RICHARD MALKIN'S AIR CARGO FOCUS

RICHARD MALKIN'S AIR CARGO FOCUS

Western Europe eagerly awaits 1993 to see what the creation of a single internal market may produce in terms of prosperity and the good life. There are, however, Europeans able to sit back and contemplate the future without the emotionalism that the revolutionary action generates.

Manfred Scholch is a proponent of the decision to bring about the conditions that would allow a market of 320 million consumers to flourish. He calmly states over breakfast that his assessment of 1993 is that "it will not be a new world." This is meant to disabuse anyone from the notion, held by not a few, that there will be a virtual overnight eruption of success.Speaking in a measured voice and carefully choosing his words, Mr. Scholch forecastsgradual development and accretion of vitality over a period of years. He is a 48-year-old lawyer who serves as vice chairman of Frankfurt Airport Authority's Board of Executives. With the integrated market will come "more choices," and he expects Germany's biggest airport to reap its fair share of benefits, and possibly even experience a boom. In any case, he meticulously

avoids overstating expectations.

Although Frankfurt Airport leads all other European airports in cargo volume - "It's third or fourth in the world" - Mr. Scholch doesn't accept this as a God-given status. It will have to continue working hard to retain its position. Certainly traditional competition among airports will intensify. Each will work hard to attract foreign-based manufacturers to establish their European distribution facilities.

Mr. Scholch speaks of the importance of continual planning and observes that since situations tend to change one must be prepared to adjust to new conditions. Narrowed to the interests of the air cargo industry, he offers the broad principle of relentlessness in producing unsurpassed levels of service for the shipper. If this is achieved, he says, "you are almost guaranteed success." And he adds that if one is seeking a reason for Frankfurt's success in cargo, it is because "we've concentrated on it."

A native of Frankfurt, Mr. Scholch joined the Airport Authority in 1972, immediately after receiving his law degree from the University of Frankfurt. Starting out as head of the Department of Security Coordination, he was named in 1975 to head the authority's legal and insurance services. In 1986 he was appointed to the board of executives, in charge of ground services. That led to positions on the traffic committee of the Frankfurt Chamber of Commerce and advisory committee of the German Federal Administration for Air Traffic Control. Mr. Scholch was named vice chairman of the airport in March 1989, not long after he was appointed commercial judge at Frankfurt's district court.

Basic to the governing philosophy here is the tenet that the airport's best interests in the cargo sector are eminently served through active cooperation with all elements of the industry. Citing the air forwarders to illustrate this, Mr. Scholch maintains that regardless of company size, ''equal opportunity" is available, particularly in the tough matter of locating space. His organization periodically confers with the intermediaries to "get a feel" of possible problems and attitudes. A liaison office has been set up as a point of contact.

With liberalization descending on Europe, the industry is caught up in shifting winds. In various ways they impact air cargo and create issues that need to be confronted.

From the standpoint of airport management, for example, the British

Airports Authority, which owns seven airports in the United Kingdom, last February plunked down 8 million ($13.12 million) for Scottish Express Ltd., the multimodal freight forwarding subsidiary of Laird Group. As an IATA cargo agent, the Ayr-based forwarder ranks 22nd in the United Kingdom in sales.

Jeremy Marshall, BAA chairman, has described the surprising acquisition as the authority's "entry into a new and exciting business with excellent growth prospects and close connections to our core airport business." Asked if the Frankfurt Airport Authority shares the view from the other side of the Channel, Manfred Scholch bluntly says:

"Frankfurt will not invade the forwarding business like British

Airports."