Vol. 10 No. 47                          THE GLOBAL AIR CARGO PUBLICATION OF RECORD SINCE 2001                 Wednesday May 18, 2011

Virgin Says "Sorry"


     At the recent Air Cargo Europe in Munich, Germany this past week, we got a chance to speak to John Lloyd, Director of Cargo at Virgin Atlantic Cargo, about what is new in business and abroad, and why it was important for Virgin Atlantic Cargo to attend Cargo Logistics 2011.
     “The sheer size of it makes it important to be here,” said Mr. Lloyd.
     “It’s not just around air freight; the whole logistics side is involved as well, so we have our suppliers, customers and sales partners here.
     “It’s a great place to get the brand out, and there’s also a lot of meetings so we can catch everyone in the same place.”
     The common questions faced by everyone in the industry stem from issues of technology, fuel prices and security measures.
     On the technology front, Virgin Atlantic Cargo has just released a brand new, in-house computer system, something that Virgin had fallen behind with but was now taking the opportunity to play catch-up on.
     “It’s given us a big leap forward in our technology offerings.
     “We had an old legacy system, so we’ve been through the same thing that Swiss and Emirates and others have been through.
     “What it’s going to allow us to do this year is make a big leap forward with things like Cargo 2000, CPS, and GF-X online booking.
     “The last year was an absolutely fantastic year for us.
     “Looking forward this year, it might be slightly more challenging as we’re seeing what is happening with the economic market, but we’re still pretty confident,” said the Director of Cargo.
     While technology may seem like the biggest challenge the industry faces currently, given its quicksilver ability to change and grow and create new demands, the reality is that with fuel prices rising and security measures tightening, there are other factors which present difficulties for everyone in the air cargo industry, and Virgin Atlantic Cargo is no exception.
     “One of the big things that is coming is the increase in regulatory constraints that has been put on our whole industry, whether it’s security or customs,” said Mr. Lloyd.
     “While obviously necessary, they do have a very big impact on staffing, overhead and the resources that need to be applied.
     “It is quite a big burden.
     “On the security front, the main thing we’re pushing for is harmonization across various different regulatory bodies.
     “At the moment there are some big differences that make it difficult for everyone to compete on a level playing field.”
     And speaking of competing on a level playing field, we took the opportunity to broach a subject that many at the show were whispering about, yet all seemed to openly avoid questioning: How does Virgin Atlantic Cargo respond to those who say that the sexy (and sometimes risqué) Virgin advertising campaigns reflect negatively on women in air cargo, or at least make it harder to be taken seriously if one is a woman?

     Mr. Lloyd was gracious and honest in his response, which helped to elucidate the real reasons behind the campaigns, and apologized if anyone was ever offended.
     “Sometimes we push the boundaries, which is something Virgin Atlantic has been about right from the start.
     “Generally, the company is now maturing and growing up, so we need to ‘class our act up’ a little bit, but I apologize if anyone was ever offended.
     “We are trying to get that balance between the serious industry – we’re extremely serious about what we do – and the ability to inject a little bit of fun into it.
     “It’s not at all meant to be negative towards women.
     “As we discussed earlier, with things like the regulatory constraints, sometimes it can get a bit serious and you just want to lighten things up a bit,” said Mr. Lloyd.
     And we couldn’t agree with the Director of Cargo more – sometimes things do need to be lightened up, especially in an atmosphere where restrictions are being laid out left and right.
     But at the same time we wondered, as many wondered, whether it was indeed appropriate to include scantily clad women on trapeze and men with their shirts open in a booth at a major cargo convention. There’s having fun and then there’s exploitation, and this seemed to veer closer to the side of being exploitative – both to the Virgin people in diminutive clothing and to the intelligent, well-read people subjected to the sight.
     Perhaps it is time to grow up and ‘age up’ the advertising so that adults won’t be turned off by the message.      Getting attention is great, but at some point the negative attention becomes a reason to stop paying attention entirely. From what we heard from attendees at the show, there was a general sense of revulsion to what was being put on display that perhaps detracted from the real message that Virgin wants to send – that it is a serious business.
     So while we give definite credit to Mr. Lloyd for apologizing if anything was misconstrued and promising to mature in due time, we along with others in the cargo industry will now be on watch for when that maturation takes place.
     In the swampy morass of spiked fuel prices, technology overload, legislative chokeholds and devastating natural disasters, it is important to take a step back and have fun for a moment; but at the end of day, regardless of whether the men and women are equally scantily clad, the desire should be to project an image of maturity and strength that does not exploit women or men and gives the audience confidence about your business.
Flossie Arend/Emily


