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Family Aid 2020
   Vol. 20 No. 24
Wednesday June 23, 2021
Turnover Leaves Air Cargo At A Loss
Turnover Leaves Air Cargo At a Loss

     Just as many people in air cargo decided that enough is enough with this lockdown, and may have chosen in some respects to throw caution to the winds and attend trade events, or be damned, it might be helpful to step back a bit and observe that changes in the organizations that put up these events may leave them unable to recoup momentum to pull off a trade show or do much else in 2021.
     Start by wondering in all the mayhem of the last year and a half, who can truly mount a successful event in 2021 for an industry that currently is just operating at half of what it was in 2019.
     Right now, some carriers’ road-to-recovery plan includes realigning space back to passenger capacity that cargo people had utilized with those in-cabin cargo flights and all cargo operations.
     This has left some air cargo stalwarts scrambling.
     No conspiracy here and no coincidences either.
     Air cargo is simply, in some cases, going back to where it once belonged before it saved the world, and now is predictably taking a plunge in the eyes of some airline management.
     But we remain optimistic, because in cases like Air Canada adding a new freighter fleet that takes off this October; or the enlightened management at Qatar, Virgin, and some others that get it about the future; air cargo people are being heard, are supported accordingly.
     This year some events in terms of audience and revenue appear at this stage to be barely squeaking by on committed revenue that had been frozen in one place or another since everything was cancelled in 2020.
     As example, in the case of World Cargo Symposium Istanbul later this year Turkish Airlines, we hear, tried to back out of WCS in Istanbul (of all places), and was told: show up or lose your money.
     In the buy-it-now game has anyone noticed that in the air cargo publications by and large there is very little advertising from the airlines?
     But at the same time there are advertisements running in some of those “Official” air cargo event publications?
     What do you think that is all about?
     No doubt business as usual is unusual in this 2021 recovery year.
     So, the books will be closed on 2019/20 as event organizers, damn the torpedo’s and move full speed ahead, grab some additional 2021 trade show revenue from the restless this summer. This despite continued pandemic variant pop-ups and surges in different parts of the world, including Central and Latin America, Asia and elsewhere, that in late June 2021 remain under-vaccinated.
     But in the scorched earth path of COVID-19 there is a larger challenge ahead for air cargo.
     During the last year, the industry has seen quite a change in individuals from key organizations that represent the airline industry. Many senior people have left the associations for other positions. What is worse we have not seen anyone filling the shoes of these positions that are more important to have than ever for an industry that is in a state of dramatic growth.

Magical Mystery Tour of Associations

Liz Merritt     Elizabeth Merritt, Managing Director of Cargo, Airlines for America (A4A), which represents the U.S.-based airlines resigned after over ten years with the organization. Merritt was lead in many issues for the U.S.-based airlines with the U.S. TSA and CBP. As one of the most knowledgeable people of the rules and regulations airlines must comply with, she was a top spokesperson and led many important committee chairs that made sure the airlines had their say.
      Since her departure, James Van Epps has taken over as the new head of cargo for the association. Van Epps has quite an extensive background as he was formerly with Delta, Northwest and United. It is great to see someone with some airline experience in the role.

IATA Careens Toward Tomorrow

     The most dramatic change has been with CNS and IATA. It seems that their reorganizations have not filled several open positions but have eliminated them completely. In IATA’s global role there has been more of a purge. It has been almost six months since the IATA global head of cargo position has been open. Well known Glyn Hughes left IATA after taking a voluntary package and then joined The International Air Cargo Association as the Director General.
      In February, IATA Senior Vice President Nick Careen was quoted as saying that the position was especially important, and they would expect to fill the position with a well-known senior air cargo leader. As of this writing no one has been announced to fill this key position.
     Other key air cargo positions within IATA have yet to be filled and many have been combined, eliminated, or just left open. Even though air cargo has been a key role in keeping many airlines afloat during the COVID-19 period, IATA has also had to make some serious cuts to keep the organization operating.

