Logistics giant Kuehne + Nagel and Atlas Air have inked an exclusive, long-term leasing agreement for 2 Boeing 747-8F. In doing so, K+N is responding to the burgeoning market demand for
air freight capacity. The accord is similar to arrangements made recently between forwarding agents and main deck providers.
The fact that logistics companies are expanding their product portfolio by operating freighters, as now announced by Kuehne + Nagel, is not really new. The pioneer among the forwarders choosing to rely on self-managed air capacity and offering the market end-to-end services, was Panalpina, meanwhile part of Danish multinational DSV.
Air(freight) appetite of forwarders keeps growing
The highly successful Panalpina move set a precedent, as demonstrated by forwarder, Senator International, for example. The agent has been cooperating with lessors Air Atlanta Icelandic and Atlas Air since 2016, offering self-controlled flights to 7 destinations worldwide, predominantly between Frankfurt-Hahn and Greenville/Spartanburg in North Carolina, and mainly supplying parts and components of car maker BMW. DB Schenker followed suit, deploying more than 2,000 cargo charter flights in 2021, and serving its clients in all major market. And even less internationally known companies such as Sovereign Speed, now possesses their own freighter fleet. Sovereign Speed's freighters are managed by its subsidiary, Businesswings, and optimize delivery services within Europe.
K+N will soon offer end-to-end solutions
From Q3 onwards, heavyweight K+N joins will join the bandwagon by exclusively chartering the entire capacity of two B747-8F aircraft belonging to Atlas Air’s fleet, the last two B747-8Fs of this iconic Boeing Jumbo freighter variant to be produced by the U.S. plane maker. They provide 20% higher payload and burn 16% less fuel compared to their predecessor, the B747-400F, says Atlas. The aircraft will support Kuehne+Nagel customers on volatile trade lanes, such as the transpacific routes, notes the agent. The logistics provider will manage the entire supply chain on its own, similar to an integrator.
Yngve Ruud, Member of the Management Board of Kuehne+Nagel, responsible for Air Logistics, comments: "As a market leader in air freight, Kuehne+Nagel further expands its dedicated charter network to support customers with solutions for long-term planning and high-quality service. We (will) include these two new Boeing 747-8F in our already extensive global capacity offering."
John Dietrich, Atlas Air Worldwide President and Chief Executive Officer gladly accepted the compliment and promptly returned it to his new customer Kuehne + Nagel: “We are delighted to expand our partnership with Kuehne+Nagel by providing dedicated capacity for their growing global air freight network. The Boeing 747-8F serves an incredibly important role in global air freight, with advanced technology that allows for lower fuel consumption, higher capacity, and unique nose-loading capability. We look forward to taking delivery of these two 747s and operating them for Kuehne+Nagel to support their network for years to come.”
As a marginal note: The two freighters are not the first to display the brand of the logistics company on their fuselage. More than two decades ago, a Lufthansa Cargo B747-200F flew around the world with the name of company owner, Klaus-Michael Kuehne, on its hull.
Last week, Atlas Air presented its 2021 annual results posting a net income of US$493.3 million (+36.8% y-o-y). Volumes in 2021 grew to 364,061 block hours compared with 344,821 in 2020, with revenues increasing to US$4.0 billion in 2021 from US$3.2 billion in 2020. CEO Dietrich spoke of another “outstanding year,” documented by his company’s “excellent financial and operational performance.”
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