Recent years have been all about sudden mini-peaks in demand, as the traditional Asian ‘peak season’ has not materialised, Chapman Freeborn group cargo director, Reto Hunziker tells Air Cargo Week.
Alongside the sudden mini-peaks, Hunziker says project-based work has been one of Chapman Freeborn’s key focuses and he is pleased how 2016 has gone so far. Charter companies have to contend with the same challenges as the whole industry such as the overcapacity, economic challenges and other events, such as Brexit adding to the uncertainty in Europe.
The rest of the year will be challenging, he says: “The traditional ‘peak season’ out of Asia hasn’t really be a reality for a few years – not in the same way it was maybe a decade ago where companies could predict the demand with a much higher level of confidence.”
Despite this, demand for Asia to Africa services are rising, as Hunziker explains: “We’re also seeing a rise in demand for flights to Africa out of Asia – with China being a major investor in infrastructure projects there.”
India is also an interesting market for Chapman Freeborn, both for charters and onboard courier (OBC) services. Chapman Freeborn has been established in India for a number of years but has noticed a renewed focus on investment in manufacturing industries during the last 12 months.
Hunziker says: “Sectors like automotive and high-tech are a natural fit for our services with lots of time-critical requirements. We’ve also benefitted from India’s growing reputation in the pharmaceutical industry.”
He adds: “India is an exciting market for us at the moment – but we’re also looking to further strengthen our position in other emerging markets across Asia, Africa and Latin America.”
Air charter is an exciting business to work in, and Chapman Freeborn projects this year have included coordinating use of the Antonov AN-225 and supporting the Solar Impulse 2 round-the-world flight (pictured).
Hunziker tells ACW: “This IL-76 project required all of our global charter market expertise as we were working around Si2’s changeable flight schedules – with support solutions required in Asia, North America, Europe, and North Africa.”
Hunziker says wherever it is operating in the world, flexibility is vital, saying: “As a charter specialist it’s always about being flexible and ready to respond to the changing demand as and when it occurs – rather than being able to neatly schedule it.”