Vol. 9 No. 81                                            WE COVER THE WORLD                                Tuesday July 6, 2010

     She’s on home leave, but her cell phone rings incessantly. The calls come from China: from Shenzhen, the booming metropolis of the Pearl River Delta, from Shanghai, from Yantai, the emerging center of the high-tech industry in the north of the country.
     Gabriela Ahrens takes it all in stride. What’s so special about home leave? What is home, anyway, to a woman whose feet barely touch the ground they travel over: secondary school exams completed in 1979 in the Lower Saxony town of Uelzen, with further training there as a travel sales agent, then to London to work for Germ travel agency, (DER), a move to Frankfurt in 1987—for love, this time. And in looking for the man of her life, she finds, on the Main River, the job of a lifetime.
     She begins her career in the sales department of the German Lufthansa; first, in the passenger business, later, with Cargo. Cargo will become her greatest love. For years, Gabriela Ahrens is active in leadership positions within Lufthansa Cargo.
     The rungs on her career ladder are Shanghai, Hong Kong, Sydney, Singapore and, in the last half year, Shenzhen. Starting on December 1, 2009, the power woman serves as Executive Vice President Sales and Products for Jade Cargo International.
      She self-reflects: “I find myself usually head over heels in work, but it gives me an awful lot of pleasure.” That might be our first clue: when people say they’re head over heels, they aren’t usually talking about work.
     So the location of her home is long-since of secondary importance. “At the moment, the center of my life is in Asia,” Gabriela tells us. “I live in the here and now. Everything else is a long way off.” One notices that, including a ‘side trip’ to Australia, she has spent the past 15 years in Asia.
     Jade Cargo International, the cargo-airline founded by Shenzhen Airlines and Lufthansa Cargo in 2004, with its six Boeing 747-400 freighters, is again just the sort of challenge that Gabriela Ahrens loves. It is this pioneer spirit, this infinite pleasure in organizational development, which drives her on. Her desire to solve problems and remove hurdles is almost like an addiction. “I love new perspectives, changes, on the job as well as in private.” She says this and, at the same time, her whole face lights up.
     This is the case during her training period in the travel agency, as she becomes aware that “my future would not be there.” It isn’t much different when she is in London organizing trips from the DER office for British citizens who want to visit the English soldiers’ cemeteries in Germany. “Though I had no clear picture as to how my future would look,” she says, in retrospect, “I felt overwhelmingly that London was not far enough away, not really a foreign country.”
     A big chance comes in 1995; China opens itself to the west. In 1994, Lufthansa flies for the first time via Beijing to Shanghai. In Frankfurt, plans for the first non-stop flight to Shanghai are starting to ripen. Young Gabriela Ahrens, who has “learned everything from scratch” in sales, is asked whether she could picture herself building up a sales structure in China. She doesn’t take much time thinking about it and seizes the opportunity.
     She becomes Manager of Marketing and Sales for Eastern China with headquarters in Shanghai—and she brims with ambition. She makes contacts with local and regional travel agencies, establishes contacts with Chinese tour-operators and scours the German community. Ahrens is soon the vortex for the (at the time) 800 Germans in Shanghai and a handful of Swiss and Austrians. She establishes contacts, initiates new business and organizes parties. “Everybody knew my name. I knew Shanghai and Shanghai knew me,” she says, looking back.
     In 1999, Ahrens switches to Lufthansa Cargo. At that time, Stefan Lauer, Chairman of the Executive Board and CEO and today a member of the Group executive board, placed more emphasis on the independence of the cargo division and forged plans for a pure cargo flight to Shanghai.
     However, for this Lufthansa Cargo needed its own sales organization on site. Who better than Gabriela Ahrens and her legendary reputation of knowing the town, its representatives and the resident companies. For Ahrens, a new start-up is the challenge again. She accepts, despite the fact that, at that time, she doesn’t even know what an “airway bill” is.
     But Ahrens is more than capable of learning. There are colleagues of hers who maintain that she is eager to learn. “What I knew, I left behind me,” she says today. “I set out for new shores.”
     She recognizes this and passes it on to her employees: “Changes don’t have to hurt. A great opportunity often lies in them.” That is her personal credo, and is impressed upon her employees: “Primarily, we should see the opportunities in our new possibilities, not just the hurdles.”
     With this attitude, as one of just a few women, she has made it to the top floors of management of Lufthansa Cargo and on the way there has never “had the feeling that I wasn’t accepted.”
     When asked last year whether she wanted to switch to Jade Cargo International, she saw this offer as a new opportunity. The joint venture between the “most professional cargo airline of the world and its accent-setting Chinese partners” is the perfect combination “to deliver the high quality to our customers which the Chinese market, with its existing hurdles, will allow.” What Gabriela Ahrens wants to say here is: The actual international standard in the logistics supply chain is not yet capable of being implemented 1:1 today in China.
     “In spite of this, we are on the right path,” says the Jade manager. In the meantime, the market brings Jade Cargo International a “big trust bonus.” This opens the possibility again “to optimize our route network.” After Amsterdam as the main destination in Europe, Vienna and Istanbul have become the emerging growth centers there. Jade is the only cargo airline that flies directly from China to Istanbul. As of the winter, the frequency will be raised from three to four flights weekly.
     “Her big dream” Gabriela Ahrens hopes, will come true by the end of the year, at the latest. When Jade Cargo flies to Chicago, thus opening the trans-Pacific traffic, she could as sales manager then state contently: “We’ve come a long way, baby.”
     She has coped with the cultural differences between Germany, Australia and China, as well as between Hong Kong, Shanghai and Shenzhen. Only the automotive traffic in China’s large cities has stymied her. She drives neither in Shanghai nor in Shenzhen, the Jade hub.
     “I don’t have to do this to myself,” says the woman with the strong nerves, “I have enough stress.”


