market might be less than a year ago—but it’s not bad,”
insists Guillaume Halleux, Qatar Airways Chief Officer Cargo
“Don’t let people tell you that
we are in a recession again—we are not!”
Guillaume is approaching his third anniversary
atop Qatar Airways Cargo this June.
“I have worked internally to make
sure that cargo is a strong contributor to the airline’s bottom
line by making sure everyone understands our business and its objectives
“We have a first-rate team at work
for Qatar Airways Cargo. We have planned an extension of our air cargo
handling capabilities at Doha, deepened our agreements and partnerships,
and are working on introducing new products.”
All About People
“In this business, priority one is
“The ambition toward greatness in
every aspect of the air cargo business resides with people.
“It is up to us to make sure we don’t
ever lose the sense of what makes us so special, which is flexibility,
agility, and the human touch,” Guillaume said.
“We are moved by people, first and
foremost!” Guillaume Halleux reiterates, putting a slammer (exclamation)
on his thoughts.
250 And Counting
Last month Qatar Airways celebrated the
entry of its 250 aircraft, an Airbus A350-900. That arrival came hard
on the heels of news that the carrier now serves an array of exciting
new destinations, including Gothenburg, Sweden; Mombasa, Kenya; and Da
But hold on to your hats because even more
is in the works.
Previews of Coming Attractions
Qatar Airways adds a number of new cities
to its extensive route network later this year, including Lisbon, Portugal;
Malta; Rabat, Morocco; Izmir, Turkey; Langkawi, Malaysia; Davao, Philippines;
and Mogadishu, Somalia.
Flexing Real Air Cargo Muscle
“Today Qatar Airways Cargo serves
more than 60 freighter destinations worldwide via its world-class Doha
hub and also delivers freight to more than 160 key business and leisure
destinations globally on more than 250 aircraft,” Guillaume declared,
“For the record, the Qatar Airways
Cargo fleet includes two Boeing 747-8 freighters, fifteen Boeing 777 freighters,
and eight Airbus A330 freighters, and they are all quite busy.”
QR Cargo Revenue Stream
Keeping all of this humming is what it’s
about in Doha, but that is not everything.
The airline's cargo division is the second
largest revenue stream for the company.
As an industry leader, Qatar Airways and
its group of companies have taken a decidedly (and maybe in the global
mix of things) somewhat unexpected effort to lead the charge towards environmental
sustainability and corporate social responsibility.
Qatar Airways is one of the leaders in new-generation
fuel research and gives back to the communities in which it serves.
Guillaume Halleux puts it on the line:
“Qatar Airways Cargo will be the world's
number one air cargo provider in value, scale, reliability, and customer
“We strive to be a vital link in the
global economy, delivering to the world for a better future.
“Qatar Airways Cargo is committed
to adhere to the division's Quality Management System in delivering our
services throughout our operations.
“To do so, it is our prime objective
to ensure 100 percent compliance with safety and security regulations.
“We exercise due diligence in upholding
our operational, commercial, and quality policies and procedures, and
implement continual improvements to deliver excellent service to our business
Without a doubt among the most up front
of carriers, Qatar Airways puts it all on their website in living color
“Implementing this Quality Policy
is our commitment to our ISO 9001:2015 Quality System to achieve the following
become the "Employer of Choice" for our staff
create a clear Customer Preference for Qatar Airways Cargo
establish operational excellence in delivering our promise to our clients;
develop sustainable profitability throughout the organization.
“Our Quality Management System at
Qatar Airways Cargo is not a choice, but a must in achieving Qatar Airways
Cargo's goal,” Guillaume said.
“The unexpected is the unexpected,
so you have to deal with adversity as it comes,” Guillaume said.
What are The Priorities?
“There are currently 2,500 people
working at Qatar Airways Cargo.
“My job is to make sure that each
and every one of our people has the environment and position that allows
“I don’t price load airplanes,
nor do I take phone reservations or even fly the airplanes. I don’t
do any of that work.
“I just make sure each and every day
to never forget how important our 2,500 people are, so that they can outperform
anybody else,” Guillaume smiled.
From The Bottom of My Heart
“We are in the people industry and
should never forget that.
“If you take the top ten carriers
in the world and step back a bit, what is apparent right away is that
we all fly similar routes, utilizing mostly the same aircraft and even
“So the difference really is the people,
and when you call Qatar Airways you discover that the person who serves
you is motivated to do good from the bottom of their heart.
“Of course, things happen, but therein
also lies a difference—we are dedicated to delivering.”
The Renaissance Man
Guillaume offers nice bits of wisdom and
common sense in a big complicated world.
He exudes calm and a solid sense of stability
coupled with a true love and understanding for the human condition.
Where does all of this come from, we wonder?
It turns out Guillaume attends meetings
up and down the cargo line where other top executives might take a pass.
Call it zeal or activism, but Guillaume
keeps coming back to a theme of caring about absolutely everything, even
when it comes to replying to every single email.
“It’s only polite,” he
Here is someone with concern for any step
How does he keep people at Qatar Airways
What does he do to keep the mission alive
“One word, Geoffrey," Guillaume
“Honest passion for what you are doing
“I brought someone in that knows zip
about cargo but who is quite passionate about another dimension of our
“I know that we can teach him about
cargo, but he can teach us by example what dedication and passion is as
he advances through Qatar Airways Cargo in his own field of expertise.
“In a previous company, we brought
in a flight attendant to our claims department.
“She knew nothing about cargo, but
she had a Masters degree equivalent in handling stress.”
Finding The Right People
"I do not think cargo is difficult.
It is an art that can be taught like anything else, with patience and
“I’ll come back to the essential
for anybody who wants to work at Qatar Airways Cargo.
“It is passion for the job we are
doing, a feeling that starts at the top at our company and is felt by
everyone up and down the line and most importantly finally by the customer.”
Supersonic Up Through The Ranks
Guillaume reveals that when he began his
airline career as a 20-something-year-old at London Heathrow working in
maintenance for the Concorde SST at Air France, his office was in the
same building as cargo.
“The lady that handled cargo was really
into it. As she explained what air cargo was and how business was done,
I started to like it more and more.
“I guess the rest is history,”
Guillaume smiles, “except I’ll never forget that someone shared
a passion for this business with me and that feeling has only grown over
Talking It All Over
Finally, when asked what his present self
would advise to his twenty-something self, he said without hesitation:
“I would say, ‘forget about
everybody else, just do what you think is good for you!
“‘Look to your heart, because
your heart will never betray you.’
“I never went for money. I probably
could have ended up in finance, the stock market, or somewhere else, but
that’s not me.
“Today I am in an industry and feel
turned on and excited about what I’m doing every day of my life.”
The Bees Knees
As we readied for our departure, Guillaume
recalled that when he was young and living in France, he was a beekeeper.
“I’m a beekeeper,” he
"I learnt that trade when I was 13
in the town where I grew up in France,” Guillaume said.
As we listened to his gentle voice and experienced
his bright determination, his history as a beekeeper kept coming back
and we thought about what it takes to be a beekeeper. Being interested
in the welfare of others is surely a requisite.
Guillaume has a soft but deft touch and
knows how to separate the wheat from the chaff.
He is bright and interesting and lights
up the room.
Sometimes you just meet someone and know
that they will make a difference.