Russian AirBridge Cargo’s top executive, Tatyana Arslanova, is one of the rare women currently in command of a freight carrier. Appointed in February 2010, she became responsible for the carrier’s overall strategy, network development, operational management, strategic alliances and quality items. She gave Air Cargo News FlyingTypers this exclusive interview.
     It was a year ago that we asked Tatyana when exactly service to the U.S. would start. Back then we were given an answer of fall 2011, but it seems AirBridge Cargo has jumped the gun on its own prediction.
     “Indeed we have already started U.S. service. Having previously planned to start services to the U.S. by September this year, our time of preparation went much faster than anticipated and therefore we decided to launch a dedicated freighter service MOW-AMS-CHI-AMS-MOW three times weekly with one of our Boeing 747-400F.
     “Getting America ‘online’ is a big step in our company history and we are happy to have had a smooth start with the maiden flight having taken off from Moscow heading via Amsterdam into Chicago O'Hare airport April 30th.
     “So it was a successful and smooth start of the first ever scheduled freighter operation between Russia and The U.S.
     “We are looking forward to introducing and establishing our brand on the U.S. market.
     Network Cargo Systems International was chosen to serve as GSA, but Tatyana assures us that ABC in North America will have its own staff and office based in Chicago.
     ABC’s fleet currently consists of two Boeing 747-200Fs, one Boeing 747-300SF, three Boeing 747-400F and five Boeing 747-400ERF. But that isn’t all.
     “This year is also going to be another milestone for our company with the delivery of our first Boeing 747-8F.”
     2010 was a fantastic year for ABC, “one of the best years in the history of ABC, which was reflected in our final figures,” Tatyana assures.
     “We saw a 51 percent increase in tonnage, mainly achieved by introduction of new destinations (Seoul, Paris, Malmoe and Zhengzhou), fleet development with four additional freighters added to our fleet and development of our hub operations in both Moscow airports SVO and DME.
     “Our FTK increased by 63.7 percent in 2010.”
The new year, which has been redolent with rising fuel costs and natural disasters worldwide, is something for which ABC shows a little positive caution.
     “We are certainly trying to be optimistic in forecasting our results for 2011.
     “2010 was a fascinating period with significant economic recovery gaining momentum at year’s end. At the moment, the market is coming out of its record period of 2010 and we will see significant increase of capacity with deliveries of new airplanes and re-introduction of previously parked Boeing 747-400 freighters.
     “The main challenge for all markets will be keeping both increased capacity and market demand in a balanced position.
     “We expect market volatility, especially in Asia due to mounting capacity increase.
     “We expect additional pressures besides market volatility from growing competition and - especially within our Russian home market - a lack of qualified personnel (crews, engineers, etc.) to guarantee ABC’s further growth.
     “Last but not least, the delivery of our first B747-8F still remains an open question.
     With E-Freight as one of the hot topics on the agenda for all in air cargo, we find ABC considering it as closely and carefully as everyone else in the industry.
     “It’s on our priority list to begin with in 2011,” says Tatyana.
     “I would like to emphasize our upcoming network expansion (North America), plans to set up market representation at places we are serving already (Korea) and efforts to further develop business at secondary Chinese airports like Zhengzhou.
     “This is complemented by endeavors to strengthen our influence at our Russian home market and quality improvements through reorganizing processes at Russian airports (e.g. new ramp services at SVO).
     “To make it short: we will adhere to our strategy of seamless growth, which includes further fleet and network expansion. Our focus will be on quality, simplicity of doing business, and trying to follow not only industry initiatives (such as C2K, e-freight, etc.) but also optimize our internal procedures and processes as well.”

