Leipzig/Halle Airport is well on the way to passing the one million tonnage mark for the first time in 2016 – fuelled by growth in the express and charter sectors, reports Justin Burns.
In the first eight months of the year, cargo volumes grew by 6.4 per cent to around 680,891 tonnes. In August, the gateway posted a nine per cent uplift to 81,701 tonnes, compared to the same month in 2015.
Mitteldeutsche Airport Holding board spokesman and managing director of Leipzig/Halle Airport, Johannes Jahn, explains: “Fortunately, the positive trend is continuing for the 12th year in succession, which underlines our expectations that we will be able to exceed the one million tonnes mark this year for the very first time.”
Jahn is a member of the steering committee of the German Airports Association and will head up the association’s newly founded specialist committee for airfreight and logistics from 1 January 2017 onwards.
Leipzig/Halle is the largest handling site in Germany for express freight and Jahn says it continues to provide significant growth figures, while the freight charter traffic – and particularly for outsized cargo – is also developing in a very positive manner.
He notes the number of movements provided by Antonov 124 aircraft was around 280 by the end of August, which is significantly higher than the figure for the whole of 2015.
In Jahn’s view there are challenges in the German air cargo market, but the main one he feels, is there is still a huge need for the Federal Aviation Office to optimise its procedures for granting permits for cargo charter flights.
He explains: “When directly compared to other European nations, like the Benelux countries, for example, this procedure takes too much time. We believe this represents a clear competitive disadvantage for Germany as a business centre.
“On the other hand, we see opportunities, for the Leipzig/Halle site, in the development of our company in the direction of becoming a full provider of logistics services, which maps the complete supply chain for airlines, shippers and freight forwarding companies to the same degree or provides just modular elements, depending on what is required.”
Jahn says the spectrum of services at Leipzig/Halle ranges from ‘origin to destination’, including preparing a consignment at the customer’s premises, to picking up goods, completing the paperwork and providing transportation and even delivering the items to their destination, including the provision of any necessary customs clearance.
Leipzig/Halle will soon welcome more air cargo infrastructure and a 400 square metre refrigerated facility to be called the World Cargo Center will be opened at the end of 2016 – operated by the gateway’s subsidiary PortGround, a services company for all kinds of freight and aircraft handling.
Jahn says: “The World Cargo Center connects the airside and landside areas under one roof and enables short handling times thanks to its direct access to the apron area, street to plane is 100 metres.”
Leipzig/Halle looks odds on to go from strength-to-strength and Jahn is optimistic that new charter chains will be routed via the airport in the fourth quarter this year.
He adds: “Pakistan International Airlines, according to its own statement, is also planning to operate scheduled flights from Pakistan to New York via Leipzig/Halle from 2017 onwards, which would open up fresh potential in the belly cargo sector.”