late Richard (Dick) Judy (pictured in his office) served as top executive
at Miami International Airport for many years and is generally credited
with putting that gateway on a firm path to greatness.
Once I asked Dick, who was the go-to ground
handler in Miami air cargo, and he said without hesitation “Claude
“Claude Bijaoui arrived in Miami from
France with investment and innovation and with not a small amount of heart,
and he pioneered cargo ground handling here that almost single-handedly
put Miami air cargo on the map,” Dick Judy told me in 1988.
Imagine my surprise at TIACA ACF, whilst
strolling down one of those wide aisles, bumping into the man himself,
Claude at 84, is still sharp as they come
with a quick wit, and positive outlook that is by any measure refreshingly
bright, welcome and needed in air cargo today.
Our brief encounter led to longer conversation
for these pages upcoming.
But one thing he said gets some air here.
While taking nothing for granted, Claude
recalled his friend Dick Judy saying:
“He was a businessman top to bottom.
“Tough and driven, Dick Judy created
an environment that allowed everyone to be successful,” Claude said.
Claude was even more poignant, as the top news at TIACA ACF 2018 was that
Claude’s son Olivier, having served as Chairman of WFS for over
30 years, has launched a new handling company in USA called Transborder
Olivier, an apple that did not fall very
far from the Bijaoui family tree, rocketed WFS to the top of the heap
in world air cargo handling,
Simon Caviezel, founder of Cargo Airport
Services (CAS) is partner in the new venture that also includes an “A-List”
of legendary ground handling dreamers and doers including John Gemmell,
John Keery, Claudine Bonthoux and some others.
Transborder, based in Sunrise, Florida (Ft.
Lauderdale) has an ambitious plan to become a household word in air cargo
by this time next year.
Wondered why these men who set records and
are now sitting good whilst up in years, would want to come back to cargo,
but then looked at Claude who is not part of this venture, but I imagine
is nodding approval from the sidelines, and later myself in the mirror
this morning and thought:
“Are you kidding? It’s the joust!”
In the case of Messer’s Bijaoui and
Caviezel, a recent report that the global airport logistics systems market
is expected to grow at a clip of 10.3% from 2018 to reach USD 14.1 billion
by 2025 might have played into the comeback plan.
But face to face with determination and
the right stuff to be sure, both men and their start up team are embracing
a new beginning that will specialize amongst other things, in developing
techniques and capabilities to keep abreast and even ahead in the expected
continued avalanche of e-cargo.
“The mid-size market is asking for
quality with network service at a time when new challenges and opportunities
are emerging,” Olivier Bijaoui said.
Today in air cargo handling what’s
old is news.
No doubt in USA and elsewhere air cargo
is in for a great ride.