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   Vol. 16 No. 57
Tuesday July 11, 2017

The Picture Of Rick Elieson

     Rick Elieson transitions easily between a vocation at American Airlines Cargo to his avocation as a naturalist photographer. His dexterity in the latter practice is evidence to the depths and commitments of his passions. A magnificent collection of photographs, which capture the detail and force of natural life, should confirm his perceptiveness.
     Mr. Elieson took the reins of President Cargo at the world’s biggest airline earlier this year. American Airlines has surely benefitted from his bright and keen eye, which shines from his gallery collections.
     Photographers, we have learned are a special breed.
     While Rick was talking AA Cargo, our thoughts returned to something Ansel Adams one said:
     “When words become unclear, I shall focus with photographs. “When images become inadequate, I shall be content with silence.”
     Rick Elieson is a double threat—he gets the picture and can talk about it!

The Big Picture

     “I love the airline business—the complexity, the dynamics, the competitiveness, and the endless opportunities to develop and leverage technology. Perhaps, most of all, what I love is the experiences we facilitate and the impact we have enriching people’s lives.
     “We connect people and products across diverse cultures and help make business happen.”

Reach For The Skies

     “That is pretty lofty, meaningful work, and I have found that the impact we have on our customer’s daily lives, as well as on business and the economy, is even more palpable on the cargo side of the business.
     “Whether it is lifesaving medicine, farm equipment, food on the table, or the newest electronic device, literally seeing business in motion is a pretty cool thing to be a part of.
     “Most people probably go about their day taking this stuff for granted. I get to see what’s in the belly!”

Rick Elieson & Family

The 20/20 On Tomorrow

     “I've been with American Airlines for more than two decades and I can honestly say I have never been more optimistic about our company's future.
     “I have always loved the business, but being part of an industry that has reliably lost money—and to which long-term investors had an allergic reaction—was frustrating.
     “That has changed.
     “The U.S. airline industry is fundamentally different than it was just a few short years ago.
     “Consolidation has ushered in newfound stability. That's wonderful.
     “It is every bit as competitive and demanding, but what has changed is our planning horizon and our ability to invest in the future—in product improvements, technology, training, you name it.
     “The world has never been smaller. Traveling has never been easier, or better.
     “And Wall Street has noticed; our investor profile has shifted from speculators to long-term shareholders.”

The Best

      But that isn’t actually the best thing about ‘now.’
     “At American, we are trying really hard to change the way we think not only about the industry and our ability to indulge in long-term investments, but to change the way we think about each other—our fellow team members.
     “It isn’t an overnight job, but the opportunity we have to care for 120,000 team members and the lasting impact for good it can have on their families, communities, and the world is nothing short of miraculous.
     “I truly believe that.”
     “I am fortunate to be able to join the American Airlines Cargo family at a time when we have a team that is both devoted and aligned with this vision and performing so strongly.”

The Numbers

     “Despite the political uncertainties of our modern world, economic fundamentals are good and businesses are growing.
     “Consumers in the U.S. have been showing more confidence in the last year or two, but businesses had largely remained hesitant.
     “That has changed within the last year and with it, travel and trade. “The air cargo story has seen regional areas of relative strength and weakness, but on balance you can see that capacity rationalization combined with this improved economic environment has led to better overall results.
     “Certainly volumes have been up, and we are turning a corner right now with regard to yields.
     “You would expect to see demand affect volumes first, and then rates would follow and that is precisely what is occurring.
     “I'm not going out on a limb here—that’s what the data is telling us.”

The Smile You Send Out

     “I spend more time listening to my customers that I do telling them anything!
     “When I do speak, it starts with a thank you and ends with a commitment to serve them even better in the future.
     “There are a lot of good cargo carriers out there, and I am not always going to be the lowest priced.
     “But I am committed to being the best.
     “That means being reliable, trustworthy, creative and collaborative. “Superior customer service is the key to keeping your customers coming back.
     “And because I can’t fake smile, I believe the only way you can give that level of service is to have a unified team of happy and healthy people.
     “So that is where our focus is: on taking care of our team.
     “It is that simple.”

