Birmingham Airport Cargo Operations


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Ash

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Oct 14, 2012
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Europe
Kevin you are indeed correct. Around 1988/9 there was a sudden expansion of dedicated freight traffic following the introduction of TNT and Fedex. This also attracted the attention of UPS who were far greater in size then. I was present at a meeting with the top brass from UPS who had set out their vision for European expansion based on BHX. Although site constraints were an issue, everyone was positive it would work. However, the Airport Committee rejected it wholesale, particularly with Solihull Council being vehemently opposed. In addition, British Airways, who had invested heavily in a loss making transit shed, also made their usual threats.The rest of course, is history and a continued reflection of the mis-management of this splendid resource.

Yep it seems that the Night Flying policy precludes any serious cargo operations from any of the major parcel carriers these days.

Looking into it BHX is limited to 5% of annual movements or 877 night departures per year (whichever is lower), which is less than 2.5 departures a day.

Interestingly though, BHX is not bound by the DfT to even have a Night Flying policy, it could theoretically operate unlimited night flights, however it seems they agreed to have the policy as a S106 condition for a Planning Permission with Solihull Council ( I assume this was for the runway extension, not sure.)
 

CL44

Well-Known Member
Jan 20, 2009
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Birmingham
I well remember TNT with their Quiet Trader 146 fleet (their sales rep was always chasing business), also remember Lufthansa using 737QC for their overnight freighter service (shared with Aer Lingus if memory serves me right). I remember Lufthansa bringing in a 74F for motor cars, Cargolux bringing in Dire Straits. Birmingham has in the past had a very healthy relationship with cargo and still could. It needs the upper management to get a grip and make a decision over priorities for BHX and then stick with it. It also needs the Airlines to support the Airport, but, Airlines have already got their business plans in place and will not change them in a hurry without incurring substantial financial costs.
 

Kevin Farnell

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May 21, 2013
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also remember Lufthansa using 737QC for their overnight freighter service (shared with Aer Lingus if memory serves me right).

Now you mention it, I remember that service too. Was there not also a regular B727 cargo service? Sabre springs to mind, but I may be confusing that with a pax operator.

Kevin
 

rollo

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Aug 26, 2014
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I can remember the DC-9s of SAS and Alitalia operating to Copenhagen and Milan early 70s I think.

Weren't the Heralds operated by Securicor?
 

Nethercote2019

Well-Known Member
Apr 17, 2019
184
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Birmingham
727 was TNT... I can remember the fairly regular Seaboard CL44 & Tradewinds. Also EI 737QC & KLM Electra with pax & freight on same flight
 

Ray Finkle

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Staff member
Apr 22, 2012
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Birmingham
Kevin you are indeed correct. Around 1988/9 there was a sudden expansion of dedicated freight traffic following the introduction of TNT and Fedex. This also attracted the attention of UPS who were far greater in size then. I was present at a meeting with the top brass from UPS who had set out their vision for European expansion based on BHX. Although site constraints were an issue, everyone was positive it would work. However, the Airport Committee rejected it wholesale, particularly with Solihull Council being vehemently opposed. In addition, British Airways, who had invested heavily in a loss making transit shed, also made their usual threats.The rest of course, is history and a continued reflection of the mis-management of this splendid resource.

The history of BHX seems to be littered with missed opportunities :(
 

CL44

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Jan 20, 2009
294
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Birmingham
Concise and clear (off the main topic but allowable). I would not be surprised if Paul Kehoe left prior to the Masterplan IF he knew what was laid out.

Yes i agree in 2016 Corona was just a foreign beer and no one knew what was to transpire when someone either did an Ozzy (or more likely some scientist dropped a very big one), but getting back to cargo operations, we have gone from originally having British Airways, MAS, Servisair (now Swissport) along with various Hauliers operating bonded vehicles to (as of now), Swissport, Dnata, Carousel and Fedex. Obviously the last two concentrate on their own business and leave well alone on everything else. We then have Blue City and Signature also handling flights (Blue City certainly handling cargo, I am not sure about Signature). I remember BA in Hangar 3 while Servisair were in Forward House and MAS being at the side of the old terminal with Emery inside the terminal building. Agents stretched the length of Hangar Lane (apart from the Silver Wings club) with Customs Long Room upstairs in Hangar 3. Between buyouts and mergers (and British Airways deciding to pull out entirely) we are left with 2 fulltime bonded warehouses for general use (Swissport which is only partially in use from the original design) and Dnata (which started out as the Fedex facility until they left back in the 90's when it was taken over by what became Menzies Cargo until they bailed and Dnata took it on).

