Vol. 10 No. 70                       THE GLOBAL AIR CARGO PUBLICATION OF RECORD SINCE 2001               Thursday July 21, 2011


Group of visitors from around the world, including Iran, Malaysia, France and the Netherlands, walk through the Medtronic Distribution and Logistics Campus near Memphis International Airport. More than 600 people from around the attended the Airport Cities World Conference & Exhibition this past April to get a look at the Memphis Aerotropolis.

     Regular FlyingTypers readers will recall our exclusive “An Aerotropolis Too Far ” and our further series of stories on the subject last month which reported the furor over huge sums of taxpayer monies that some folks want to spend in St. Louis, Missouri to build a big logistics center.
     Now Greg Lindsay, a champion on the TV game show "Jeopardy" and co-author of a book called Aerotropolis-How We Will Live Next, says that the ballyhooed Lambert Field $360 million in tax credits scheme to build an Aerotropolis will not work.
     Lindsay and/or his co-author coined the term Aerotropolis, which has caught on amongst proponents in St. Louis as the next big thing to lift that mid-American city to further greatness, perhaps turning Lambert Field into a field of dreams; i.e., “if we build it, they will come.”
     For the record, last month The Show Me Institute and Michael Webber, a well-known and respected Kansas City-based air cargo consultant, spearheaded a widespread debate laying out in detailed chapter and verse why a St. Louis air cargo hub scheme will flop.
     But to hear the guy whose moniker Aerotropolis was applied to the St. Louis project say “it won’t work” may have dealt the deal a death blow.
     “Chinese carriers will come until the subsidies run out, then they’ll look again at their balance sheets and pull out,” Lindsay told The St. Louis Post Dispatch, adding:
     “It's really hard to build that critical mass with Chicago and Dallas so close.
     “Calling some cargo flights and warehouses an Aerotropolis doesn't make it one.
     “I don't think it will work," Lindsay concluded.
     Meantime, back where the rubber meets the road, our sources are saying that the St. Louis crowd pushing for the China Hub is assuring that China Eastern/China Cargo Airlines are onboard to start up service into the gateway city at some point.
     But a quick follow-the-money reality check shows that China Eastern/China Cargo Airlines group's investors include EVA Airways & Singapore Airlines Cargo, which are already providing line flights into the usual USA gateways.
     We can only wonder why any of these carriers would prefer St. Louis instead of, say, symbiotic operations with their own freighters at ORD?
     Then there's China Eastern's membership in Sky Team (as of 6/21), which one might imagine would encourage the carrier to make secondary considerations of strong DL cargo gateways, such as DTW and ATL.
     Not to be overlooked (for even more balance here) is the fallibility of portraying STL as "China's choice" even as Yangtze River Express began new cargo service into ORD as recently as 6/22.
     “Given how much events have conspired to make St. Louis look poorer as a prospect every week, it is even less wonder that proponents would like to rush this through without any independent analysis,” a source told ACN/FT.



This article appeared last week in Reason Magazine’s online newsletter regarding Airport Policy. Reason is an online and print news source that claims to be composed of "free minds and free markets." It makes a point of being neither left-leaning nor right-leaning, but rather balanced in its efforts to promote liberty and individual choice. The New York Times has called it “the ultimate in customized publishing and The Chicago Tribune has cited it in its 50-best Magazines list.
     We pass along its take on the Aerotropolis debate as Air Cargo News/FlyingTypers is mentioned in the article. If you would like to subscribe to Reason’s Airport Policy newsletter, please click here.

