New MD confirms focus will be primarily on European express freight and e-commerce goods, which because of its rapid growth means there are not enough air cargo suppliers to meet the demand.
CargoLogic Germany (CLG) is poised to begin commercial flights with its pair of Boeing 737-400SF mid-range freighters, with plans to expand its fleet to six aircraft within a year.
The new Leipzig-based cargo airline, which is affiliated to but claims to be independent of Russia’s Volga-Dnepr Group, was last month granted an Air Operator Certificate (AOC) from the German civil aviation authority following a year-long and disputed application.
According to local newspaper, Leipzer Volkszeitung (LVZ), which recently interviewed CLG’s new managing director, Johannes Jähn, the carrier had operated its first commercial flight on Monday (7 October). However, a company spokesman told Lloyd’s Loading List that Jähn had been misquoted, adding: “Our first flight is imminent but has not happened yet. We can’t be more specific as it’s largely market-driven and depends on short-term customer requirements.”
Jähn, who has recently succeeded Ulrich Ogiermann, was previously CEO of Leipzig Airport.
The spokesman added: “Our initial commercial focus is on ad-hoc and charter flying – providing interim capacity in Europe and in doing so we are not looking at going head to head with DHL Express. We are also not launching our own scheduled services at this point in time.”
In the interview with LVZ, Jähn said CLG would take delivery of a third B737F this month. “We want to expand our fleet quickly and double it within a year (to six aircraft),” he said.
As for its workforce, CLG already employs 40 staff, including 20 pilots.
“We will continue to hire, especially in the field of flight crew,” he said. “The original goal of having 80 employees on board by the end of the year is unlikely to be achieved. That will shift back a bit. But in one year’s time, we will have more than the previously mentioned 80 employees.”
Jähn underlined that CLG’s activity will focus primarily on European routes, transporting express freight and goods ordered from online retailers. “Because e-commerce is growing rapidly, there are not enough (air cargo) suppliers to meet the demand,” he explained.
CLG is in talks with a range of customers, from integrators to brokers to forwarders, but Jähn did not reveal their identity nor comment on whether they included Amazon.
Asked about how CLG’s offering stood in relation to DHL which has its main European air hub at Leipzig Airport and which is reportedly flying several flights each day for Amazon with its B757 freighters, connecting Leipzig with East Midlands, Paris and Madrid, Jähn replied: “Maybe we will fly as a sub-contractor for DHL. This is a potential customer for us and not a competitor.
“First and foremost, however, CLG will offer charter flights for logistics companies. We have to earn the trust of our customers.”
He said ability to fly around the clock, seven days a week, was an important factor in the choice of Leipzig as CLG’s location. “To what extent CLG will use this option remains open,” he noted. “The nature of the European express business generally hinges around overnight connectivity.”
CLG, along with UK-registered CargoLogicAir, are subsidiaries of CargoLogic Holdings, which has the same shareholders as Air Bridge Cargo’s parent company Volga-Dnepr Group. However, Jähn insisted that CLG was “completely independent of Volga-Dnepr”.