New players to emerge in Berlin's cargo market?
Apart from daily passenger flights, the airline also operates a weekly B747 freighter service to Dubai. “The airline did increase the frequencies of the B747F flights to twice-weekly, but has since reduced this to the weekly operation,” Hulsman said. He added that the airport is also gaining from Emirates’ use of Dusseldorf as a feeder point from other major European gateways. “The airline now serves Paris with A380 equipment, which has considerably reduced its cargo uplift out of the French gateways, so instead, it is trucking cargo to Dusseldorf to make greater use of capacity out of here,” he said.
Like Germany’s other second-tier gateways, Dusseldorf is seeking to gain critical mass with more direct, long-haul connections. “We have the benefit of Dusseldorf being designated as Air Berlin’s second hub in Germany,” Hulsman said. “Lufthansa is adding more and more direct, long-haul services out of Dusseldorf, with Japan, for example, being added next year.”
The airport expects to handle around 105,000 tonnes this year, of which 90 percent is contained in bellyholds. “We want to see that split 80/20 percent as we move forward,” said Hulsman, who together with the DUS Cargo Logistics team, has worked hard to develop a range of products to attract more cargo business to the airport. The latest venture is a neutral trucking service in cooperation with the Run Air Network, which allows airlines and forwarders to feed cargo across Europe.
Cologne-Bonn Airport is seemingly playing a more prominent role in the German air cargo market. At first sight, it would appear to have achieved that goal already, with annual throughputs of more than 650,000 tonnes of cargo. But the vast majority of this business is integrator traffic generated by the presence of UPS and FedEx hubs. Strip their combined figures out of the equation, and general cargo traffic amounts to 150,000 tonnes a year.
“We welcome the integrators, but in some respects it dwarfs our general cargo business, and so it can sometimes be difficult to put that side of our business into its proper prospective,” said Franz Heuckeroth van Hessen, the airport’s director of cargo and sales.
Van Hessen said he views Cologne-Bonn as not an exclusively German airport, choosing instead to focus on the European-wide reach of carriers operating there. Competing with Amsterdam Schiphol, he said, is not out of the question. In fact, van Hessen previously worked for the larger airport, and he has used this experience to help Cologne-Bonn progress.
“It has allowed me to transfer all the knowledge and experience of working at a major cargo gateway and translate that into growing the business at an up-and-coming cargo hub,” says van Hessen, who adds that he is targeting freighter operators to grow his business at Cologne-Bonn.
“The benefit of working with a smaller airport setup like Cologne-Bonn,” he continued, “means that we can provide the carrier with every support service they require.”