech Republic, Slovakia, Austria, Poland, the Balkan states or even the northern regions of Italy.
Agents control the flow of cargo shipments
The lack of enough forwarding agents is another thoughtful argument questioning full-freighter operations. Most of them have set up their global or German headquarters at Rhine-Main Airport, concentrating their freight flows there. “It’s the agents that steer and control the road feeder network, not the airport or the airlines,” notes Herr Zinkl.
Reischl has become a preferred partner
Responsible for handling the LHC shipments at MUC is forwarding agent Georg Reischl Spedition GmbH that also manages a high percentage of the road feeder traffic on behalf of the freight carrier. “Our air cargo trucking network spreads across southern and eastern Europe,” explains Principal Christine Reischl. “On behalf of Lufthansa Cargo we run trucks to and from Italy and on all intra-German routes,” she says.
For handling the Lufthansa Cargo shipments, Reischl uses exclusively a facility at Munich Airport comprising of 18,000 square meters that includes an outdoor area of additional 22,000 sq. m.
This agent Reischl does since August 1, 2009. Johannes Zinkl comments: “We are very pleased with the performance the company delivers, day in, day out.”