Turkish cargo carrier MNG Airlines has launched twice weekly return flights connecting Istanbul (Ataturk) – Cologne/Bonn – New York (JFK), operating an Airbus A330-200 freighter aircraft capable of uplifting 68 tons per flight. The mission, lasting at least until Christmas, is a trial to test market demand. It might be continued should the outcome meet expectations.
Referring to the first flights and the booking situation for the coming weeks, Commercial Director Tasus Hasan of MNG Airlines speaks of full loads on the westbound leg with a little bit less on the way back from the U.S. “We are monitoring and evaluating every single flight very thoroughly since their outcome will show if continuing the transatlantic flights beyond Christmas makes sense economically.”
Last year, MNG had already carried out test flights on the same route. However, when reviewing their outcome, the management had to decide against continuing operations due to 5ht freedom traffic right problems.
So now the second attempt. And this time the situation is hardly comparable to last December since cargo capacity has become a rare and much wanted commodity due to the grounding of passenger fleets and the absence of lower deck transport options. Therefore, the result of these trials could well be positive, paving the way for linehaul ops, market observers expect.
MNG operates 4 A300-600 all-cargo aircraft and one A330-200 production freighter. This is complemented by 2 A300-600F belonging to the fleet of its Slovenian subsidiary Solinair.
Feeling at home in Cologne
In central Europe, their general sales agent is Skyline Air Services while in the U.S. ATC Aviation Services (USA) LLC cares about filling the aircraft’s main deck with goods.
Cologne is the carrier’s main gateway in Europe, much welcomed by the airport’s Cargo Chief, Torsten Wefers. “For 15 years MNG has been using our airport very successfully, this way becoming one of our key customers. With the new transatlantic flights launched last week, the freight airline once again demonstrates its confidence in CGN and is adding urgently needed supplementary transatlantic main deck capacity to the booming CGN cargo market. We will support the mission as best we can.”
Currently, MNG operates a total of 12 flights between Istanbul and Cologne per week, half of them on their own account with the other ones in cooperation with package delivery company UPS. Cologne/Bonn is UPS’s main European gateway since long.
MNG to operate out of both airports, Ataturk and Istanbul Airport.
According to market surveys as presented last Thursday (03Dec20) by integrator DHL Express as part of their ‘Global Connectedness Index’, the upturn in air freight will continue in 2021, well beyond the current peak season of 2020. For the foreseeable future, also due to the continued lack of underfloor capacity of passenger aircraft, there is likely to be a high demand for cargo transport between Europe and the USA, as shown by the latest DHL findings.
In the meantime, MNG plans to move more of its operation from Ataturk Airport to the new Istanbul Airport located at the shores of the Black Sea to make combined air cargo operations out of two main gateways of Istanbul.
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