Coping with the crisis: Four views

Speakers at the recent Air Cargo Europe conference in Munich remained upbeat on the prospects for the global economy but emphasized the crisis was also a time to refocus.

Andreas Otto Lufthansa Cargo Michael Kerkloh Monika Ribar Munich airport Panalpina

Asked to address the current economic outlook and how best to cope with the downturn, four executives representing airports, government, logistics and air carriers were unanimous in their conviction that a full recovery was in store for the globaleconomy, it’s just a matter of when.

The airport view
“In general the long term trend will be upwards,” said Munich Airport’s president and CEO, Michael Kerkloh adding that he expects there may be some structural differences in the market following the recovery. He added that there was some optimism that the air cargo sector has reached the lowest point and is now largely a question of how long it will stay down.

While Munich has felt the bite of the slowdown, with cargo volumes down nearly 25 per cent, it’s worse for other airports which rely to a larger extent on cargo traffic. “Munich is not dominant cargo hub, but we do have substantial volumes because of our long haul connections,” Kerkloh said.

He also noted that the crisis has also highlighted what he says were exaggerations. “Before the crisis there were growth expectations in the 15-20 per cent range. Sometimes this is not sustainable nor healthy.”

The crisis, he says, is also a time to look at the structure of the global economy. “Is it good to produce components (for the car industry, for instance) in Asia, to use them in assembly lines in Europe?” he asks.