Numerous airlines operating freighter aircraft to and from FRA will have to look for an alternative to their Rhine-Main services due to the flight stop prompted by the airport. Carriers
were informed Friday evening (01JUL) about the traffic restrictions. The note reads:
“The handling capacity of our ground handling services (BVD) is severely limited due to significant traffic peaks, numerous flight schedule postponements and limited staff resources. As a further measure to relieve the ground handling services during these traffic peaks and to stabilize handling at FRA, BVD is currently asking certain cargo airlines not to route flights through Frankfurt during the following periods, effective immediately and until the end of August 2022.”
According to BVD, the capacity restrictions in handling affect the following days and times:
- Friday between 4 pm- 6 pm
- Saturday between 9 am – 11 am and 6 pm – 10 pm
- Sunday between 9 am – 11 am and 4 pm – 9 pm
Weekends, particularly FR and SA, are traditionally the busiest days for air cargo traffic.
Restrictions apply immediately
Affected are more than 30 cargo flights operated between Friday and Sunday, including many services conducted by home carrier Lufthansa Cargo and its JV partner AeroLogic. Other airlines that have to reschedule their flight or might consider landing at alternative airports are Emirates Sky Cargo, or Korean Air Cargo, just to name a few.
Since the restrictions came into effect right after they were announced, Lufthansa Cargo imposed an immediate embargo on the carriage of animals, including ornamental fish and crab larvae to and from Frankfurt, according to head of communications and marketing, Jacqueline Casini. The ban will initially apply for the next 7 days, she told CargoForwarder Global but might be prolonged. "We have scheduled an urgent management meeting for Sunday (03JUL) to discuss the issue in principle and to find suitable flight solutions to rebook the shipments of our customers."
Decline of tonnage expected
The cancellation of many freight flights over the next 8 weeks will significantly reduce cargo throughput at Frankfurt. "Even before the BVD announcement, we were 20 percent below the 2021 volume," nods VP Sales, Business Development & Marketing, Hendrik Bender, of Sovereign Speed. “Due to the flight restrictions, the tonnage will go south even more significantly,” he expects.
Besides Sovereign, five other ground handling agents are affected by the expected decline in volume: Swissport, LUG, Celebi, CHI Cargo Handling, and Frankfurt Cargo Services (FCS).
Giving cross-company cooperation a chance
Fraport's head of cargo, Max Conrady, admits that the downsizing of single freighter flights in peak times is unsatisfactory. It is caused by grave staff shortages, aggravated by Corona infections and the beginning of the holiday season in many parts of Germany. Moreover, the pattern of passenger traffic has clearly changed, resulting in sharp peaks in volume during the course of any given day and especially on weekends. All this, including weather caprices at some days, put even more pressure on the already strained personnel system in Frankfurt like in the aviation industry in general. “We have taken many steps to address the situation. To further remedy this situation, another step is to downscale single flights in peak time to stabilize operations at FRA. We communicate the situation openly and talk bilaterally with airlines to find adequate solutions. Even when problems arise; we do this out of respect for our customers and employees," states the executive.
Hendrik Bender of Sovereign Speed, told CargoForwarder Global that his company could help out by shifting some of its own staff temporary to the BVD to alleviate their staff shortages to a certain degree. “Other agents might follow suit,” he expects.
The situation is grave, he admits. "All the more we have to stand together as cargo community to find workable solutions.”
This cross-company cooperation worked well during the peak times of the C-19 pandemic, so why not now?, asks the cargo expert.
Tomorrow (04JUL) first exploratory talks will be held.
Please stay tuned!
We welcome and publish comments from all authenticated users.