Vol. 10 No. 101                                                                                                                  Thursday October 13, 2011

Frankfurt Airport Night Ban Rising Uproar

ExclusiveReaction has been fast and furious as an October 30th deadline looms and countdown begins for yesterday’s stunning news out of Germany: Europe’s most important air cargo gateway is facing total annihilation as the result of a local judge’s ruling, demanding all night flights be terminated at Frankfurt International Airport.
     The word came down just barely two weeks before the opening of the gateway’s new runway.
     Terming October 11 “Black Tuesday,” many air cargo people are wondering if it is even possible for Germany to allow a single individual to affect so many lives and incomes worldwide.
     Peter Marx, (left) the vice president of environmental management at Fraport, slammed the decision as “a big mess” during a speech at the Smart Airports, going on this week in Munich.
     Mr. Marx, right on the mark overstating the obvious, said that the closure would be a “big, big mess for cargo operations in particular.
     “There are just two weeks to go before Frankfurt Airport opens its new runway and night flights have already been cancelled.
     “As we know, noise abatement is the most important thing for airport operators when it comes to green initiatives, but no night flights between 11pm and 5am will cause a big, big mess for cargo handlers.”
     The administrative supreme court of Hesse has banned night flights at Frankfurt Airport after complaints from residents, and has said the ban would start on October 30th with the new winter flight schedule.
     Meantime, Lufthansa stated that “to implement such a ban at short notice will have significant economic consequences.”
     It is no surprise that Lufthansa is reportedly looking into possible legal measures, even though the Hesse court said in its statement no legal recourse was available.
     Lufthansa upped the stare down with Hesse, saying:
     “As far as we are concerned, the permitted movements are still valid until the decision of the Federal Administrative Court in Leipzig.”
     The Leipzig court is slated to make its decision on night flights at Frankfurt Airport in the beginning of 2012.
     Neel Shah, (right) Senior Vice President & Chief Cargo Officer for Delta Cargo, may not be an all cargo operator, but as top cargo executive of the biggest airline in the world, he is watching developments closely whilst planning for any eventuality.
     “In general, I believe that the night ban will have a dramatic impact in the medium to long term on FRA as forwarders move their business and consolidations to gateways with a more freighter friendly operating stance.
     “The other major gateways in Europe, such as AMS and CDG, could potentially see a big jump in volume if the German Federal Court upholds the lower court decision.
     “Being a belly only carrier, the ban doesn't impact our operation, so we will be watching how it affects the local community and then take any appropriate action.
     “We have already begun talking with our major customers to see how we can partner with them to try and mitigate the loss of direct nighttime freighter lift exit FRA and offer them more capacity on the Delta belly network.
     “Taking a broader view, I believe that this is just another body blow that our industry has to absorb on top of the additional security measures and emissions trading schemes.
     “I’m not sure why everyone feels the need to pick on the airline industry, because we provide an invaluable service to the world community and make very thin margins at the end of the day.”
     We asked Neel Shah if he thinks air cargo will have to change the way it does business and no longer be a "night animal?"
     “Possibly, but at the end of the day I believe that the action by the lower court of Hesse will probably be contained and a compromise solution will be reached that provides some victory to all stakeholders.”
     Vienna-based cargo-partner turned over half a billion euros in 2010 and employs 2,300 staff worldwide, among them 180 in Germany.
     The agent’s main gateway for air freight is Frankfurt.
     Stefan Krauter, cargo-partner, told FlyingTypers:
     "I recommend German authorities and politicians to look beyond the horizon.
     “By doing so, they will see where their airlines' and airport's real competitors are – at the Gulf region.
     “Shutting down central hubs like Frankfurt at night helps Dubai and others, but harms the aviation and logistics industry of Europe's leading economic powerhouse.
     “The court's banning of night flights at times where the crisis in Europe and also in other markets spreads steadily is more than problematic and, to my understanding, counterproductive.
     “It's similar to a slower, rolling car with somebody stepping additionally on the brakes.
     “By stating he ‘can't see any reason why these (night) flights cannot be conducted at day times,’ the judge reveals little knowledge of interdependent global economic processes.
     “Somebody that is used to handing down verdicts all the time has probably lost his sensibility for negative consequences resulting from decisions such as the night flight curfew for shippers, forwarders, handling agents and cargo carriers alike.”
     Besides the economic impact, a number of environmental problems are also caused by the judges’ ruling.
      “Since many goods will have to be trucked over longer distances from their German points of origins to airports in the Netherlands, Belgium or France that offer 24/7 traffic, the greenhouse gas emissions will increase and the highways additionally jammed as more traffic is inevitably produced.
     “As a matter of fact, we at cargo-partner will increasingly utilize airports in the Benelux countries instead of Frankfurt for our imports that are bound to Eastern Europe.
     “Again, this causes additional trucking and carbon dioxide emissions, but the ruling of the judges in Hesse State leaves our company no alternative for moving our air freight.”
     Taking a bit of a different tack, Ram Menen, (right) Divisional Senior Vice President Cargo at Emirates, said this of the Frankfurt night ban:
     “It is sad that Germany is going to implement night ban.
     “Cargo is a night animal; night flying is the most efficient for overnight deliveries.
     “Having said that, most European airports that we operate to have night ban of some sort, so our schedules are set in such a way that we tend to get in and out of European airports before the ban sets in, or schedule to arrive when the airports reopen in the morning.
     “Hence, we are not very affected by this ban in Frankfurt.
     “Night flying, of course, would give us more flexibility in scheduling.
     “Integrators who tend to have next day delivery are the folks who are going to be most affected.
     “Home-based carriers will also have a challenge as the window of operational flexibility will get narrowed.
     “We will, probably, see carriers who operate/rely on night time operations starting to move towards airports like Frankfurt-Hahn, Cologne, Liege, etc. who don’t implement the night bans.
     “We are a creative industry and air cargo will find other alternatives to keep the wheels of commerce moving.”
     Elsewhere, Bill Boesch, one of the top air cargo executives in the world currently on assignment developing logistics for the US military in the Middle East, said:
     “The night bans are as old as I am in (45 years) air cargo.
     “I recall when I first started out in the middle 60s, we had night bans because of noise.
     “FRA had a night ban back then and when FedEx was expanding internationally, that company also experienced problems with FRA airports ‘curfew.’
     “The industry then came out with quieter engines and even the famous ‘hush kits’ while some also looked at developing airports away from populated areas.
     “Looking ahead, there will be some problem for the express guys who rely on overnight door to door service and some cargo flights may need to be rescheduled.
     “There may also be some problems with slot times and hence crewing, but in the end the industry will work it out.
     “After all, the majority of air cargo needs speed faster than sea or truck and the normal time for air cargo, including all the clearances, handling and inspections, averages about 4 to 5 days.
     “The industry, if there is a problem, will need to speed up their ground time.
     “No sweat—air cargo will overcome this setback,” Bill Boesch said.
     We’re certain that’s true, given all the hurdles cargo has leapt over with the speedy muscles of a gazelle; we’re just hopeful the legislative arms of the world put down their guns and go hunting elsewhere—it’s time to give air cargo a break.

