Getting the next generation interested in air cargo is often a topic at various air cargo conferences. This past year has thrown aviation on its head, and yet in the midst of it all, students are preparing for a future in the industry. CFG spoke to one such student, Moritz Hampel, to get a feel for what is being taught and what the outlook is.
Hello Moritz, could you tell us briefly about yourself, please?
I am 20 years old and currently studying Transport Management and Logistics. Besides that, I work full time for DHL Express in Leipzig (LEJ - Germany) as a trainee and attend various departments within the company.
What made you want to study air cargo?
Ever since I was little, I have been fascinated by the aviation industry. While other children were at the playground, I stood at LEJ airport and admired the various types of aircraft. From that time on, my goal was to become a pilot or air traffic controller. As I grew older, I looked for alternatives and found the dual study program at DHL Hub Leipzig. Half of the year is spent at the University of Cooperative Education Glauchau, studying transport management and logistics, and the other half is spent at the DHL Hub Leipzig in various departments. At the moment, I am in the Hub Control Center supporting the Hub Operations Control team.
When did you start studying and how long is the course?
I started my studies in October 2019. The course results in a Bachelor's degree and therefore lasts 3 years. These 3 years are divided into practical and theory phases. Usually, you spend 3 months at university and then 3 months in the company. These 6 months form a semester. When you have completed 6 semesters, you receive a Bachelor of Arts degree in Transport Management and Logistics.
What are your aspirations when you finish?
I expect to finish my studies at the end of 2022. In principle, there are only two options after that. Either you stay in the company and take a job, or you continue your academic career in form of a Master's degree. For me, it is clear that I want to add a Master's degree in Aviation to my Bachelor's degree in Logistics. However, I'm still deciding whether I want to gain professional experience beforehand or whether I want to do the Master's dual or full-time. It is clear to me that I would like to work in the aviation industry in the future, as the industry is currently in a state of flux and has proven to be system-relevant.
What future do you see for air cargo?
The year 2020 was more influential on the aviation industry than any other year in the last decades. From a rapid drop of flights around the world in March 2020 to record cargo airline turnarounds from Q3 2020, passenger airlines are currently still 60-80% below pre-Corona levels and the future is dark for passenger airlines. Cargo airlines and integrators, however, have achieved record figures since the second half of 2020. The strong growth in volume can also be seen at the DHL Hub in Leipzig. Before Corona, an average of 65 aircraft took off and landed at Leipzig/Halle Airport. During Corona, however, the number is already over 80. This is due to the fact that DHL mainly benefits from the grounding of passenger aircraft and was thus able to absorb the demand. Furthermore, the number of shipments exploded due to the strong growth in e-commerce, which was triggered partly by lockdowns. And a look into the future is also promising for the air cargo industry. The manufacturing industry increasingly sees airfreight as an opportunity to enter new markets. Outsourcing, globalization, increasing e-commerce and the demand for fast delivery are playing into the hands of all integrators and cargo airlines. This results in the forecast that the volumes will not decrease in the next few years. On the contrary, air freight volumes are expected to increase annually.
How relevant do you feel your university course is compared to your real-life work at LEJ?
For me, it is the optimal combination of practical experience at the company and theory teaching at the university. Because the university and the company are in exchange, you learn mostly relevant topics. Furthermore, experts from the field teach relevant aviation and air freight modules, and bring an extremely high level of practical knowledge. This creates a feeling of applying what you have learned in theory in practice. This method creates a better learning effect, and it is fulfilling to pick up topics again in practice. However, it should be noted that not everything can be taught in theory. In this case, the many practical assignments in the company help to prepare you for your future professional career.
Thank you for your insights, Moritz! I wish you every success in your future career.
Image left: DHL Hub Leipzig GmbH
Image center: © Moritz Lucas Hampel
Image right: University of cooperative education. Source:
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