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   Vol. 14  No. 26
Monday March 23, 2015

 

Lufthansa Confidence Lifts

There was an undeniable sense of confidence and even forward-thinking optimism at the Lufthansa Cargo press conference held in Frankfurt on Thursday March 19.
Pop-up strikes by pilots and demonstrations by others in downtown Frankfurt last week notwithstanding, the message was upbeat from the top executive cargo team at Lufthansa Cargo.


     Lufthansa Cargo achieved an operating profit of EUR 100m last year.
     That number represents a significant increase for the cargo airline when compared with the previous year (EUR 79m*).
     Chairman of the Executive Board and CEO Peter Gerber said the carrier is looking for more in 2015 and the years ahead.
     “We achieved a good result in challenging conditions.
     “A strong focus on top quality, high-performance products and flexible capacity management played a key role in this, along with Lufthansa Cargo’s strength in sales.
     “Lufthansa Cargo expects to increase profits further in the current year,” Mr. Gerber declared.
     “Air cargo is and will continue to be a growth market.” Despite growth rates being slightly lower than in the past, Mr. Gerber says he is confident “that air freight will always be the only viable transport option for certain goods.”
     “Major exporting regions like Germany are an excellent long-term basis for the air freight sector.”


Top Cargo At Lufthansa


Karl Ulrich Garnadt and Peter Gerber      On the sidelines, Peter Gerber engaged a well-wisher, who said, “good luck with your first annual report,” (Gerber assumed command of Lufthansa Cargo on May 1, 2014).
     Peter smiled and said:
     “Actually, I have presented the results and thoughts at three prior annual meetings.”
     That admission is striking in its frankness.
     Mr. Gerber is on the record keeping things straight and factual right out of the gate.
     Our first impression of Peter Gerber’s performance with the press, which numbered around 60 reporters from around the globe, is that he is an earnest and informed voice for air cargo, taking forward one of the storied and successful transportation franchises in aviation history.
     What is especially noticeable about Peter Gerber is his ability to present his objectives and rationale in the kind of detail that includes a quick sentence or two to sum up his entire thesis.
     “Everything of real value is going to be flown.
     “And it is going to stay that way,” he said, as the PowerPoint whipped by on a giant screen amidst an avalanche of facts and figures.
     Suddenly, rather than fogging the subjects over, everything was made clear in his direct words.
     “Is there a need for freighters?
     “We think so!” Mr. Gerber declared at another point.
     As mentioned, the business case was made in longer, more exact terms, but straight talk was welcomed like a gentle wake up tap on the shoulder.
     “Frankfurt is the epicenter of Europe’s industrial sector,” Mr. Gerber emphasized.
     “Geographically, it’s much better positioned than London or Paris.
     “Frankfurt is the main European hub for our customers, the major international freight forwarders.
     “It’s an ideal location for us to continue investing.”
     That last remark can at least be considered to be wishing for a positive answer on whether or not Lufthansa Cargo will indeed be building a new cargo terminal at FRA.
     Although no one is saying much, handicappers with some sense of optimism can indeed look at Lufthansa management and view the carriers’ two top executives, Spohr and Garnadt, both of whom once served as the cargo bosses.
     Final word on that project is expected by the end of April.


Martin Schmitt“The Money Guy”

     Dr. Martin Schmitt, Board Member Finance and Human Resources, highlighted the importance of successful cost management for the myriad enhancement programs Lufthansa Cargo has planned for the future.
     “We are making ambitious investments in our future; to do this, we require a solid, long-term earnings base.”
     The SCORE profit improvement program was a major factor behind the airline reviewing its earnings situation last year.
     SCORE contributed EUR 116m of earnings in total.
     “We will continue to work hard on our cost structure and find ways to increase revenue,” Herr Schmitt declared, pointing out that Lufthansa Cargo expects profits again in 2015.
Geoffrey


Jan Krems Voice At PVG
Jan Krems, President United Airlines Cargo

My overall impressions of IATA WCS in Shanghai were very favorable. The Symposium was well-organized and the location and venue were convenient and effective for the proceedings. The networking opportunities were excellent, and I had a strong sense that many deals were being done and many new partnerships were formed.
    I found most of the tracks to be valuable, and special recognition should be given to those who organized and executed the Pharma track. Those attending this track were engaged and many worthwhile ideas surfaced in the discussion.
     C2K has the right focus and direction under the leadership of Board of Directors Chairman Max Sauberschwarz. As always with this initiative, the speed and the extent of progress will depend on the level of support given by industry stakeholders.
     The new Air Cargo Innovation Award is a very positive IATA initiative. Entrepreneurship and fresh concepts are sorely needed in our industry, so highlighting the best of these ideas sends an important message.
     Not everything was positive, however. I don’t think the Plenary Sessions added much value. Also, while there were a number of things to enjoy and appreciate at the Gala Dinner, the second-rate food wasn’t one of them.
     In summary, our industry is confronted with a multitude of major issues. With the limited number of IATA resources dedicated to cargo, it’s vital we choose the right priorities and concentrate on swift, effective action on these. If we try to handle too many issues, we won’t make real progress on any.
     Speaking of progress, I hope Flying Typers readers have noticed the new online ads reflecting United Cargo’s new brand image and identity that appeared for the first time anywhere in FT last week (and appear again above). The image in the ad reflects how our Operations team delivers ‘Cargo with care’ – but we want our customers to know that our entire team is committed to this idea. We care about our customers’ success, and we’re focused on developing and sustaining partner relationships that create the most benefit for their company and ours.


