One of the first changes at Fraport Cargo Services (FCS) after it was taken over by Worldwide Flight Services (WFS) was the appointment of Hans-Georg Emmert as managing director. Emmert was promoted from head of sales and marketing and took over on 1 December. He spoke to Air Cargo Week about how he sees the industry and the impact of the takeover.
James Muir, ACW: How will your experience as head of sales and marketing help now you are managing director?
Emmert: First of all I know the business and the company. I am very much supported by the trust and motivation of our entire workforce. I am very well connected to our customers and completely aware of their needs and requirements. Since the establishment of FCS I have been working for the company what saves me time in straightly attacking the issues, which shall be improved.
James Muir, ACW: How was business in 2015?
Emmert: The situation in the air cargo industry remained in 2015 very competitive, but due to our new customer China Southern Airlines and the increase of volume with established customers a considerable increase in volume and turnover was achieved. On the other hand there were companies which had to withdraw their traffic because of economically difficult circumstances. We are looking forward to increasing our customer portfolio in 2016.
James Muir, ACW: How will your partnership with WFS affect business?
Emmert: The partnership between WFS and FCS impacts the business only in a positive way.
But what does this mean for our customers? Some may worry this will have an impact on the handling services. Yes, certainly this will have an impact, but only a positive one. All contracts will remain unaltered and our customers will benefit from an even more diversified professional service. Handling network for several destinations in the world are a possible benefit as well as the support and the experience of WFS as a global player.
The Fraport Group, holding 49 per cent company shares at FCS, will also in future support our development at Frankfurt Airport (FRA). In cooperation with the Aviation Ground Services of Fraport we can offer the whole ground handling services to our common airline customers. The global network of WFS, its experience in cargo handling, together with the competence of Fraport as an airport operator and ground handler, are the perfect backing for our business.
James Muir, ACW: What are your priorities for 2016?
Emmert: Lots of challenges are lying ahead of us for 2016. The volume handled by FCS will increase as we will take over the customer of WFS Germany. Our first priority is to guarantee a smooth transition and to continue to provide further excellent service to our existing customers. Our main target has always been to do our utmost to meet our customer’s requirements. We will continue to focus on service and performance.
James Muir, ACW: How do you see the Chinese market?
Emmert: We highly appreciate the cooperation with our Chinese customers. Both could significantly increase their volumes at FRA. Air China belongs to our top customers in terms of total cargo volume and growth. We expect the same development with China Southern Airlines. Despite a slowed increase of exports from China in 2015, we saw a considerable growth of volumes here at FRA which emphasises the carrier’s strong market position. China will also in future be a major market for our company.
James Muir, ACW: What are your expectations for 2016?
Emmert: For 2016 I expect to increase our number of customers and consequently the volume of handled cargo. We will start to offer enhanced handling packages as part of the global WFS network. Our signs are set on the growth of the company, and we will start to explore the possibilities very soon. The WFS Group is focusing strongly on global growth.
James Muir, ACW: How is business in Germany?
Emmert: The challenges we face in Germany lately have not very much changed, but we need to continuously demonstrate our strengths in the competition with other airports and local players. We will continue providing excellent service quality which our customers do expect. Given our new shareholder, we are also focusing on a future expansion in Germany by opening at some potential other German airports.
James Muir, ACW: What is the future for air cargo?
Emmert: I am convinced the market will keep its importance and there will always be enough business, e.g. the development of e-commerce has a very strong impact on the cargo business. It probably may change in the direction that only the big will survive but opportunities for business will always remain.