Friday, August 19, 2011

Air Freight Carrier Fears Ban On Night Flights Will Impact Cargo Services

Proposed Court Ruling May Damage Business
Shipping News Feature

GERMANY – Lufthansa, the largest of the country’s air freight carriers, is currently celebrating 100 years of German air cargo services and company officials have taken the opportunity to speak out against the proposed ban on night flights. Lufthansa Cargo Chairman & CEO Karl Ulrich Garnadt said in a statement:

“The threatened ban on night flights at Germany's major airport in Frankfurt is just one example of the difficult issues facing the airlines. If companies are to invest heavily in the infrastructure or modern and efficient aircraft, however, they require planning security.”

Mr Garnadt was backed up by Lufthansa CEO Christopher Franz at a speech today whilst attending a logistics conference when he said:

"The threat of a night flight ban is hanging like the Sword of Damocles over Frankfurt. Gulf states want to replace Europe as a freight hub. We need internationally competitive operating times and that means night flights."

The rapid development of Arab state airlines like Etihad, the Abu Dhabi national carrier with their Crystal Cargo system and Gulf Air Cargo from Bahrain has obviously put the European carriers under pressure with more emphasis being put on the carriage of freight to inflate revenues. Gulf, for example, are not exactly newcomers to the market with their cargo website boasting a pedigree which stretches back almost 60 years and a fleet which services nearly 600 flights a week in the Middle East.

Gulf also claim a turnaround time of less than an hour for many shipments at their Bahrain hub and with a German Court threatening to ban the existing seventeen night time movements at Frankfurt, ironically just as the new runway is due to open, Lufthansa take the view that the new regulation will strike at the very heart of their Empire.

The majority of Lufthansa’s staff of around four and a half thousand are employed in the Frankfurt area and with Germany a close second behind China as the world’s biggest exporter by value the company obviously believes the ban will be a handicap at the very time exports need all the help they can get.

For anyone interested in the century of air cargo carriage in Germany there is an interesting video available HERE.