Demand for Great Wall Airlines’B747 freighter service out of Amsterdamhas bounced back rapidly followingits resumption of services on 25January, according to its GSA in theNetherlands, France, Italy and Switzerland,Kales Group.
Owner Peter Kales says the flightswere already 50 percent full eastboundby the end of the second week operations,and he predicts that the flightswill be full during March.
"To get such load factors at reasonableyields at one of the quietest timesof the year for air cargo shows justhow loyal customers have been to thisservice," he says. "The flights have beensupported from all over the continent,from Finland to Italy and Spain, andlarge forwarders such as Expeditors,DHL, Kuehne & Nagel and Schenkeralso sent us cargo immediately, so weare very confident about the future."
In June and July, before the carrierwas grounded by US sanctions againstits former parent company, Great Wallwas achieving 70-80 percent load factorsout of Europe.
As well as Shanghai, the flights alsoserve Incheon, and demand for thelatter destination has helped fill the aircraft."We have had loyal support fromthe typical agents to Korea, and we arenow getting certificated to start movingwafer-machines for the semiconductorindustry into Korea and China, which isa major product needing frequencies,direct uplift and the high performanceand personal attention that we cangive," says Kales.
Great Wall is taking a co-ordinatedapproach to its European sales, withEuro GSA, a Dutch-based companyset up in May last year and headed byArnold van den Bosch, co-ordinatingthe activities of Kales and other GSAsacross Europe.
Euro GSA has offices in Amsterdam,Frankfurt, London and Stockholm andmanages space allocations and consolidationsfor the flights, as well as doingsales for Great Wall in Scandinavia."It is a good relationship," says Kales. "We add value to them and they addvalue to us."
Euro GSA is now gearing up for salesout of Manchester, with four flightsa week to the UK city planned whenGreat Wall gets its third aircraft in midApril. The flights will also call at Amsterdamen route, giving the Dutch city10 Great Wall frequencies a week, andstop at Dubai on the way back.
For Kales Group itself the resumptionof Great Wall services has beenvery welcome. "After its rapid growthat the start, it was very sad to see theservices of this airline stopped, and forus it has been a very important business,because as a GSA we were lacking FarEast carriers," Kales says.
However, the GSA’s own ventures inAsia Â¨C offices in Hong Kong and BeijingÂ¨C look set to be wound up soon. "Theyare purely service stations, designedto help the carriers we represent withinterlining. But the airlines seem to bewell organised themselves with truckingand so forth, so we don’t really needthe offices any more," Kales says.
"We are happy to focus our efforts onEurope, the market we know best. Weunderstand the mentality there andhow the industry works."
Â¨C Peter Conway