Cargolux Reaches Accord With Boeing

     “I am pleased that we have reached agreement on the contractual issues. The 747-8 Freighter will be a driver of profitable growth for Cargolux,” said Frank Reimen, leftPresident and Chief Executive Officer of Cargolux, as CV resolved its beef with Boeing after rejection of the first two Boeing 747-8 aircraft.
     What that means is that the delivery of the first two Boeing 747-8 freighters initially scheduled for the 19 and 21 of September proceeded yesterday on the 12 and today on the 13 of October, following the resolution of contractual issues between Boeing, GE and Cargolux related to the performance of the aircraft and the engines.
     In its meeting on October 7, the Cargolux Board of Directors appreciated that the negotiation team (Akbar al Baker (Director), Frank Reimen (President and Chief Executive Officer)) and David Arendt (Executive Vice President and Chief Financial Officer)) and company management took the appropriate actions to ensure that the issues with the 747-8 entry into service are resolved successfully.
     Launch customer Cargolux has thirteen Boeing 747-8 Freighter airplanes on firm order.


Air Cargo Club Germany Meet

     Aircargo Club Germany - ACD enjoyed a meeting on October 11th that featured both a full house and guest speaker Desmond Vertannes, IATA Global Head of Cargo.
     Mr. Vertannes could not have predicted that his IATA debut in Germany would occur here in Frankfurt on this Black Tuesday, as the long dreaded curfew on night flights was just handed down by a local judge.
     Once upon a time, ACD hosted a speech titled "Airfreight is a night animal" by John C. Emery Jr., almost exactly 40 years ago on October 12, 1971.
     In any case, many local friends here welcomed Des, and in his presentation he went through present highlights in the industry, i.e. security, e-freight, e-awb, IATA 2000, and the increasing global speed in the administrative processes.
     Des appealed for help from air cargo in getting the IATA agenda from talk to reality.
     Many in this most professional air cargo club pointed out that he is very welcome as an air cargo expert, with practical background in several top jobs.
     The consensus here is that to date, at IATA “heads of cargo” have not had the same practical knowledge as this former, well-travelled cargo executive.
     The comments from Des left the gathering with some optimism.
     But that mood was clearly dimmed as the Frankfurt Night Ban court decision quickly replaced IATA as Topic A on the minds of everyone.
     Notable at the gathering were Florian Pfaff, newly assigned Lufthansa Cargo manager Germany; Alexander Karst, Lufthansa manager Frankfurt district; and Franz-Joseph Miller, general manager of Lufthansa Cargo subsidiary Time:Matters.
Guenter Mosler/Flossie

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LAN's Claudio Silva Forms
New Venture

     Claudio Silva, the well respected, all cargo pro has been steady at the helm of LAN Cargo the Americas for almost as long as anybody can remember.
     An inspirational strategist and Latin American industry icon, Claudio has soldiered on through 27 years, delivering LAN Cargo to new heights as his fame and esteem spread almost everywhere.
     One would think Claudio has conquered all the things rightfully expected in his 27 years at LAN.
     But there’s still one thing left.
     “I have always respected and admired the GSA side of the business.
     “So on October 31st, having ended my career at LAN, I am moving forward to opening my own GSA company starting November 1.
     “Actually, Air Cargo Americas will be our first outward meeting with the public and I look forward to seeing friends and colleagues and potentials for what will be a different kind of hands on GSA operator during ACA week in Miami.”
     To enlighten the audience, here is an interview we did a couple of Air Cargo Americas ago with Claudio.
Contact: csilva@cargoessence.com


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