     Last month an article appeared in Air Cargo News/Flying Typers. “St. Louis Air Cargo—An Aerotropolis Too Far?” by Michael Webber, and the story quickly went viral and received 108,000 hits in 24 hours. (www.aircargonews.com/0611/FT110614.html )
     The Air Cargo News/FlyingTypers article took issue with a plan to develop declining St. Louis Lambert International Airport into the nation’s Midwest China Hub.
     Supported by local area boosters, the “Midwest-China Hub Committee” put forth the idea that this airport can and should become the principal air cargo hub, at least in the Midwest, for trade with China.
     Webber is a long-time air-cargo consultant (many years with Leigh Fisher Associates prior to launching his own Webber Air Cargo, Inc. in 2001).
     His article provides a reality check on the likelihood of this plan’s success—which appears close to zero.
     Lambert’s air cargo volume has declined 20% between 2000 and 2010.
     It’s only a few hundred miles from the major Midwest cargo hub—Chicago O’Hare, which is midway through a large expansion.
     While served by both UPS and Fedex, which account for about 90% of its cargo today, Lambert is a hub for neither, but both major carriers already have Midwestern hubs—Louisville, Memphis, Rockford, and Indianapolis.
     Much cargo is also carried in the bellies of passenger planes, especially wide-bodies.
     While Lambert’s passenger enplanements have plunged since the demise of TWA, O’Hare has continued to grow, as a domestic and international hub for both American and United and with numerous international passenger routes served by major foreign airlines, as well as all-cargo carriers such as Nippon Cargo and Cargolux.
     The Midwest-China Hub concept has received no independent analysis, but was poised to receive $400 million in general tax money from the Missouri Legislature; this was averted when the session ended before the proponents’ bill could be enacted. Instead of analysis, all that was available was PR boosterism, supported by the St. Louis business establishment, with some help from over $1 million in federal and state grants.
     Some of that largesse was secured by former Sen. Kit Bond (R, MO), whose former chief of staff serves as executive director of the Midwest-China Hub Commission. Incidentally, none of these plans have been put through the normal FAA airport master plan process; it’s all been done politically.
     Webber tells me that he offered his article originally to both the Kansas City Star and the Kansas City Business Journal, both of which turned it down.
     Thanks to Air Cargo News/FlyingTypers, the lid has been lifted on this boondoggle in the making.


