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   Vol. 19 No. 73
Tuesday December 1, 2020
Southwest Cargo is Wally World
Southwest Cargo

     If you count up the years Wally Devereaux, Southwest Airlines Managing Director Cargo and Charters, and a 28-year veteran of the carrier has been a force in air cargo, it is for half that tenure, fourteen years. But to look at him you might think he is a new kid on the block. Wally is a youthful and energetic "Mohair Sam" which is language from the 1940s that was often used to describe someone who is smart, easy going and always comfortable in his clothes. Here the Texas-born and bred native talks about Southwest Cargo at full strength the way it ought to be, and he speaks with some spirit and élan telling us the way it is right now.
     “I started with Southwest in 1992 as a Customer Service Agent at Dallas Love Field.      Over the years I’ve held a number of positions in Ground Operations, Public Relations, and Marketing, before joining the Cargo Team in 1999.
     “Today I’m honored to serve as the Managing Director of our Cargo and Charters business. I work with a great team of people to ensure that we provide excellent and reliable Cargo and Charters services to our Customers, and that we contribute to the overall success of Southwest Airlines.”

Daily Engagements

     “Every day tends to be different, with different opportunities and challenges. One constant however is regular engagement with our department leaders to ensure we’re focused on the right things and making progress towards our goals as a department. I also regularly check in with some of our customers to make sure we’re providing the service they expect from us. I’ve found there’s nothing more important in this business than the people-to-people relationships.”

Wally Devereaux

The Leadership Role

     “I think good leaders are able to develop and articulate a vision for what could be, why it’s important, and what’s required to get there. They’re also able to help folks understand why each person’s role is important to the success of the team, and they’re good at working with the team to ensure progress is made.”

The True Customer Experience

     “The most important experience we want our customers to have is that we met or exceeded their expectations, especially ensuring their cargo arrives as planned. The majority of our cargo facilities and ramp agents around our system are Southwest Airlines employees that do an exceptional job at this. Additionally, we continue to pursue self-service automation that allows our customers to more efficiently engage with Southwest Cargo.
     “Finally, something that I firmly believe is that our customers continue to place a high value on having access to our people to resolve issues. Whether that means calling our Customer Care Center, our cargo facility directly, or someone on our leadership team, including myself, we’re all here to help. This tends to be a bit of an old school approach in this day and age, but it has always been something I think our customers have appreciated.”

What You Don’t Know About Southwest Cargo

     “I don’t think folks often realize (normally) how much capacity Southwest Airlines has available for air cargo on a daily basis. We operate more than 4,000 flights a day (during normal times), on an all-Boeing 737 fleet to more than 100 destinations. And, with about 750 aircraft, we have a tremendous amount of capacity to offer.
     “We have a very unique high frequency, point to point flight schedule that offers significant capacity, countless routing options, and unmatched redundancy.
     “Our schedule and operational style is highly effective at moving cargo.
     “However, the primary reason why folks should use Southwest Airlines Cargo is our people.
     “We are fortunate to have outstanding folks that have a passion for the cargo business.
     “The vast majority of our facilities and ramp staff are Southwest employees who do a wonderful job moving cargo and providing hospitality to our customers 'below the wing', and we have terrific vendor partners in many of our small markets as well. Gary Kelly often shares that operating an airline is the ultimate team sport and I truly think our culture of teamwork on the cargo team is exceptional.”

Belly Up For Cargo

     “Generally speaking, the point to point, high flight frequency nature of our network allows us to excel in highly time critical items, especially in the medical space as well as other perishable commodities. We offer a significant amount of schedule redundancy and creative routing options that aren’t typical with other carriers. This has always been something that has differentiated us from others and that tends to attract some cargo that might otherwise wind up in an integrated network.”

Teamwork Is The Key

     “The success of our cargo and charters businesses relies heavily on many different departments at Southwest Airlines. None more so than our ground operations team, which does a marvelous job of moving cargo and managing charter flights. Thus, it’s incredibly important to be engaged and partner with our ground operations teammates throughout our organization to ensure we’re on the same page and working towards the same goals.
     “It’s also critically important we understand what challenges they face on a daily basis managing the fast moving, complex, and dynamic airport operation and how we can best partner with them to provide for a high opportunity for success. We’ve developed an excellent reputation for our cargo and charters businesses over time and that simply would not have happened without the excellent departmental partners, including ground operations, we have helping us.”

On the COVID-19 Pandemic

What do cargo operations look like for the next months?
     “Folks may have a little different experience in our cargo facility lobbies as we work to make our employees and customers feel as comfortable as possible. Our flight schedule has been reduced some as well, but all of our cargo facilities remain open for business and we still have a significant amount of capacity available to move air cargo.”

What Lies Ahead

     “Going forward, we’ll continue to focus on reliable and hospitable service, we’ll continue to focus on improving our automation to make our shipping customers experience with us as efficient as possible, and we’ll continue to look for niche opportunities to expand our reach. At the end of the day, it’s about customers and offering products and services they want from us.”

What has surprised you in 2020?

     “The amount and pace of change related to the corona virus pandemic has been surprising and even breathtaking. However, I have not been surprised by the response of our team in working through the challenge. Despite everyone’s world professionally and personally being turned upside down in a matter of days, our team has risen to the challenge and performed exceptionally and I simply could not be more proud and thankful.”

If You Missed Any Of The Previous 3 Issues Of FlyingTypers
Access complete issue by clicking on issue icon or
Access specific articles by clicking on article title
Vol. 19 No. 70
Bubbling Up After Everything Changed
Chuckles for November 2, 2020
Autumn Serenade 2020
Simple Pleasure Returns
James Bond Forever

Vol. 19 No. 71
What Became Small In 2020?
Chuckles for November 10, 2020
Are You Having Any Fun?

Vol. 19 No. 72
Easy to Remember
Chuckles for November 20, 2020
Brush up your Flemish
Hughes & TIACA
And Now for Something Completely Different
More What Became Small

Publisher-Geoffrey Arend • Managing Editor-Flossie Arend •
Film Editor-Ralph Arend • Special Assignments-Sabiha Arend, Emily Arend • Advertising Sales-Judy Miller

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