Cargo GSA’s in Asia Supplement~ Leisure Cargo sets foot in China

First Germany, then into the rest of Europe followed now by China. Air Berlin, Germany's second biggest airline, third largest European low,fare carrier, has since 1 May extended its reach into Beijing and Shanghai, aided by its Leisure Cargo subsidary.

Both routes originating in Duesseldorf are offered five times a week each by deploying A330 equipment. Responsible for filling up the airline’s belly-hold compartments is Leisure Cargo GmbH, a 100 per cent subsidiary of Air Berlin since the beginning of this year.

Formerly, Leisure belonged to German LTU that was acquired by Air Berlin in August 2007. “The Air Berlin group is by far our biggest customer”, says Ralf-Rainer Auslaender, general manager of Duesseldorf-based Leisure Cargo GmbH. All-in-all the GSA and cargo management company presently has 18 airlines listed in its portfolio, among them Italian Eurofly, Swiss Belair and Aladia of Mexico.

“We hand over the sales business to local agents that have got the specific market knowledge,” explains Auslaender. Among them are Abda Aviation of Malaysia, Chinese MBTS International Cargo, and Walkers Air Services from the Maldives.

Although too early to assess the loads on the just commenced China flights of Air Berlin, Auslaender seems quite happy with the performance of the air freight business.

“From the very first day we had double digit volumes of tonnage on these China flights,” he says. “In some cases it went up to 22.7 tonnes both ways.” Annoyingly however, not only for him but the market in general, is the lasting imbalance of the loads with low volumes on the easternbound routes and jam-packed bellies on the way back from the Far East.