In less than two weeks the curtain will
ring down on a career that has endured for nearly 46 years at an airline,
or since Gerald Ford was U.S. President and Helmut Schmidt served as Chancellor
of The Federal Republic of Germany.
In Frankfurt when Heide Enfield packs it
in and retires on November 30 and says her last farewell, she will also
ring down the curtain on a family affiliation in the airline business
that dates back almost as far as the creation and development of post
1950s modern commercial aviation in Germany.
Along the way Heide has served in many roles
with distinction at Lufthansa, but nothing grander or more cutting edge,
than her role as Head of Marketing at Lufthansa Cargo Charter.
One thing in all of this is for certain,
we will not see the likes of this kind of excellence in many different
roles and length of dedicated service in the airline business again.
In her many and varied positions as a woman
at Lufthansa, Heide Enfield was way ahead of her time and even can be
seen as a pioneering key executive in a team led by Christian Fink that
propelled Lufthansa Cargo Charter Agency (LCCA) into global impact and
fame as the 21st century began.
Brilliant Cargo Company
Lufthansa Cargo Charter Agency was a solid,
profitable innovative company that keeps popping up in mind as some kind
of short-sighted loss by parent Lufthansa Cargo that divested itself of
LCCA in 2012. What is immediately apparent especially right now as cargo
and specifically charters dominate the airline playing field, is that
many of the people that made LCCA successful are off at various companies,
guiding the fortunes of GSSA’s and others out to secure charter
business around the world in COVID-19 2020.
But that is another story.
Here we talk a bit to Heide about her 46-year
love affair with the German airline.
Breaking Up Is Hard To Do
“I started working for Lufthansa on
January 1, 1975, so almost 46 years ago, and now my last day will be November
“I guess I was Lufthansa property
from birth, with a father who was a Lufthanseat from almost day one.
“My first flight was when I was 5
years old. The flight was a surprise for my twin sister Uta and me; my
father took us to Düsseldorf to pick up our first car, which he had
bought from a friend.
“Of course, it was a VW Beetle,”
Recruited Right Out of School
“When I left school in summer of 1974
I wanted to join Lufthansa right away, which I then did a few months later,
4 days before my 18th birthday.
“My first years at Lufthansa were
good but not really very exciting.
“But when I was moved over to a job
in the new tourist department, things really started to take off.”
Setting Up Tours
“We made arrangements for travel into
Germany, facilitating agent study tours for our offices abroad, or arranging
travel for medical service for customers in the Middle East, who came
to Germany rather than go elsewhere where it was much more expensive.
“It was very interesting, even enthralling
to get that traffic going, especially with the knowledge that we were
building the world-class medical arts profession in Germany, and also
helping people get well while saving money, and we were growing Lufthansa,
all at the same time,” Heide declared.
The Move To Munich & Air Cargo
“After about 10 years it was time
to move on, so I applied for a job in Munich and got it. I moved to Munich
in 1992, just before the opening of the new airport.
“After a couple of years came Kurt
Scholz, Head of Sales and Handling South Germany for LH Cargo.
“Herr Scholz asked me to take over
his accounting department.
“He said that the word up was that
I was a good team leader and ‘we need leaders with drive and imagination.’”
MUC Numbers Were Stuck
“So, I took the job.
“Well, the accounting department was
sheer chaos as there had not been a top numbers guru for a couple of months.
“So, while getting the numbers game
sorted out with the help of a colleague from Cologne, we realized that
an awful lot of dedicated and otherwise talented and well-meaning people
were working in accounting.
“But without formal training they
were in motion with no control, like a windsock at an airport.”
Brought Training Forward
“So together,” Heide said, “with
the Lufthansa School and Central Revenue Accounting in Hamburg we set
up courses and soon I was a trainer on the job in addition to my regular
“It is no secret that management follows
the money, so before long I was tasked to take over as Head of Revenue
in Hamburg, responsible for Lufthansa Cargo global revenue accounting.”
Takes A Bite Out Of Hamburg
“I moved to Hamburg the beginning
of 2000. I really had some very memorable and truly great times in Munich
as well as in Hamburg.