Namaste Lufthansa India
(L-R) India's Minister for Civil Aviation Pusapati Ashok Gajapati Raju with Lufthansa Cargo's Helge Krueger-Lorenzen, vice president for Asia Pacific, and Veli Polat, regional director, South Asia & Middle East, at the 'baptism' and naming ceremony.

     A common enough greeting in India is now ready to travel the world—and the credit goes to Lufthansa Cargo. An MD-11 freighter from Lufthansa's cargo fleet with the registration "D-ALCJ" touched down at Delhi International Airport on March 18, 2015, for its official baptism ceremony in which it was named "Namaste India" (translation: "Greetings India")
     The official naming—very much like the naming of a ship—was done by Dr Alexis von Hoensbroech, board member, Products & Sales of Lufthansa Cargo and Pusapati Ashok Gajapathi Raju, union minister of Civil Aviation. In keeping with Indian tradition, a coconut was broken, its water sprinkled on the plane, and tilaks (a mark in red paste) were applied on the foreheads of the two pilots who had flown the plane to Delhi.
     The freighter has been named "Namaste India" to symbolize the significance of India as one of the most important markets for Lufthansa's global air freight services. Said Dr. Alexis von Hoensbroech:      "The 'Namaste India' greeting also illustrates the special bond between Lufthansa Cargo and India. We are proud to be the leading European cargo carrier from India to Europe."
     Lufthansa Cargo has long standing connections with customers in the air cargo industry since 1959 and grew further with the first freighter operations in the 1970s. Today, Lufthansa Cargo offers 59 weekly flights between India and Europe including the services of Lufthansa.
     "Namaste India" is the eighth Lufthansa Cargo aircraft to be renamed in the last few months. The names of the aircraft are based on the winning idea of an open creative competition organized by Lufthansa Cargo to rename their entire fleet in 2013. More than 40,000 potential aeroplane names were received by Lufthansa Cargo within six weeks and the jury decided on the idea of "Saying hello around the world." All the freight aircraft in the Lufthansa Cargo fleet are now being changed to greetings in around 20 languages. The last one that was named was "Konnichiwa Japan" and has been taking Japan around the world.
Tirthankar Ghosh


Chuckles For March 23, 2015

 

Bird Strikes Labor For Answers

     Technology has given aviation so many things. Today, more people can fly than ever before, in larger, quieter planes with all the luxurious amenities of the 21st century—telecommunications, Internet, personal TV screens. So much is available in-flight, it’s almost hard to see further ahead in time, to imagine what else might be possible.
Bird at airport     Paradoxically, the business of flying still faces some age-old problems that seem so simplistic in nature it’s difficult to comprehend why we haven’t yet solved them. Most frighteningly, bird strikes.
     The most visible and perhaps most famous bird strike occurred six years ago, on January 15, 2009, when a flock of Canada geese were ingested in both engines of US Airways Flight 1549 as it debarked LaGuardia Airport in New York City. Thanks to the quick thinking of Captain Chesley Sullenberger, the 155 passengers on board were spared when he expertly ditched the Airbus 320 into the Hudson River.
Unfortunately, bird strike incidences are more common than one might think. According to the FAA, “wildlife strikes have killed more than 255 people and destroyed over 243 aircraft since 1988.” The threat of birdstrikes is only growing, due to “increasing populations of large birds and increased air traffic by quieter, turbofan-powered aircraft.” Between 1990 and 2013, there were 142,603 strikes, with strikes increasingly “6.1 fold from 1,851 in 1990 to a record 11,315 in 2013.” During that same time period, “503 species of birds, 42 species of terrestrial mammals, 19 species of bats, and 15 species of reptiles were identified as struck by aircraft,” with “waterfowl, gulls, and raptors” dealing the most damaging strikes.

