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Family Aid 2020
   Vol. 22 No. 10
Friday March 17, 2023

First Sean McCool
Invented Irish Air Cargo

Ian and Sean McCool

     Air cargo great Sean McCool (pictured here with his son Ian) at 91 looks ahead this Saint Patrick’s Day 2023 to turning 92 in April.
     Well, we can certainly wish this great man and Patriarch of Irish transportation Happy Birthday and Happy Saint Patrick’s Day.
     Good to share that the green stripe runs down the middle of 5th Avenue in Manhattan ready for the big parade in the City that never sleeps, where on March 17th everybody’s Irish!
     Sean, now as a retired “non-voting” CEO of International Airline Marketing Limited, (IAM) the company he created is not only a remarkable story in the history of transportation in Ireland, but also of the world.
     Sean has been somewhere in the mix for air cargo in Ireland for the past 70 years and some of those years included time he spent with his good friend, the late Richard Malkin, and others making the case for the formation of Shannon Airport itself.
     There-in lies a wee bit of a wow factor!
Sean McCool, Richard Malkin and Brendan O'Regan

     Sean is rightfully honored universally as one of the true pioneers, thinkers and acheivers in the history of Irish air transportation.
     Today son, Ian who serves as Managing Director of IAM shines through guiding the company to new heights with an offering that although situate in a compact market, has gained global admiration for its service, with imagination, and a caring, yet professional style that obviously runs in the family.
     In 2023, IAM serves American Airlines, Etihad, Air Canada and All Nippon Airways, to name but a few.    
     “IAM is Ireland’s largest Air Cargo General Sales and Service Agent (GSSA), responsible for overall about a quarter of all airfreight traffic from Ireland.
     “Ireland is a remote Island state on the outskirts of Europe. It is a 17 hour ferry journey to Continental Europe. Thus the importance of air connectivity is key.
Ireland is now the only country in the EU with English as its first language. Ireland is in a unique position in the world. It is a key part of one of the largest markets in the world, the European Union and has very strong/long standing business/political connections with the U.S.
     “What makes Ireland so attractive is that both Dublin and Shannon offer preclearance to the U.S. Currently there are 770 US multinational companies based in Ireland. 12.6% of all U.S. FDI to Europe comes to Ireland. With these numbers and the global trend looking at near-shoring, Ireland is well placed to increase its already strong position as one the leading countries of US FDI in Europe and the world.
     “Our GSSA fits in beautifully in Ireland where during the pandemic exports of pharmaceuticals were crucial,” Ian said.
     “The Irish market is slightly different to many other European markets with a large percentage of the market coming from the Pharma sector and requiring special handling, care and attention.
     “For us, as the face of the airlines we never forget how important our customers are.
     “We hold our market based on service, period.
     “It is top-class service otherwise, we cannot survive.”
     Delivering no excuse service as the best excuse father to son, the IAM team continues to energize between 22% and 30% of the air export market from Ireland.
     “We have a lot of work ahead this year,” Ian declared, “with a schedule ahead of pre-Covid levels with our wide body capacity as well as a number of key narrow body European destinations served from DUB.
     “Although there is a lot of uncertainty as to what 2023 has in store for the industry, we are very optimistic.
     “Our capacity goes from 19 widebodies to 49 widebodies per week plus the re-start of a number on niche narrow body routes ex DUB. The year started well with average January and then our busiest February ever, with limited capacity.
     “IAM has also started working with a number of airlines partners offering unique capacity ex the UK and Continental Europe. Most of our partner carriers we truck to in LHR, are close to getting back to pre-covid levels of flying and are working closely with us to build on their previous market share levels,” Ian said.
     The overall air cargo market from Ireland has changed dramatically over the last three years.

Total Air exports from Ireland, excluding integrators:
2019 63,670,000 kgs
2020 47,100,000 kgs
2021 48,100,000 kgs
2022 55,200,000 kgs

     Industry pundits are using terms like fragile and uncertain to describe the market. Those seem to ring clear. Global inventory levels remain high and demand has slowed. Sea freight congestion/delays have eased. Internationally Covid restrictions have all ceased and there is increased air capacity. Inflation and interest rates remain high. The war in Ukraine shows no sign of settlement and there are other regions of political unrest. Add to that global warming and related weather disruptions. Overall, the perfect storm for a slow market.
     “Supply and demand is a key economic factor in every industry. Increased supply and decreased demand tends to result in reduced prices. As an industry we have to be agile and manage the ever-changing market conditions.
     “The one thing that Covid times have taught us is the importance of good relationships, quality and reliability of service,” Ian reiterated.
     “We are noticing some increases in products now moving by air that we had not seen during the restricted capacity/high yield period of Covid.
     “As market rates soften, the volumes of more general cargo show indications of increasing.
     “We are also seeing that as a result of the role cargo played during the Covid crisis that the input of the cargo department within most airlines remains a key influence on route elevation.
     “Airport authorities also continue to engage with the air cargo community as they now realize the importance of this sector to not just the airport authority, but also the potential economic development and expansion of a city or territory.
     “Industry organizations and aviation industry leaders have a role to play in assuring that cargo continues to have a say,” Ian said, adding:
     “Air Cargo got its place at the top table for the first time in many years, so bravo to those industry leaders who realize what a long journey it is to where we are today whilst securing a future with air cargo evolving on all fronts including partnerships and cooperations, customer services, digitalization and sustainability.”

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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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