Air Cargo Africa: Africa to learn from Leipzig-Halle Airport

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The Airports Company of South Africa (ACSA) signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) for marketing on Wednesday 25 February with Mitteldeutsche Airport Holding, which runs Leipzig-Halle Airport.

ACSA chief operating officer, Tebogo Mekgoe, and Mitteldeutsche chief executive officer, Markus Kopp, signed the agreement at the 3rd Air Cargo Africa (ACA) conference in Johannesburg.

The MOU will expand international air cargo marketing opportunities and aims to elevate the status of both organisations in the air transport industry.

Speaking to Air Cargo Week (ACW) at the ACA, Mekgoe says that as part of the MOU, the German airport is helping set-up a specialist cargo division, and once the local staff are fully trained they will take over the department themselves. He says it came about after ACSA decided in 2010 to carry out its cargo operations differently, by developing a fresh approach to airfreight.

Mekgoe explains that the airport wanted to move away from just letting carriers, handlers and forwarders, “get on with it,” and simply take rent for using warehouses on site.

He tells ACW that the expertise of Leipzig will help in the goal of wanting to offer a better service to customers, drive volume, develop a broader network and potentially more cargo opportunities.

According to both parties, the MOU provides them with a range of benefits and the understanding was first discussed at the last Air Cargo Africa in 2013.

“There are potential synergies, and for us collaborating with Leipzig we will see improvements for our cargo customers, while also building skills capacity,” adds Mekgoe.

“For Leipzig, they can gain a better understanding in Africa to build up their network, and in making the north and south connection, something they want to do,” he explains.

O.R Tambo International Airport in Johannesburg will be the first airport in South Africa to have a specialist cargo division, before it is rolled out to other gateways in the country in the years ahead. Mekgoe says O.R Tambo is aiming to grow cargo considerably, and it is hoping for considerable growth, and by 2025, he says the target is to reach one million tonnes of cargo, up from the 400,000 level now. This will be achieved he says, by creating partnerships such as the one with Leipzig, and eventually operating 50,000 long-haul flights a year.

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