Cologne-Bonn has launched a majorpush to reposition itself as a generalcargo airport, as it prepares for thedeparture of DHL’s express operationsand its joint venture long-haul flightswith Lufthansa Cargo to the integrator’snew European hub in Leipzig,Germany in 2008. Gerton Hulsman,the airport’s head of cargo businessdevelopment, says he has been talkingto airlines as varied as Emirates, Etihad,Gulf Air, China Southern, ShanghaiAirlines and Jade Cargo International,about starting freighter services.
The airport is also building a 10,000square metre handling facility, whichshould be ready by mid summer nextyear.
Unlike existing cargo facilities atthe airport, this will be outside theairport’s security cordon, allowingtrucks to approach it without undergoingstringent checks.
Space has been reserved for a similarlysized second phase of the facility,which is aimed at both forwardersand ground handlers. "We want toget forwarders back onto the airport,because we realise that they are thekey to getting cargo services," saysHulsman.
Cologne is currently linked to HongKong, Shanghai, Tiblisi and Delhi byBritish Airways B747 freighter services.The UK carrier used the airport forsome years for a weekly freighter flightto Johannesburg, because it could notget traffic rights out of Frankfurt. Thatservice is now discontinued, but BAseems to increasingly favour Cologne,adding flights to Shanghai late last yearand a second Hong Kong frequencyin January.
MNG of Turkey also serves theairport with its A300 freighters, flyingboth in its own right and on behalf ofTAP Air Portugal.
Longhaul services are currentlylimited to a transatlantic 757 fromContinental, but Hulsman has hopesof persuading the airline to boostthis to a 767 or 777 with greaterbelly capacity. "Our passenger divisionis also vigorously pursuing lowcost Asian carriers such as Oasis,"he says.
– Peter Conway