Gordon Wright, Andrea Gruber and Shawn Beddows

Jumping Ship From IATA

     IATA has seen the Head of Cargo Border Management, Gordon Wright, leave for a position at DHL as Vice President Customs and Regulatory for the EU. Shawn Beddows who was Senior Manager in the same department as Wright departed IATA to take a position as VP at CT Strategies in Washington.
     Most recent departure is Andrea Gruber, Head of Special Cargo. Ms. Gruber, who had been charged with all the standards for live animals, pharma and other specialized cargo, will be a missed talent in the organization.
     IATA has dwindled their cargo representation down with many of the regional cargo manager positions eliminated. Asia, Europe, Africa, and the Americas are now left to a handful of positions that have been the face of the industry, yet IATA does not have much an agenda for cargo.

Concentration On Passengers

     At the end of the day, passenger issues are what the association is most focused on.      The airline industry is at a crux and so is IATA as to what they feel is most important to sustain the industry and the association.

Mike WhiteWe Like Mike

     One of the biggest losses for IATA was the departure of Michael White of CNS. White was known to be the voice of the IATA membership in the U.S. via CNS for over 13 years and was also the former Managing Director of Cargo for the U.S.-based Air Transport Association. His 23 years in Washington is not totally a loss, as his new company, Trade Network Consultants (TNC) is up and running, representing many of the carriers and organizations that have relied on associations in the past.
     So how about the other associations in Washington that represent other air cargo interest?

Alterman@39 Years & CAA

     One of the mainstays of the all-cargo airlines is Steven Alterman, President of Cargo Airline Association. The association represent carriers like Atlas, National, FedEx, DHL, UPS, and others. Alterman has been with the organization for almost 39 years, how long he will continue with the association is not known.
     CAA has two VP’s, Yvette Rose and Gina Zuckerman who play important roles and have a combined 41 years of experience with the CAA.

Michael MullenMulling Future of Mullen & EAA

     Another association is the Express Association of America headed by Executive Director, Michael Mullen. The former U.S. Customs and Border Protection Assistant Commissioner oversees the interest of DHL, FedEx, and UPS. The association is extremely focused on the interest of the three big integrators. The depth of the organization though is limited to Michael with much support from the members.

So What Happens Next?

     At a time when air cargo is in a state of change, there is still much to do to stay on top when it comes to issues affecting air cargo. In the U.S., there are upcoming developments that are huge.
     The development of the new U.S. ACE Export system, requiring all forms of transport to file their export information electronically is a major change in the way transport will do business in the U.S. Will other countries follow suit, and will the e-freight world go forward?

Security & Safety Top Agenda

     Security and safety are two key areas that will always exist. Who will speak with expertise and experience on behalf of the airlines in the future? Is the industry going to be represented by the associations they are members of, or will they have to do it on their own?

Air Cargo Looking For A Voice

     In this period when the air cargo industry has to adapt to the e-commerce world, which is growing at a much faster pace than was expected, will trade associations continue to be the voice, or not?
     Associations have been the voice for decades and there have always been changes in personnel. However we hope that in this next phase of evolution and development in the air cargo industry there will be individuals with knowledge and proficiency present. Only time will tell.

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. 20 No. 21
Ring Down The Curtain On Cargo Shows 2021
Chuckles for June 7, 2021
Pumping Traffic
Sky Electric Back To The Future
Listen! The Wind
Every Can Can
Hands Across The Table

Vol. 20 No. 22
PayCargo Firing Tip Of CNS Iceberg
Will IATA Take CNS Down?

Vol. 20 No. 23
125 Million Reasons PayCargo Rules
Chuckles for June 15, 2021
Air Canada Freighters Come October
Hit Or Miss Trade Shows
Pumping Traffic
No American Way

Publisher-Geoffrey Arend • Managing Editor-Flossie Arend • Editor Emeritus-Richard Malkin
Film Editor-Ralph Arend • Special Assignments-Sabiha Arend, Emily Arend

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