Following dire months, the freight business is picking up again at Dusseldorf Airport, although at a rather low level.
Drivers are long-haul carriers and leisure airlines that have begun serving DUS following an increase in passenger demand experienced by other airports as well, namely Frankfurt and Munich.
Lutz Honerla sits in his office chair in the DUS Airport cargo area and takes a deep breath when reflecting the last couple of weeks. The cargo helmsman and his team have gone through extremely
demanding times, as the entire airport has done and still is going through. Meanwhile, however, the situation in cargo has begun to relax. One reason for the manager’s relief is Japanese carrier
ANA. The airline announced that it would be operating additional Christmas and New Year flights to enable members of the large Japanese community in Dusseldorf to spend the festive season at
Local observers say that the demand for these flights is going through the roof.
Large Japanese community
No surprise, since Dusseldorf is home to most Japanese nationals living in continental Europe. After ANA had suspended all passenger flights as reaction to the pandemic, with hardly any traveler able to buy a ticket, the announced operations linking Tokyo and Dusseldorf by deploying a B 787-8 are a brief positive change towards normality. This is underlined by Mr Honerla, who emphasizes the cargo aspect: “We expect full loads on both legs. Dusseldorf-Tokyo is traditionally an important trade lane, highly sought after on the air freight market,” says the manager.
Conder launched ‘preighter’ flights
Even more promising is the climbing demand for cargo capacity on selected international routes. A call heard by leisure airline Condor. It announced that it would be operating 15 “preighter” flights between Shanghai and Dusseldorf starting last Thursday (03DEC20) and ending on 04JAN21. A Boeing 767 will be deployed, which has had its passenger seats entirely removed in order to accommodate as many shipments as possible. The packages, ordered by local GSA Fracht FWO AG who orchestrated the charter chain as a PVG-based agent told CargoForwarder Global, contain corona test kits. Similar flights were operated by Condor between April and June this year, flying protective masks from Shanghai and Shenzhen to Dusseldorf.
“Even though we hope that the pandemic can quickly be overcome thanks to the new vaccines, we are currently happy about every ton handled at our airport,” says Mr. Honerla.
Passenger demand is picking up again, although at low level
Other airports report a sharp increase in passenger numbers, particularly Frankfurt and Munich. For both airports, top dog Lufthansa reports an enormous demand for tickets for intra-European and intercontinental flights for the festive season. In demand are destinations in North America, South Africa, Namibia, and classic touristic hot spots such as the Canary Islands, Madeira, Crete, and Greece.
Due to these flights, the market will have more belly capacity available at least in the next 4 to 5 weeks, which should be a first silver lining for the cargo industry following the lockdowns and the grounding of passenger aircraft.
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