“Lots of nice colleagues, the job
was fun and diversified and the Hamburg experience involved quite a bit
of travelling to cargo station offices abroad to implement new ideas and
ensure the Lufthansa quality proposition,” Heide recalled.
Back To The Future
“In October 2002 I moved back to Frankfurt
to join Lufthansa Cargo Charter Agency, a newly formed subsidiary of LH
“First I worked as Senior Sales Manager,
and in 2004 I became Head of Marketing and PR.
“The years at charter were the most
exciting ones in my whole career.”
Building Lufthansa Charter
“LCCA was a small company, not a 9
to 5 job, and required quick decisions, but allowed for great freedom
and possibilities to create and develop new strategies and procedures.
“LCCA was also non-stop exciting projects,
meeting a lot of people from all over the world, press work and engagement
with the international air cargo publications, trade fairs, and a level
of contact in every aspect of the adventure that was second to none.”
Happy Faces Going Places
were pioneering, going places and setting a tone while delivering a solid,
steadily growing business.
“Christian Fink, our managing director
was just terrific.
“Christian, quite the renaissance
man, made it possible for everybody to express their entrepreneurship
in real time every day on the job.
“He put a lot of trust in his team
and the result was that together we made the company a success.”
For many in air cargo, including yours truly,
Lufthansa Cargo Charter was the “little company that could”
as it continued along in an ever-profitable atmosphere for many seasons.
It always held its own, and at times even bested bigger, more entrenched
There was a cohesive, often high-spirited
and uplifting feeling amongst many at Lufthansa Cargo Charter that was
immediately apparent after the company opened its offices near Frankfurt
Am Main in Kelsterbach.
It was certainly all business, but you quickly
learned that amongst Fink and company, there was always the ability to
step back and enjoy the journey.
Aside from being great business people,
Lufthansa Cargo Charter was also known for its support of charitable causes
such as Mothers’ Mercy Home, an orphanage in Kianjogu just outside
Nairobi, which is part of the Lufthansa Cargo’s ‘Cargo Human
Care’ (CHC) project.
“Then unfortunately in 2010, Christian
was replaced and things changed a lot—and not for the better,”
“In 2013, the company was reintegrated
into Lufthansa Cargo, which meant that it was closed down with only a
handful of the staff remaining, doing charter for LH Cargo but on a lot
“So, with heart and soul, I must say
Lufthansa Charter was really not only the most exciting, but also the
most painful experience during my 46 years here.”
As of Now
“Since Charter, I have been working
at LH Cargo Handling in Frankfurt on various projects.
“The good news is that as always,
here too I have met some wonderful people and we have been able through
it all to connect for the positive good of our company.
“I wouldn't say that 46 years passed
in a hurry; it does feel like an awfully long time.
“And now I am ready to say good bye,”
Heide said wistfully.
The Sentimental Sap
I am able to accept things happening and
report about a wonderful person like Heide with great regularity.
But something she brought to the table in
her marketing role that upon reading about her background at Lufthansa,
you could not guess might happen.
During the Lufthansa Charter years, Heide
and the group would host a yearly customer event like no other.
went over to Darmstadt and found this lovely 1920s children’s petting
zoo, where every summer the annual Lufthansa Charter Agency Summer Party
would be held.
Knocking around the zoo was always the same
– a grand time filled with food, fun and merry entertainment.
And always, there were the children.
By count, fully a third or more of the attendees
were kids, and their laughter and joy was heard just like the late summer
cicadas, a mixture of voices and buzzing that created a din that rose
and fell on the breeze all afternoon.
“We tried and made this a relaxed,
entertaining family day for all,” said Heide.
“The idea was to create memories of
this wonderful, soft time of year when everyone should be with family
Lufthansa Cargo Charter Agency represented
not just a company, but also a family of people. And Heide Enfield was
an integral member of that family.
We will miss Heide Enfield who is not only
one of the smartest marketing and public relations talents, but is also
truly an air cargo industry standard.
|At Lufthansa Cargo Charter Agency's
summertime customer event, as four part harmony floated above the
gathering, employees, customers and their families networked, got
to know each other and enjoyed a great time. LCAA chief Christian
Fink and marketing guru Heide Enfield set the tone and the bar for
a day in the summer, encouraging all "to have a good time."