Asia and China in particular key focuses for Munich

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Yangtze River Express Boeing 747 at Munich Airport

China and Asia as a whole remain the most vital trade lanes for Munich Airport for both bellyhold and freighter-only segments.

One of the Bavarian gateways key carriers is HNA Group airline Yangtze River Express (pictured), which operates five-weekly flights to the Chinese cities of Tianjin and Shanghai operated by a Boeing 744 Freighter.

Munich Airport director of traffic development for cargo, Markus Heinelt explains the carrier moves predominantly large volume and heavy cargo payloads, mostly main deck cargo.

China and the Asian region are key part of the airport’s future strategy, he explains: “China and Asia in general continue to be in our focus for further progress in the belly freight and the freight-only segments.”

Backed by good growth to/from Asia, Munich continues to grow its volumes and in the first five months of 2016 volumes reached 135,266 tonnes, a year-on-year (YOY) increase of 6.8 per cent compared to 2015.

Heinelt says this result exceeds the estimates and positions Munich again among the top major German airports in regard to cargo growth.

From January to May 2016 surged by 3.7 per cent, whereas exports grew by 4.9 per cent, while transit tonnage (truck/by air or by air/truck) recorded a double-digit growth during this period.

Freighters driving expansion at Munich other than Yangtze, include AirBridgeCargo Airlines, DHL, FedEx, TNT, Cargolux Airlines and UPS.

On the bellyhold side the likes of Lufthansa, Emirates, Qatar Airways, Etihad Airways, Singapore Airlines, All Nippon Airways, Air China and US carriers United Airlines and American Airlines.

Heinelt says the most important lanes are the US, China, Japan and India – either served by non-stop bellyhold or freighter flights from Munich or transit flights via Middle East or other hubs.

He says more routes are to be added and Lufthansa has launched a regular service to Denver and Delta introduced a Detroit service, while Emirates added a third frequency to Dubai.

Meanwhile, Heinelt notes Condor will station one Boeing 767 aircraft offering interesting cargo routes to Halifax, Havanna, Windhoek, and Mombasa, adding: “

We expect further growth in the freight-only segment – through new routes or additional frequencies of existing airline clients.”

The building of a third runway is crucial for growth and having an additional runway in Germany is only logistically possible at Munich, Heinelt says and it is awaiting approval for the scheme.

He explains: “It is important to further strengthen Munich’s role as passenger and cargo hub. With increased capacities Munich will be well prepared for additional growth in the long-haul segment.

“Then, more belly capacities will certainly have positive influence also on a cargo growth, especially since Munich’s catchment area is considered one of Europe’s strongest cargo markets.”

Munich is planning further developments and already has concrete requests from top logistic companies as well as cargo airlines, which have demands for additional infrastructure space.

Heinelt says: “The more increase we register in the belly and freight-only segments the higher the requirements of our clients will be – regarding special cargo. We definitely want to operate pro-actively together with our cargo clients.”

Cargo through Munich is vital for Southern Germany and the region of Bavaria, famous for its economic power, innovations and home to leading industries, such as high-tech, automotive, medical and mechanical engineering, bio-tech, life science and others.

Heinelt says it has a strong export and import oriented industries, which needs efficient airport structures with worldwide connections.

He notes: “30 per cent by value of all goods transported overseas are handled by airfreight. The larger the belly and main deck capacities the more attractive Munich Airport becomes for the cargo industry.

“This is also reflected by the current trucking flows. For example, we have noted an increase in the share of transit cargo when it comes to sending to Munich, which are being trucked to other final destinations.

“Or the other way round, export deliveries are being increasingly trucked to Munich and depart from here on international flights. We are content to see a big change compared to the past where the tonnage from the greater Munich area was mainly trucked to other cargo airports.”

He feels Munich offers two decisive competitive advantages – a strong industry and economic center on the one hand and on the other hand cargo infrastructures, which are tailor-made to the needs of logistic companies and airlines. This Heinelt believes offers air cargo operators “unrivalled” processing times, as it results in substantial cost benefits as compared with other airports.

But there is challenges to stay in front of nearby rival European airports, but Heinelt is positive about the future: “Germany has the strongest economy with the largest cargo volumes in the European Union.

“Therefore, the great challenge in the future will be that cargo traffic does not shift to other countries as a result of bi-lateral air transportation treaties and/or alliances.”