MIDDLE EAST: Call to include belly cargo in liberalisation

Ram Menen, senior vice presidentcargo for Emirates is urging TIACA,The International Air Cargo Association,to reconsider a plan to call forthe separate liberalisation of freightertraffic rights. The association has apparently prepareda position on this issue, arguingthat a global open skies deal for freighterscould be concluded much moreeasily than passenger liberalisation. But Menen wants belly cargo to […]


Ram Menen, senior vice presidentcargo for Emirates is urging TIACA,The International Air Cargo Association,to reconsider a plan to call forthe separate liberalisation of freightertraffic rights.

The association has apparently prepareda position on this issue, arguingthat a global open skies deal for freighterscould be concluded much moreeasily than passenger liberalisation.

But Menen wants belly cargo to beincluded in the liberalisation too. "Iagree that cargo and passenger rightsshould be separated, but why shouldbelly cargo be left out?" he asks.

He concedes that in most cases bellycargo will follow passenger rights, butsays there are cases where airlines makeintermediate or technical stops, wherecargo could be loaded and offloaded.

"It is the principle that is important.It is not the aircraft type that weshould be liberalising, but the cargo business."

TIACA’s objection to Menen’s proposalsis that adding belly cargo wouldconfuse the issue and make it harder toget the change approved. But Menensays any change would take 10-15years anyway. "Are we saying, liberalise freighters in 10 years and then wait 20 years for belly cargo to follow? I think that is not the best way to go."

Menen was known as a championof belly cargo back in the 1990s whenEmirates did not operate any freighters.Today, the carrier has 21 freighterson order, but Menen says this hasnot changed his view. "From Emirates’point of view, we would get bigbenefits from a freighter-only deal," he says. "But I think that the change has to be to freedom for all cargo players."