     With the women’s magazine “Brigitte“ under her arm as the lead to her career at Lufthansa, Ulrike Schlosser knows the Lufthansa group in all its facets, but freight she knows best.
     She resides in a castle dating back to the 17th century– but she is no princess. Sitting at her desk, she has a princely view over the 444-hectar, park-like estate. She did not miss the wedding ceremony of the year of Prince William and Catherine Middelton; she watched it on TV. Ulrike Schlosser was born untitled as a daughter of a doctor in Nürnberg. The castle Donnington Hall in Derby, Middle England, (also home to BMI) is merely her workplace.
     She is a top manager at Lufthansa who has undertaken the implementation of fully integrating British Midland (BMI) into the Lufthansa Group. In 2009, the crane had acquired majority share in the British airline.
BMI´s long-time owner, Sir Michael Bishop, had purchased the castle years back and turned it into the airline’s headquarters.
     Ulrike Schlosser´s job in England seems to be the definitive destination in her career with Lufthansa, which began with her training as an Airline Manager in 1974, where everything revolved around air freight.
     Her route to aviation was, however, more or less taken by chance. Traditionally, the men and women of her family became either physicians or priests. Surely, the proximity to Frankfurt airport and the many flights of her father, Professor Hanns Schoberth, in his capacity as the physician of the German national soccer team, aroused her curiosity and interest in aviation from an early stage.
     But without the column “I´m interested in…” in which women’s magazine Brigitte presented attractive jobs for young people, she would have very likely landed in the faculties of the universities of Mainz or Heidelberg.
     What caught her eye was a listing for the studies of tourism at the University of Applied Sciences in Munich and a rather insignificant detail in the job description that would eventually become very typical for the subsequent career of the young Ulrike Schlosser.
     The listing required only a Mittlere Reife, the German secondary school certificate, as a prerequisite. This was not enough for the young and self-confident lady who was about to complete her Abitur, the German high school or A-level exam.
     Her motto: If you have to do something, do it right: “The efforts invested into the Abitur were supposed to pay off.” Thus, her gaze wandered to the accompanying Lufthansa logo and what that had to offer. The crane was looking for high-school graduates for their Airline Management trainee program. On the following day, the 18-year old tucked the magazine under her arm and drove to Lufthansa´s town office at the Frankfurt Central Station, inquired about the relevant requirements and had the application documents sent to her address. On the evening of the day the postman had delivered the documents, the letter with her application was sent to Lufthansa’s headquarters in Cologne.
     Ulrike Schlosser, answering to the name of Schoberth back then, had once again rolled up her sleeves: Lufthansa watch out, here I come. The qualification test followed shortly before the Christmas of 1973. The young lady had to cool her heels a bit longer; a hiring freeze at Lufthansa impeded her start for months to come.
     It finally began in September 1974. A three-year apprenticeship followed, about which Ulrike Schlosser is still enthusiastic: “I was given the chance to get to know Lufthansa from left to right and in all its facets.” Every six to eight weeks, a different station: marketing, bookkeeping, accounting, ticketing, check-in, sales and counseling at the city office, cargo handling, export and import. Even in positions where she did not particularly have much fun, she meticulously kept track of all processes and listened closely. She literally absorbed everything new and “filled her stock” incessantly.
     Years later, when the former CFO Dr. Karl-Ludwig Kley offered her the position of Head of Investor Relations and she inquired with amazement why Kley, of all people, had chosen her for the position, the director answered in only one sentence: “Because you know the company and its interconnections better than anyone else.”
     It was during her training that Schlosser realized her heart belonged to cargo. This especially had to do with the people working there. “I was impressed by the direct and open way the people interacted with each other.”      Even though back then, the freight department at Lufthansa was “very small” compared to its size today, “the team spirit, however, was impressive.” She understands, says Ulrike Schlosser, “why one would still refer to a special Cargo-Spirit.”
     Since she is a “people-person,” with the desire to have people around in her daily work, as the only graduate of the hard and challenging Lufthansa-training she deliberately chose the freight department after her apprenticeship. “Most graduates,” Ulrike Schlosser recalls, “entered the administration department. In their eyes I was a bit bizarre.” She describes herself as: “exotic person, even as a young girl.”
     The next 18 years were dedicated to the freight department. Under Karl-Heinz Köpfle, she was appointed Route Manager for America at German Cargo. She then built up the marketing department and became Head of Animal Transportation. During this time, Ulrike Schlosser left a long trail of profound footprints. Animal Transportation, which used to transport only a few cats and dogs every now and then when U.S. soldiers were moved back to their homelands or rich Germans did not want to leave their beloved four-legged friends behind, developed into a premium provider of animal transports. Together with outside service providers, a wide range of animal-friendly freight containers, including specific horseboxes, were developed. Boeing introduced their combined version of the 747, offering a lot of storage space for containers at the back of the aircraft that were big enough for up to six horse boxes.