The proposed Cargo village has never left the drawing board, the Freeport which was supposed to be the future for forwarding opened and then became general warehousing without a fanfare. Forward House is virtually empty with 3 Forwarding Agents, the flight doctor, a taxi company and NCP in residence. Gone are the days of every office occupied by Agents or Airlines with a waiting list to get in there. BHX in my opinion have ignored cargo as an unwanted child, only now it would seem realising that there is revenue to be made (especially as the passenger numbers have been flushed away).

Most other Airports have adapted to ensure cargo is, if not encouraged, at least able to expand if required or consolidate if needed (normally after Companies being taken over). BHX dont seem to give a monkeys if cargo lives or dies.
 

jfy1999

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Apr 25, 2015
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Birmingham
Looking at FR24 and Ian’s blog I have noticed a large number of ad hoc flights in the last few days including West Atlantic, Jota Aviation, Businesswings, Sprintair, Nyx Air, Flightline, Air Taxi Europe and Vulkan Air (the last using an AN-26).

Fleetair and Zimex now have at least 2-3 aircraft here every day.
 

IanFarquharson

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Jul 23, 2015
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Balsall Common
bhxmovements..co.uk
Looking at FR24 and Ian’s blog I have noticed a large number of ad hoc flights in the last few days including West Atlantic, Jota Aviation, Businesswings, Sprintair, Nyx Air, Flightline, Air Taxi Europe and Vulkan Air (the last using an AN-26).

Fleetair and Zimex now have at least 2-3 aircraft here every day.

My Blog ...

 

rollo

Platinum Member
Aug 26, 2014
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Just been looking at todays arrivals and appears to be about fifteen ranging in size from the Fed Express 757 downward at this rate the old Elmdon site will be busier than the main terminals this winter when you add in the private traffic as well.
I presume that some of this is traffic is down to Covid, JLR and a bit of Brexit.

Also note there's an unusual visitor of a AN74 of Motor Sich.

Info via Mr Farquharsons site.
 

HPsauce

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Feb 11, 2020
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Birmingham B36
I often wonder what is behind the increasing array of cargo carriers. Although modest sized aircraft generally, we do get the occasional 'heavy'. JLR is the most obvious user, but does anyone know of other regular reasons for these visits?. Great for BHX though and enthusiasts .
 

JENNYJET

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Dec 15, 2015
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ASTWOOD BANK, WORCESTERSHIRE.
Like the great days of MAEL and the splendid variation of aircraft and airlines, the heritage terminal is interesting but until BHX management sanction an expansion of Cargo Ops, East Midlands will grab it all. Do the Chinese own anything of significance in the Birmingham area other than a ghost car maker?
 

CL44

Well-Known Member
Jan 20, 2009
294
53
52
Birmingham
The main reason for the increased number of cargo carriers is due to the reduction in the number of PAX flights (which reduces the amount of space available to Agents such as myself to use). Certain Companies who operate on "just in time" principle will insist on uplift for a pallet of goods to be moved just to ensure the line does not stop running. This is not just the big operations like JLR (although they are the most likely culprit) but a lot of smaller operations also run under the same principle. As for the "heavies" most of those movements are pre-planned or one-off charters. You will never find out who these operate for unless you are directly involved with the process (either handling or processing documentation) for the shipments. Whilst the industry is in the doldrums at the moment there are the occasional bright spots which show things are still happening. Freight forwarding is in for a tough couple of months (along with most other industries) but this will certainly not be helped by Brexit from January 1st.
 

Scottie Dog

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Sep 7, 2016
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Warrington
I thought the following might be of interest - cargo tonnage for 2019/2020

Jan-19​
Feb-19​
Mar-19​
Apr-19​
May-19​
Jun-19​
Jul-19​
Aug-19​
Sep-19​
Oct-19​
Nov-19​
Dec-19​
2462.288​
2145.088​
2530.26​
2286.721​
2667.838​
2557.033​
3104.533​
2451.691​
2467.288​
2870.115​
2226.329​
2096.46​
Jan-20​
Feb-20​
Mar-20​
Apr-20​
May-20​
Jun-20​
Jul-20​
Aug-20​
Sep-20​
2193.399​
2374.885​
1949.205​
268.473​
489.341​
925.643​
1406.322​
1106.88​
1763.84​
 
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