Two years of alternating lockdowns, a dramatic drop in passenger traffic leading to shortages of belly capacity, staff absences due to corona infections: all these have left their marks
on the aviation industry and ULD manager, Jettainer’s global activities. Until last fall. Since then, the Lufthansa Cargo subsidiary has seen a strong upturn in business.
The Far East appears to be ULD manager, Jettainer’s new Eldorado. Until recently, the company managed the container and pallet services for just one Asian mandate airline: the Philippine low-cost carrier, Cebu Pacific. Today, however, Korean airline t'way, and the Vietnamese carrier, Vietjet, have handed over their ULD activities to Jettainer, trebling its Far East customer numbers.
From white spot to hot spot
Vietjet, for instance, operates 2 A330 long-haul pax aircraft in addition to its regional fleet of 75 A320 and A321 passenger jetliners. A third A330 is scheduled to follow in June. Once operational, the carrier will launch flights between Vietnam and various destinations in Japan, targeting Australia and adding France’s Paris Charles de Gaulle Airport to its long-haul network. “This fleet and route expansion makes Vietjet highly attractive to us,” states Jettainer CEO, Thomas Sonntag.
According to him, East Asia was a white spot on his company’s global map. However, thanks to a product drive, his company has succeeded in broadening its market presence recently, following a period without new client contracts. The launched product campaign consists of tailored services named ULD Select, plug&fly, cool&fly or lease&fly. “A one-size-fits-all-solution doesn’t work any longer, if ever it did,” he states.
The leasing business might up new doors
Now, the Jettainer management hopes that local Chinese carriers might consider outsourcing their ULD business as well, after traditionally running them inhouse, thus following the t’way, Vietjet, or Cebu examples. After all, what has become a win-win for all parties involved in Europe or North America, and meanwhile also in East Asia, could similarly benefit Chinese carriers both financially and operationally, states Mr. Sonntag. Particularly, his company’s leasing offer could become a door opener, he forecasts.
Setting up a profit center in Hong Kong
In order to provide professional support to existing customers, and to acquire new business, the ULD manager has established offices in Singapore and Hong Kong. While Singapore-based General Manager, Edward Neo coordinates and steers all sales activities in the APAC region, Stella Wang joined Jettainer on 01APR22 as Head of Product lease&fly. From Hong Kong, she is responsible for further developing the lease product, expanding the customer base, and growing the business.
“We want to make Hong Kong our profit and operational center in the Far East,” announces Christine Klemmer, Head of Business & Portfolio Development at Jettainer.
From ocean freight to airfreight
But Jettainer has succeeded in widening its customer portfolio not only in the Far East. It has also scored promising opportunities in Europe. There, the company will start to manage the ULD flows of a major shipping line that is investing in its own fleet of all-cargo aircraft, including Boeing and Airbus freighters.
Jettainer is considering basing a local manager at the airline’s home base to coordinate the main ULD activities. That is because, unlike traditional scheduled cargo or passenger carriers, the shipping line is primarily focused on ad hoc flights: a demanding task for any coordinator. “Having the right number of ULDs available at the right time at the airports served by an all-cargo carrier, requires enormous flexibility from us, and operational coordination tailored to the requirements of our upcoming partner,” emphasizes Jettainer CEO, Sonntag. At the same time, he also speaks of a learning curve made possible for his company's approximately 100 employees through the cooperation with the maritime company. This could set a precedent and motivate those other shipping lines operating freighters to follow suit.
Growing customer portfolio
Still in Europe, but at the southwestern edge, Jettainer appears to have acquired TAP Cargo as a new customer. This is indicated by containers displaying the brand of both companies, loaded aboard the TAP fleet. The airline’s former ULD provider, Zurich-based Unilode, seems to have lost the business. At TAP Cargo’s Lisbon HQ, nobody was available for a comment.
Across the big pond, the ULD manager is about to sign a contract with a Latin American airline, local sources indicated to CargoForwarder Global. Provided the deal will be sealed as expected, another white spot on Jettainer’s global map would be eliminated. If so, additional business in Central and South America is very likely to follow, turning the vast market between the Rio Grande and Fireland into another new Eldorado for Jettainer, following the East Asian example.
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