Heide Enfield

Tulsi Mirchandaney

Olga Pleshakova

Lucy Ntuba

Lina Rutkauskien

Karen Rondino

Iwona Korpalska

Lisa Schoppa

Gloria Whittington

Rachel Humphrey

Jenni Frigger-Latham


Kuehne + Nagel Shows
Sao Paulo To Munich

     When it comes to trade shows, Klaus Jaeger, Executive Vice President Airfreight Central Europe for Kuehne + Nagel rates “Intermodal South America held in Brazil as a first class example and “the leading exhibition and conference event for logistics, transport and cargo handling in South America”.
     “The yearly Sao Paulo Intermodal is a perfect platform to meet customers, vendors and of course - coming from overseas - meet the colleagues!”
     “Kuehne + Nagel is excellently positioned in the Latin America region and all national companies reported high increases in volumes in 2010.
     “Also in future, the company plans to maximize growth opportunities.
     With our recent acquisitions in Colombia and Ecuador, K+N extended our market presence and increased our activities in the field of perishable logistics. In addition, these transactions will further improve K+N service quality.
     “I'm impressed by the positive thinking of the people and the economic development of many Latin trading partners and countries.
     “At the Intermodal the booths and the number of participants and visitors were just great.
     “Today and in future, Latin America will be of high importance for Kuehne + Nagel.”
     “ Transport logistic in MUC last week also was absolute top shelf affording us the opportunity to present our services, solutions and global network to the visitors, mainly from Europe.

Remembering H.D. Laun

     If I'd have to give a citation for our friend Horst Dieter Laun (HDL), who we just learned passed away last summer, I'd say, with Mencken:
     "If, after I depart this vale, you ever remember me and have thought to please my ghost, forgive some sinner and wink your eye at some homely girl. . ." which, word for word, could have come straight out of Dieter’s mouth, albeit it with a stern face.
     It is not a case of de mortuis nil nisi bene (do not speak evil of the dead) when I also say that this guy who pioneered off airport consolidations at JFK International as President Freight Air and before that served as President and top executive in the Americas at DLK/Deutsches Luftfrachtkontor from 1966 until 1982.
     Establishing DLK in NYC was overture to many German forwarders opening offices in USA. DLK in fact was the beginning of the expansion of German traffic and a lot of former American cargo agents for German forwarders lost their partners when the German forwarders established their own offices in the U.S.
     Dieter was one of a kind: smart, critical and different, at times even harsh.
     He also wrote for some cargo publications in Germany and helped a lot of people, including us, but now that seems like another lifetime.
     Dieter possessed an extraordinary sense of humor, which sometimes seemed a bit odd to the uninitiated, but it could usually break up the worst stalemate.
     Dieter, in an oft-guarded world, was also capable of unleashing his emotions completely without holding back anything.
     He wrote to me when his friend Siefreid Kohler died:
     "I'm unable to express how much I miss him; I shall keep on loving him for as long as I live," he said.
     Dieter Laun was born February 7, 1934 and died July 19, 2010.
     He leaves his wife Elisabeth and grown children Gera, Marcus and Inca.
     HDL’s long time friend and colleague, Birgit Gewe, recalls that beneath the sometimes gruff exterior was a man of many passions.
     "He used to enjoy good food, mainly his own good cooking.
     "Dieter loved good wine, and beer -- especially the beer he brewed himself.
     "He was quite proud of how that always came out to be 'excellent!'"
     His friend, Joachim “Jo” Frigger, President of EMO TRANS said:
     “I remember Dieter.
     “We started our American adventure with DEUGRO, my company at the time consolidating with DLK.
     “Looking back it was when we all were young and the fledgling German agents in USA needed a consolidating agency that specialized in traffic to Germany.
     “We were all eager and excited to be in America and worked long hours, often carrying day into night with Dieter and others, after close out at a place nearby JFK air cargo called Zum Stammtisch where we actually got known as a group.
     “There were weekends together shared with our wives and kids.
     “I recall we visited each other often and went sailing, and we once spent the day clearing trees off of Dieter’s property where he would later build his home in Mill Neck, Long Island.
     “But business more than often is a contact sport and Dieter could be very tough and even unforgiving.
     “He also was very funny with a quick mind and a great sense a humor.
     “We were out of touch for many years after he retired to Florida.
     “Thinking of his passing brings back a flood of memories, many of them quite fondly recalled.”
     We need more people around us like Dieter Laun, and although he ended up in retirement, both distant and reclusive from air cargo (accounting for the lateness of this salute), he always told it like he saw it


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