first time I met Edeltraude Kampits, who died in Vienna
on March 3, 2012, the pioneering air cargo woman and
former manager of Austrian Airlines Cargo was known
as Traude Frigge and was situated at Austrian Cargo
in Vienna, at the airport where the cargo was handled.
For every work day after
that, I imagined Traude looking over every phase of
the AUA Cargo operation, cigarette in hand, giving
orders and standing tall at 5 feet, two inches—the
only female in a jungle of men.
But Traude not only held her own; she dominated. Her
bright red blazer was a signature of the fact she
was in the room.
Being a woman in air
cargo during the time of Traude could not have been
easy, but she never looked back, and rarely (if ever)
looked for much help.
This wonderful and unique
lady made it possible and raised the bar for any woman
to follow a cargo job because of her great self-confidence
For many years at industry
meetings, Traude was the first and only female ever
to invade the old boys’ club and make them like
Traude was smart and
savvy and did not casually suffer fools, but rather
spoke right up and called things as she saw them.
We sat down in her office
almost twenty years ago and she talked extensively
about the air cargo business.
As we went back and
forth, she smoked to the point that the cigarettes
turned the room into a chamber of fog, like a scene
in one of those old film noir Bulldog Drummond adventure
serials of the 1930s—the only missing element
was an occasional toot from a distant fog-horn.
I recall that time stood
quite still with Traude; she possessed a delicate
yet forceful German accent and powerful, albeit diminutive,
presence, packaged in a cigarette and red jacket.
Marlene Dietrich was
in the cargo area, and this foreign correspondent,
note-pad in hand, was hanging on every word.
Traude Frigge probably
never expected that in 1995 she would be the only
female airline air cargo top executive in the world.
Certainly the vice president
cargo at Austrian Airlines could never have dreamed
that she would have an airline career that spanned
over 30 years, and that one day she would be chairman
of that oldest of boys’ clubs—the IATA
Air Cargo Committee—but that’s exactly
In fact, less than a
year after our meeting, Traude traveled to the U.S.
and delivered the keynote speech at IATA’s CNS
She made many major
contributions at AUA, including driving the launch
of road feeder services into the Eastern countries
in early 1989, thereby feeding new business into AUA
line flights and other world carriers serving Vienna.
is moved in convoys, and some include security guards,’she
said of that operation.
is constant via satellite link. All AUA road connections
to the east are listed in a host computer system under
separate flight numbers.
“We have developed
several makets by ourselves.
“Our success is
evident as very few carriers currently serve these
“Based on our
long experience, application of information technology,
and overall investment, we expect these markets to
contribute handsomely to Austrian's bottomline, ”she
“I think to be
successful you have to take more than a specialist’s
“I learned sales,
reservations, and marketing by basically doing each
Traude also shared what
it was like in 1995 to chair a meeting of the IATA
Cargo Committee in Geneva.
"We generally close
the door and brainstorm—often inviting guests,
including Customs officials and other governmental
types, to make presentations.
“This past session
was a good one with 28 in attendance,"she said
matter-of-factly of the 1995 meeting.
Traude, no doubt could
hold her own with anyone and often made a point with
a hearty laugh and a wave of her hand, despite the
fact that, at that time, it was suggested that the
integrators might swallow up the air cargo business.
“We deliver same
day all over Europe.
“Air cargo doesn't
need to reinvent the wheel.
will be best served having common standards.
still have rate and schedule advantage.
“The future is
still in our hands,” Traude said.
After she retired in
2001, we launched FlyingTypers and I noticed
her email address on our circulation list and thought
about her often.
Later she married Peter
Kampits and her last name changed, but FlyingTypers
was still a regular read. The last time we heard from
her was on March 1, 2006 when she wrote:
Maybe you still
remember me I served as VP Cargo for Austrian
Airlines until about 5 years ago.
Now I am a happy
and very busy retiree but I follow with great
interest your articles in Air Cargo News and
The stories about
Dubai which came out last week I liked particularly,
because every word was true.
I was in Dubai
various times during the last few years for
holidays, and of course also see my old friend
Every time I arrive
there, the city has grown again and it almost
unbelievable how fast things can be developed.
But what is even
more important - people are extremely friendly
and helpful and the area is absolutely safe
Keep on writing
these excellent articles!
With best regards
Family and friends,
including children and grandchildren, held a poignant
memorial service for Traude this past March 23, with
Peter writing simply:
do you tarry too-
our hearts you will always be with us.”
Traude was laid to rest
in the family plot at Ottakringer Cemetery in Vienna.
Her dear friend Bill
“Traude was a
pioneer in the air cargo industry.
“She was a strong
person that had great leadership skills.
“She helped steer
the air cargo industry as head of IATA’s Air
Cargo Committee during very turbulent times and gained
the respect of all the carriers.
kept our industry on course and we all owe her our
Rest in peace, dear
first lady of air cargo.