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AIR CARGO FOCUSAIRPORTS


“In our view the outsize business, like any special handling service, thrives with the experience of the experts involved. Outsize handling is a regular business for us as our clients mostly use Boeing 747 freighter aircraft on scheduled services, which are equipped with nose doors for loading; hence our staff has experienced a lot of different types of outsize cargo in different kinds of scenarios.”


The need for relevant expertise and experience in organising and carrying out project shipments often means that charter companies bring in their own loadmaster, especially if the cargo is bound for a remote area where such expertise is not available. For example, Ryan said: “With the AN-124, operators often bring a whole crew of real experts who know exactly how to load it. Companies like Southern, Atlas and National do the same. Of course, we have experienced handlers here at Rockford and we get a lot of oversized shipments so we are used to it.”


Specialists


Over in Germany, Götzmann noted: “We have 20 specialists who can deal with organising access for trucks, documentation, trains and all the coordination involved, so we can offer a one-stop shop. We have lots of experience with cargo, especially the outsize shipments, so it is easier and quicker to use Hahn than another airport with less experience.”


In the USA, Chicago Rockford’s Ryan remarked: “People who fly oversized items prefer Rockford to Chicago O’Hare, not least because we have the space to manoeuvre big or difficult freight and to position large aircraft so they are easy to load. We also have the necessary equipment such as large cranes; we are less expensive in general too – there is no charge to park an aircraft, which can save several thousand dollars if an aircraft needs to be on the ground here for a day or two.”


A great deal of cargo flies at night rather than during the busier daytime when slots tend to fill up with passenger flights. And round-the-clock operations are particularly important when it comes to outsize aircraft such as those chartered to move large pieces of machinery, as their handling requires more space and time than smaller aircraft or bellyhold cargo.


Götzmann informed: “We have no night flight ban [at Frankfurt-Hahn] so it does not matter if a flight arrives late – there are no extra costs for the delay. Frankfurt [Main] airport has never really been a competitor for this sort of traffic so the introduction of the


92


A rear loading under way at the UK’s Manston airport.


night flight ban there has not driven traffic our way from there,” he added. “It is an excellent airport for normal scheduled services but if you need a tailored service for a one-off shipment, then it is not the right airport; it is difficult because there are limits to the space available, and time, because it is such a busy airport,” he noted. Martin Fraissignes, senior vice president sales and marketing at Châteauroux airport in France, believes that the gateway satisfies all of these requirements, being “the definition of a cargo-friendly airport”. He summed up: “Operationally, we are very used to and fully equipped to handle project shipments. We have the space to handle outsize aircraft; we have the sort of specialist equipment that you need for large items [predominantly, heavy duty cranes]; we are open 24 hours, which you need to be as a lot of cargo flies at night; we have good highway access; and we are low cost – around half price compared with major European passenger hubs, according to a study we did. We are fully organised to handle aircraft as soon as they land and we


can turn them around pretty quickly. We have a long runway (11,500 ft) and we are not congested. It is a different story at the major passenger hubs.” At Hahn, outsize shipments include technical equipment, machinery, trains, generators, automotive traffic and drilling equipment. Exports are by far the majority, reflecting Germany’s strong position as an exporting nation. Most of this cargo is eastbound to places such as the new oil-producing countries – Central Asia’s ’Stan republics – as well as to Russia and southbound to the Middle East and Africa, for example. Some also goes to North America. Inbound project cargo constitutes less than 10 percent of the total.


Integral role


In our view the outsize business … thrives with the experience of the experts involved.


– Dirk Schmitt, LuxairCargo


Allan McQuarrie, group manager – freight development at Infratil Airports (which operates the UK’s Manston and Glasgow Prestwick gateways), affirmed: “We are an integral part of the local industry. For instance, Prestwick sells itself in Aberdeen: it has a good reputation, it is reliable, open 24 hours a day, 365 days a year, and has all the right equipment. So if 40 tonnes of equipment has to be shipped urgently to West Africa we can do that at any time of the day or night. Prestwick is also a specialist in handling aircraft engines because companies like Goodrich or GE have sites up there. Things like the new GEnx engines that are used on the Dreamliner come in to be overhauled, for example.” McQuarrie went on: “We are in a fortunate situation at both airports. Our loading and handling staff are very experienced with out-of-gauge cargo – Prestwick is the preferred airport for the oil and gas industry up at Aberdeen. Aberdeen airport is used to handling bellyhold cargo whereas outsize shipments are our bread and butter. We can also take


July/August 2013 Supplement www.heavyliftpfi.com


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