Tulsi Mirchandaney

Olga Pleshakova

Lucy Ntuba

Lina Rutkauskien

Tammy Zwicki &
Monika Lutz

Ann Smirr

Lise Marie Turpin

Suzan Tarabish

Marina Marzani

Karen Rondino

Susanne Keimel

Sheryle Burger

Maria Schmucker

Michelle Wilkinson

Beti Sue Ward

Donna Mullins

Alexandra Ulm

Maria Muller

Iwona Korpalska

Lisa Schoppa

Gloria Whittington

Cathy Hanna

Anita Khurana

Salma Ali Saif Bin Hareb


Charlotte Gallogly

Lisa Wilczek

Batool Hussain Ali

Budoor Al Mazmi

     China Southern Airlines was just ranked as one of the world’s top three carriers in passenger transportation by IATA on June 12, handling 66.28 million passengers in 2009. Eight days later, as a new Airbus A330-200 arrived at Guangzhou Baiyun Airport, the airlines took the day to celebrate the coming of its “400-jet era”.

     According to a recent statistic by IATA, China Southern Airlines will now be the world's sixth largest by fleet size, following Air France (402 aircraft), and the first in Asia.
     The aircraft of China Southern Airlines are mainly composed of Airbus and Boeing jetliners, with the two roughly taking a 50 to 50 share. One hundred and seventy-six jets from Airbus include forty-four A319s, sixty A320s, fifty A321s, seventeen A330, three A300 and one A300 freighter; the one hundred and ninety-six jets from Boeing include twenty-five B737-300, eighty-eight B737-800, forty-six B737-700, twenty-five B757, ten B777 and two B747 freighters.
     Mr. Si Xianmin, President of China Southern Airlines had this to say at the welcome ceremony at Guangzhou Baiyun Airport on June 20:
     “Reaching a fleet of 400 aircraft is an important milestone in China Southern Airlines’ way of development, and also has special meanings for China’s civil aviation.
     “As one of the largest airlines in the world, China Southern Airlines will continue its strategic transformation, and fully take the opportunity of the ongoing Shanghai Expo 2010 and the coming Guangzhou Asian Games to promote its brand value and competitiveness.”
     “What’s more, China Southern Airlines will not stop expanding its fleet. Five A380 super jumbos will be delivered one by one after February 2011, and ten B787-8 Dreamliners will also join in 2011.”

Emirates Adds Non-Stop
Dubai Prague

     Trade between the Czech Republic and the UAE, which consists of Czech-made Bohemian glass, electrical equipment, jewelery, beverages, data processing devices, machine tools, cars and car parts just got a lift as Emirates began daily A330-200 flights from Dubai to Prague on July 1.
     The airline is now providing the only daily, non-stop passenger service from the Middle East to Prague, capital of the Czech Republic and site of the famous Charles Bridge, which straddles the Vltava River.
     Tim Clark, President of Emirates Airline, presents a silver dhow to Miroslav Dvorak, CEO of Prague Airport, to mark the occasion.
     Mr. Clark said:
     "With a fleet of 149 aircraft, including 11 A380s, we continue to drive forward with our expansion plans and more new routes are on the way. Madrid starts up August 1st and Dakar in Senegal begins a month after that."

Remembering Wolfgang Fank

     My old friend colleague and business partner Wolfgang Fank died on June 14, 2010 in his home near Cologne after a long bout with cancer.
     Wolfgang was 59 years old.
     He is survived by his wife Gabi, his life and business partner who will continue to operate CES Cologne.
     Wolfgang had been a freight forwarder all his adult life and started his own company CES in Cologne in 1993.
     He was a successful and dedicated member of the freight forwarding community in Cologne airport and was known as a tough but fair and even generous airfreight executive.
     CES (Cargo Express Systems) GmbH is a long time partner of EMO-TRANS in Cologne where EMO does not have its own offices.
     Wolfgang who was always decent, above board and a good friend and companion brought a very personal touch serving the air cargo business with his wife Gabi.
     Together they were naturals, a wonderful couple that built an excellent reputation into the market.
     We will miss Wolfgang, his generosity and humorous style, and love of life.
     It doesn’t seem right that he was taken from us so soon.
     But all of us who knew him are thankful and fortunate that he happened into our lives.
Jo Frigger

Pizza Fourth For USA Troops

     Although it should not be too hard to find some really good Nan (a soft, piquant and flavorful fresh bread that comes straight out of a tandoori clay oven and can be found almost anywhere in the Middle East), the troops were in luck this weekend as the yearly Independence Day shipment of 'fresh as the day they were frozen' pizzas were due for arrival on July 4th.
     Pizzas 4 Patriots, a non-profit organization, teams up every year with DHL and others to airlift 28,000 pizzas to U.S. servicemen and women throughout Iraq and Afghanistan for Independence Day.
     Dubbed "Operation Pizza Surge," the yearly mission has grown to mammoth proportions.
     To their credit, DHL continues to deliver the pizza (and almost everything else for the U.S. Department of Defense) to numerous locations around the globe relying on extensive service capabilities and "first in market" approach provided in support of US servicemen and women.
     DHL is also the first international air express carrier to provide service to Iraq and Afghanistan, and operates the most extensive logistics service in the Middle East Region.
     "As the specialists in international shipping, DHL is honored to leverage its global network and transport this shipment to lift the spirits of our servicemen and women based in the Middle East," said Adrian Watts, Managing Director U.S. Government Sales and Support for DHL Express.
     "Our partnership with Pizzas 4 Patriots is part of our ongoing efforts to support our troops, and honor our U.S. servicemen and women."
     Works for us.

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