Munich’s tonnage growth being driven by freighter carriers

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Yangtze River Express Boeing 747 at Munich Airport

Freighter traffic is on the rise at Munich Airport and in the first half of 2015 the airport saw a 33.1 per cent uplift in volumes.

The airport’s director of traffic development for cargo, Markus Heinelt, tells Air Cargo Week (ACW) the increase in freighter capacity has been met with an enthusiastic response in the Munich market. “In the freighter only segment, carriers have increased services, and Munich has succeeded in attracting new cargo airlines like Yangtze River Express (pictured).”

He says the Munich market has also welcomed gains in bellyhold capacity through more routes. The airport is also seeing strong growth in the express market, with UPS, DHL and FedEx reporting substantial surges in tonnage.

The Bavarian gateway has seen strong tonnage growth this year and from January to June it handled 156,400 tonnes, a year on year (YOY) rise of 11.6 per cent. Bellyhold alone was up 8.1 per cent. Exports were up YOY 14.1 per cent and imports up YOY 7.9 per cent. Heinelt says Munich’s volumes performance is in contrast to the German airport average, of a 0.2 per cent increase. “Munich is benefiting from the large flows of cargo tonnage to and from China and North America, especially automotive, machinery and high-tech products,” Heinelt explains.

Logistics companies are investing in operations at Munich, according to Heinelt, and he says the southern Germany region, the country’s strongest economic region, is growing and creating “enormous” demand for additional bellyhold and freighter capacity.” Next week, Kuwait Airways will serve the Munich-Kuwait route for the first time, and space in the cargo hold will be in heavy demand, he says. “We are also picking up strong signals from freighter carriers indicating that they plan to bolster their services from Munich to Asia and North America,” Heinelt adds.

Munich will develop its infrastructure to cope with increasing demand, Heinelt explains. He tells ACW the space requirements of cargo companies are growing just as fast as the tonnage. “We are currently planning further expansion, and wish to strengthen our position in terms of cargo products,” Heinelt adds.

Despite good growth, there are challenges in Germany, and Heinelt says he is concerned about the bilateral air transportation treaties from an airport standpoint.
“This is a key concern for the future of airfreight, I see the approach to major infrastructure projects and their implementation as vital for the future. In Munich, we are faced with a crucial issue, the expansion of our airport through the addition of a third runway,” he notes.