Munich Airport is experiencing an upswing in air cargo traffic. The latest example is the increase in frequencies offered by Qatar Airways Cargo, which will double its air services from tomorrow (27FEB23), from two flights per week to four. The additional flights will be operated on behalf of logistics company, Schenker, which is thus further expanding its charter program.
One of the two new flights takes off from Munich to Chicago Rockford Airport, and returns from there via Munich back to Doha. The second additional air service is a rotation between Doha and Munich. While the Rockford connections will be flown on weekdays 5 (outbound) and 6 (inbound), the Doha-Munich-Doha route is served on day 2. For customers, the new services represent an outright doubling of main deck capacity on both routes. The flights are also a first for Schenker. Until now, the logistics company has not utilized Qatar Airways Cargo capacity ex MUC on a full charter basis. “The additional cargo flights strengthen our good partnership with Qatar Airways. By expanding our flight network from Munich, we provide new and reliable capacities for our customers,” stated a company representative.
Full flight program
Schenker is thus continuing unabated with its full-charter program, which began five years ago. While just 208 flights were operated in 2019, this number had grown to 2,090 flights a year later, and has since stabilized. Last year, 1,931 flights were operated in full charter mode on behalf of Schenker. “We continue to see a high demand for reliable air charter services. Our Global Flight Network with own chartered capacity continues to be a future-proof pillar of our air cargo strategy,” said a source.
As part of the flight program, the logistics provider collaborates closely with several capacity providers. In addition to Qatar Airways Cargo, these are Magma, Lufthansa Cargo, Atlas Air, Latam Cargo, and others.
Markus Heinelt, Director Traffic Development Cargo at Munich Airport “welcomes the increase in flights by our long-standing customer Qatar Airways.” At the same time, “this testifies to the growing importance of Munich as a location for air freight throughput,” the manager added. And he cites a comparison that clearly demonstrates the upward trend in cargo: 25 versus 15. Full freighters, for example, contributed 15% to cargo capacity before the pandemic began, whereas the share now is 25%. And this must be seen against the fact that main deck provider AirBridgeCargo was still in full swing back in 2019, but had to stop flying following western sanctions resulting from Russia’s war on Ukraine.
Passengers are back
Full freighter traffic to and from MUC is supplemented by passenger flights. “While the passenger segment is growing, the number of cargo shipments carried in the lower decks of aircraft is also increasing,” says Mr. Heinelt. As of next week, this will also be shown by Japanese carrier ANA, which will fly to MUC three times a week, deploying a Boeing 787 “Dreamliner”. The jetliner can carry between 10 and 11 tons per flight. Before the closure of Russian airspace to European and Japanese airlines in response to Russia's invasion, the volume was twice as high. But since February 2022, EU and Japanese airlines have to circumvent Russian airspace, which ups the amount of fuel needed, lowering the load factor for cargo.
Another airline whose lower deck capacity is virtually fully booked on every flight, is Taiwan's EVA Air. The carrier launched the Taipei-Munich route in NOV22, and deploys B787 “Dreamliners” on its four weekly rotations. The aviation agreement between Germany and Taiwan allows the Taiwanese airlines 11 flights per week. Since China Airlines, also based in Taipei, already operates 7 scheduled flights to Frankfurt, EVA Air grabbed the four available Munich connections.
“The flights between Taipei and Munich expand our intercontinental network, and are also a welcome sign of the ongoing recovery of passenger and cargo traffic at Munich,” commented Jost Lammers, CEO of Flughafengesellschaft Muenchen.
Final word from cargo boss, Mr. Heinelt: “The pandemic is over, so we decided to tie up a tradition by organizing some roadshows this year again to meet with customers, airlines, and shippers.” These will take place on 11JUL23 in Stuttgart, a day later (12JUL23) in Nuremberg, and on 20JUL23 in Munich. Interested parties should hurry to register in time, because the events are quickly booked out, especially the large closing show in Munich.
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