Attending Fruit Logistica paid off for Condor Cargo…

…states Thilo Schäfer, Cargo Chief of Leisure carrier Condor. He oversees the airline’s cargo business since 01NOV23. From day one, the air freight activities have gained a new dynamic at Condor. This is illustrated by the carrier’s participation in the Fruit Logistica fare, the first ever, which he considers to be an essential decision. Exporters, traders, freight forwarders and experts from the perishables sector meet there, coming from just about every continent. This concentration of industry representatives saves a lot of one-on-one meetings and time-consuming trips to their company headquarters, holds Schäfer.

Condor intends to serve MIA come next spring. A key destination for leisure travelers but also a main hub for perishables, states Thilo Schäfer – photo: CFG/hs

Showing its face to the customer is the main reason why Condor has decided to actively participate in the Fruit Logistica trade show and run its own stand in the Logistics Hall of the fairground. As a traditional leisure airline, perishables are a by-product that complements the transportation of passengers well, holds Mr. Schäfer. While travelers sit in the cabins of a Condor aircraft, freight shipments accompany them in the lower decks of the jetliner.

Colorful product mix
As classic vacation airline, Condor mainly serves blue water destinations with a corresponding mix of cargo products, consisting of fruits, vegetables, flowers, to name but a few. These are supplemented by standard dry cargo, sometimes electronics and spare parts.

South Africa is a key destination, so is the Dominican Republic. There, local carriers fed Condor’s return flights with freight shipments coming from the Caribbean Isles and even South America. In Mexico, where flights intersect, Condor operates a small hub. Come next spring, the airline will add Miami to its network with three rotations per week. Miami serves as central hub for the perishables business in The Americas and offers excellent connections to business destinations such as ATL.

More capacity ups sales figures
By then, the B767 era at Condor will be history. This Boeing variant will be replaced by a uniform Airbus A330-900neo fleet. Each of these aircraft can carry between 10 and 14 tons of freight per flight, depending on the route, the number of passengers and their luggage. “I know of cases where our colleagues were able to accommodate up to 20 tons in the lower deck compartments of our A330 fleet,” reports Schäfer. “The standard load are six pallets, but sometimes we can fit in more.”

Condor’s immanent fleet rollover leads to additional capacity which translates into higher loads and sales figures.Hence, volumes are expected to go up this year. It is expected that total volumes in 2024 will double compared to just 2 years ago. But Condor’s Cargo Chief wants more than just figures: “Our goal is to clearly position Condor as market leader to leisure destinations and exellent alternative to the business centers that we serve as well.”

It can be expected, that the leisure airline’s new focus on air freight should be helpful to achieve this aim.

Reinventing cargo is the name of the game
This is complemented by new initiatives. For instance, improving customer service and upping sales by cooperating with electronic real time booking platforms such as Cargo Ai, WebCargo or cargo.one, says Schäfer – known for his drive towards digitization. Further initiatives to improve quality of processes will follow as well. Simultaneously, Condor continues to strengthen its business relationship with ECS Group and its subsidiary Total Cargo Expertise (TCE), providing sales and handling services globally.

Hence, in view of this program, the Condor freight manager will be pretty busy in weeks and months ahead.

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