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    Vol. 13 No. 37                     THE AIR CARGO NEWS THOUGHT LEADER                          Tuesday April 29, 2014

Geoffrey and Sabiha Arend, Jacques Ancher, Jan Meurer

From left: Geoffrey & Sabiha Arend with Jacques Ancher and “Wild Thing” Jan Meurer, together for the first time in Istanbul last Friday as Jacques joined the air cargo immortals in the TIACA Hall of Fame.

He may have “departed the building” 15 years ago, but last Friday well-wishers gathered in a compact room as one of the truly great executives of air cargo—a dreamer and doer unrivaled in our industry—Jacques Ancher was finally inducted into the prestigious TIACA Hall Of Fame in Istanbul, Turkey. During the last decade of the 20th century,Jacques made history at KLM Cargo.
     While ocean trade slipped past the picturesque hotel windows, plying their way up from the Bosphorus to inland ports and back out to sea, and air trade winged toward jam-packed Ataturk International and (in a lyrical inspiration for FlyingTypers) in and out of the only airport in the world named for a woman called Sabiha, Jacques Ancher, a man who always loved air cargo, took the floor and hit “refresh” on the air cargo thought process in a simple, reasonable, and direct manner.
     Jacques spoke for just a few minutes and did so without notes—straight from the shoulder and right from the heart.
     “I am still fascinated by this business.
     “If you stand back and take the full view of air cargo, what is in clear focus is that this is a multi-billon dollar business driven by a large, dedicated group that includes the best, most prestigious companies in the world.
     “Air cargo is really and truly golden.
     “Although I have gotten along in years since we last spoke when I retired from KLM, I cannot understand why this beautiful cargo industry is still treated in some cases as a stepchild.
     “We must be doing something wrong,” Jacques Ancher declared, as the room sat up and paid attention.
     “I came here expecting to receive an award, not to say much more, having never attended any industry events or award dinners since I left 15 years ago.
     “But once again talking to my former colleagues and listening to your business scenarios and speeches here tonight, especially the laudatory comments about me, I must admit I am quite moved.
     “I wish that they were all true,”Ancher declared.
     “But looking out on many of the people here tonight, and how important this group is today in leading the industry, I still feel air cargo is heading in the right direction.
     “I also want to acknowledge the time many of us had together and how we tried to change the air cargo business.
     “But I’d like to also say that in retrospect there are two things I wish I had done differently.
     “I wish I had gone to both aircraft manufacturers Boeing and Airbus and asked them to deliver airplanes without cargo bellies.
     “The reasoning is that new airplanes without cargo capacity would make all of our lives much simpler.
     “Under that scenario, when an airline bought an airplane the decision to carry cargo would also represent a true commitment to the air cargo business.
     “The second thing I would have done differently is the way we attempted to change air cargo by organizational structure within our company, KLM.
     “If I did it again today, I would inspire change through innovation.
     “I believe the key to change is people.
     “Only through people can you change what you are doing.
     “If you can build innovation into your structure you have a chance to win.
     “In a broader sense, cargo needs innovation.
     “To build innovation you must allow your people to experiment with new ideas, to see whether they can work or not work.
     “If you do that you will change not only people’s outlook, you will also change air cargo.
     “I only have to look at my grandchildren, with their thumbs and fingers zipping across a tiny mobile keyboard on a cell-phone or PDA to know that innovation is accelerating change in the world.
     “Air cargo could benefit greatly by simply looking around and building its future by innovation.”
     Last Thursday, April 24, Jacques Ancher landed in Istanbul and gave us a couple of clear thinking hours to rub elbows.
     His vision lit up the night.
     To paraphrase what the baseball player and sage Yogi Berra once said:
     “It was like deja-vu all over again.”
     Jacques brought his own atmosphere into the room. You could feel the air change as he moved about the place softly, in subdued elegance, his words measured, thoughtful and full of promise.
     You felt the barometric pressure rising as he spoke.
     I am absolutely certain if he were displeased about something we might have felt the ballroom misting over last Friday.
     Too bad you were not there.
     Too bad we will not see his kind again soon, if ever again, in air cargo.
     Thanks Jacques.
Geoffrey /Sabiha

A Postcript…
     Earlier at this gathering there had been some talk about the need to attract new people into air cargo, followed by an announcement of a TIACA-sponsored pilot program moving forward wherein a couple dozen young people will soon gather in Netherlands for an immersion into air cargo.
     It’s not much, all things considered, but the effort is at least a beginning.
     And as it is said:
     “If you can’t do better, clap.”
     Part of the problem of bringing not only young but also new people into air cargo in some cases is that the old people do not seem to want to step aside.
     A quick look around this TIACA gathering confirms that thought.
     Maybe there are “new” people someplace else whilst all these cargo trade shows are being conducted.
     In that case, maybe some of these old faces should stay in office during the next show, say CNS Partnership or TIACA ACF in Incheon later this year, whilst “new faces” are given a turn to share their thoughts, hopes and dreams for a better air cargo industry.
     When it takes the oldest guy in the room, Jacques Ancher, to point the way towards the youth— based on the common sense observations formed while watching the grandkids—maybe it’s time for all of us to shut up and take a lesson.
     As we celebrate William Shakespeare’s birthday this past weekend (April 26), a favorite quote comes to mind that seems apropos of our evening with Jacques, although written four hundred years ago:
     “The fault, dear Brutus, is not in our stars, but in ourselves.”

Jacques Ancher video
Richard Malkin
Click Here To Read Intro
Click Here To Read Part I
Click Here To Read Part II
Click Here To Read Part III

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