     Thus far, methods to deal with birdstrikes have fallen woefully short of technological advancements.      While Occam’s Razor surely applies in most cases, when dealing with birdstrikes, the simplest method has often proven ineffective. The ground up approach is quite popular, with airports removing ponds and seed-bearing trees to discourage foraging animals, which in theory should discourage their predators (i.e., raptors). According to an article in USA Today, Salt Lake City International Airport effectively replaced 1 million square feet of grass with gravel to create an inhospitable zone for small creatures.
     “The idea behind that is removing the prey base, particularly the rodents that attract large-body raptors,” says Gib Rokich, Salt Lake airport's wildlife manager. “It goes all the way down to midges to grasshoppers to army worms.
     “I look at it as a restaurant — we've had a terrific restaurant here for raptor food. The diners include red-tailed hawks, Northern Harriers, Peregrine falcons, barn owls, and great-horned owls.
     “They readily came here to eat to their heart's content. We're trying to close the restaurant,” says Rokich.
     Salt Lake City also employs pigs, which destroy nesting habitats and feast on fowl eggs. “The pigs work great,” Rokich says. “The gulls see the pigs on the island and relocate elsewhere.”
     Southwest Florida International Airport went a step further and began employing dogs to ward off the wading birds attracted by rainwater pools that form on the airport’s flat terrain. Sky the Border Collie lives with airport handlers and works seven days a week, scouring areas too dense for vehicles and humans. Whereas previous methods included various noisemakers like ‘shell crackers’ (fireworks blasted from a shotgun) and ‘screamers’ (bottle rocket-like devices fired from a pistol), Sky is a deterrent to which the birds simply cannot grow accustomed.
     “The dog is a natural predator—they never get used to her,” said James Hess, airside operations supervisor for Southwest Florida International.
     It’s clear that this supposedly simple problem requires more than a simple solution, and that is where technology enters the conversation. According to an article in The Economist, “the air forces of several countries have used radar to track birds” for over a decade. Fortunately, the methodology employed by the military sector is now being considered for civilian airports.
     Yossi Lesham of Tel Aviv University in Israel combines several modes of observation to gather information on flocking birds. Through a mix of drones, powered gliders, ground-based bird watchers, and radar, Dr. Leshem was able to decipher radar blips and identify them ornithologically. His system can identify and follow “individual birds that weigh as little as ten grams and are as far away as 20km.” His work has inspired others to track birds via radar, and equipment has been developed for the purpose. Canadian firm Accipiter Radar Technologies created the eBirdRad radar unit, which can track over 100 targets all at once at a range of at least 11km and up to an altitude of 1km. The eBirdRad system is currently being tested at “JFK Airport in New York, O’Hare Airport in Chicago, and Seattle-Tacoma Airport in Washington state, in an experiment run by the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and sponsored by the FAA,” according to The Economist. Similar systems are being developed worldwide, but there seems to be a troubling resistance and reluctance to adopt the radar method. Dr. Lesham believes the reluctance is due to “bureaucratic inertia.” American firm DeTect created “Merlin,” a radar detection system currently installed at various American air force bases as well as several bases worldwide.
     DeTect’s General Manager Gary Andrews thinks the reasoning against radar is slightly more sinister.
     According to The Economist, he believes the USDA is threatened by radar systems because they are paid by local authorities to control birds by traditional methods. This, despite the USDA itself recommending “new technologies such as the use of bird-detecting radar…should be pursued more vigorously.”
     If bird strikes are as great a threat to air travel as they seem to be, it shouldn’t matter how we rid ourselves of this avian problem, only that we do so, and quickly. Later we can think on the irony of these beautiful animals—how they began as the source inspiration for our journey to the skies, and rapidly became a deadly obstacle to our flight.
Flossie Arend

 

Marco Volk     Not really. That only happens in the lobby departures area of Vantaa in Helsinki, home to the greatest ‘beer for breakfast’ in the world.
     At the JU-52 at InterCity Hotel Frankfurt Airport —a vest-pocket hostelry jam-packed with great food and libations—you can meet Harry the bartender and a giant JU-52 aircraft model on final from the ceiling. You can also meet Marco Volk.
     Just plain Volk is this Marco, who has been situated in JU-52 for the past dozen years.
     “I love it all,” says Marco, “even the layovers that show up every weekend and come into our place for an attitude adjustment.”
     “They come in from the altitudes with an attitude.
     “We can’t fly them home, but a warm welcome, a bit of cheer, and maybe a late night schnitzel can make the landing here smooth as silk,” Marco said.
     We had a small ten-inch pizza last night with some red chili peppers Harry imported from his last trip to the spice souk, and the combination was accelerating.
     Just one more reason everyone from deadheads to air jockeys love the hotel in Cargo City Süd.
Geoffrey

Anton Wustefeld
Anton Wuestefeld, Manager Frankfurt Airport InterCity Hotel talks of major renovations at the hotel.

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Vol. 14 No. 23
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Sessions Good, Bad & Mediocre
Airports Missing In Shanghai
FT031615Vol. 14 No. 24
UA Cargo Wins XLA Award
Letter
From Lise-Marie Turpin
Chuckles For March 16, 2015
Greetings From WCS PVG
DGR Track Lifts WCS Finale
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