     Lufthansa and her subsidiary German Cargo positioned themselves as the market’s premium-provider of animal transport. As a result in 1989, Ulrike Schlosser landed two major deals. Lufthansa flew the European and international showjumping elite to the famous Spruce Meadows Masters in Calgary, Canada, and at the same time was able to win as customer the organizers of the Volvo Showjumping Worldcups, which hosted the highly paid tournaments alternatively in Gotheburg, Sweden, and a city in Europe or overseas. Back then, there was even a professional horse whisperer on the freight specialists’ payroll – Brian Stuart. Ulrike Schlosser had committed this highly esteemed and recognized expert on horses to accompany the animal transports on board at an altitude of 30,000 feet.
     When the Volvo Worldcup was supposed to take place near San Diego in DelMar, California, and the organizers expressed their wish to have their sensitive show jumping horses flown out to the nearby military base Naval Air Station in Miramar, the colleagues at Lufthansa Operations could only smile wearily at this idea. Until then, no civilian aircraft had been allowed to land on this military air base, despite the fact that many film scenes from the blockbuster movie Top Gun with Tom Cruise were shot there. The Americans would never consent to such a special flight.
     Ulrike Schlosser once again sensed the tingling feeling of ambition rising up inside her, and she rolled up her sleeves. A couple of months later, approximately 200-miles away from the military base, the pilots of two U.S.-fighters welcomed the 747- Lufthansa full charter, saluted by shortly rocking their wings, and escorted the Lufthansa-aircraft onto the runway. There, the 48 show jumping horses were only a “jump” away from the course. Ulrike Schlosser, who was on board as well, had visibly enjoyed the friendly welcome of the American airmen.
     In 1987 the company received a lot of attention in the media as well. The celebrated wild animal tamers Siegfried and Roy, who lived in Las Vegas, had given the white royal Bengal tigers Vegas und Siegroy as a present to the amusement park “Phantasialand,” located near Cologne. Until 1995 the enclosure, which had been specifically manufactured for the tigers, formed the attraction “Magic World of Siegfried & Roy” together with an exposition about Siegfried and Roy themselves. Of course, Lufthansa Cargo carried out the transport.
     In 1995, cameramen and photographers were at hand with their equipment in position when a Lufthansa aircraft carrying the female panda Yan Yan and the Governing Mayor of Berlin, Eberhard Diepgen, landed in Berlin. The animal was loaned by China to the Berlin zoo in order to mate with the male panda bear Bao Bao. Bao Bao, who had lived in Germany since 1979, was a gift from the Chinese Government to the former chancellor, Helmut Schmidt. In spite of all efforts, the liaison of Yan Yan and Bao Bao resulted in no success – no offspring were conceived.
     Ulrike Schlosser had climbed the ladder of success, and transferred to the passenger business. When Jürgen Weber implemented the separation of the Lufthansa group into individual companies in 1995, he insisted on upholding the philosophy of perceiving the company as a whole in the management. Managers from one sector were supposed to gain experience in one of the other affiliated companies.
     Wilhelm Althen, former boss of Lufthansa Cargo, “offered Ulrike Schlosser his division.” In retrospect, he later admitted half jokingly and half seriously that it had been a mistake. Because Schlosser immersed herself in her new position as the new Head of Revenue Management, and henceforth had nothing more to do with Lufthansa Cargo. She stayed six years at the passenger division and led the Pricing & Yield Management department for more than three years.
     Then came the call from Karl-Ludwig Kley. Ulrike Schlosser was appointed Head of Investor Relations, got acquainted with the stock-exchange's power and the particulars of the decisions of the analysts, and as “all-rounder” followed the call to the Lufthansa subsidiary LSG in 2006. As Managing Director of In-flight Management Solutions GmbH, in charge of the in-flight catering for all Lufthansa flights, she was supposed to lead the company out of the red. She succeeded in doing this after two years.
     In June 2007, yet another call followed. Through its Group initiative “Upgrade to Industry Leadership” Lufthansa-CEO Wolfgang Mayrhuber aimed to exploit more effectively the innovative power of individual companies within the Lufthansa Group, to profit from synergies better and to implement “crisis awareness” in the minds and behavior of employees, even in times of high profits. Ulrike Schlosser was supposed to lead the initiative. She did not have to think long before she accepted the challenge. The program concluded in January 2010,
     She did not have to wait very long for the next call, and Ulrike Schlosser boarded the plane to England.      However attractive the work place at the castle may be, the assignment at British Midland is only for a limited period of time. The 56-year old is well aware of this fact. Perhaps her path will lead her back to air freight - back to her great, old love.
Note: Germany will go gala over air cargo with a week long celebration that commences on August 17th and begins with the unveiling of a new book commissioned by Lufthansa entitled “100 Years of Air Cargo.” The landing page to keep up with the latest happenings and celebration of 100 Years of Air Cargo is http://www.100-years-air-cargo.com/

Tulsi Mirchandaney

Olga Pleshakova

Lucy Ntuba

Lina Rutkauskien

Carmen Taylor

Gloria Whittington

Rachel Humphrey

Jenni Frigger-Latham


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RE: Ditch Belly Lift Sez DJ

Dear Geoffrey,

     I guess you gave DJ “Ditch Belly Cargo Sez DJ”, the platform to stir things up.
     Well done, it worked.
     Enjoyed the piece from Palmer and Oliver, two ex KLM colleagues.
     It's a shame we don’t see the next generation taking part in this debate.
     Bellies are a necessary and valuable contributor to logistics, it’s the freighter operators who have to figure out their niche.
     Perhaps in an ideal world passenger airlines would not operate freighters, which would allow pure freighter operators the chance to maneuver profitably for sure.
     But Christmas only comes once.

Good wishes,
Stan Wraight



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