Why Trade Shows Matter

     “Relationships built on trust are important.
     “The trade shows I’ve attended have been tremendous opportunities for me to begin to develop relationships with a lot of customers in a very condensed time frame.
     “It has been really helpful to me.”

No Trouble With The Curve

     “I have a great team, and I have a lot left to learn.
     “One thing I’ve been pleased to observe is how much they care about each other and about delivering their best to our customers. In order to do that, it requires understanding their business and their needs.
     “It has been fun to see that caring and interest translate into collaboration and the identification of opportunities to better serve those needs.”

Industry Events Offer Learning Opportunities

     “I think industry conferences are designed to accomplish several things.
     “One of them is to foster relationships and create opportunities for airlines, forwarders and shippers to better relate to one another and understand one another’s needs.
     “The ones I’ve attended have accomplished that very nicely.
     “Other objectives are certainly to raise industry awareness of impending needs, to set standards, or to promote broader understanding of issues our industry is facing.
     “To be honest, this is often in conflict with relationship building because if I chose to spend time with a particular customer rather than attending a breakout session, then I’m depriving myself of the education that is important to how I think about the future.
     “And in that regard, the events can do better.
     “That is to say, I need to find a better balance.
     “I’m a big believer in continuing education and yet I have not taken advantage of the opportunities that have been available as part of these industry events.
     “We are all parts of a chain, and you know what they say about chains (we are only as strong as our weakest link).”

The Passion & Fun Of Life

     “I’m incredibly passionate about our team and the communities in which we work and live.
     “Rewarding your team for a job well done is not only important on a personal development level, but it also benefits them professionally.
     “We’ve spent a good amount of time celebrating our collective accomplishments (like Cargo Airline of the Year) with celebrations across the world.
     “Other team-building events, such as our annual Cargo Fun Day, also really help build relationships and trust within our group—which translates over to the way they work with each other and with customers.
     “At this year’s annual event, we did a giant scavenger hunt at a local venue (no, my team didn’t win—so clearly we’ll never do that again!), which showed how smart and eager this group is to do well, and have fun in the process.”

Reward of Giving Back & Sharing

     “We also regularly support and participate in community service activities around the network. We had several teams participate in a Junior Achievement fundraiser recently and we definitely put the ‘fun’ in fundraiser.
     “It’s great when you can see the lines blur between having fun and doing good for others. Many of our local teams really go above and beyond as a force for good in their communities.
     “And, as a company, we do a lot—like Stand Up to Cancer—that I’m personally invested in and deeply proud of.
     “It makes us who we are as an organization and allows us the opportunity to make a larger impact while keeping us grounded in what is most important.
     “This year, the Cargo team is sponsoring the Henley Festival in the U.K., where the organization works in partnership with an array of charities, encouraging collaboration and ongoing support.
     “Hope to see you all there!”

Chuckles for August 18, 2014

RE: Riders In The Sky

Hi Geoff,

  Many thanks for producing the article on the LGCT horses we transported from LGG to MEX, MIA, and PVG. I am actively involved in horse transport for Emirates SkyCargo and am working closely with established horse shipping agents to ensure we reach more heights.
  I wish you and your family well!

Wilfred D’Souza
Cargo Scheduling & Planning Manager
Emirates SkyCargo

RE: Air Cargo Took Off Above The Himalayas

Hi Geoffrey,

  I wanted to take a moment to thank-you for the article a few weeks ago on the inception of air cargo by the Flying Tigers.
  It occurred to me that some of the aircraft that were involved in that effort still fly here in Alaska.
  In fact some of them are based here at the Ted Stevens Anchorage International Airport.
  Sen Stevens was one of those brave pilots that flew The Hump.
  Today the airport that bears his name is a major node in the transpacific air cargo industry.
  I just found it very interesting and your article brought all these thoughts together for me.

John Parrott, AAE
Ted Stevens Anchorage International Airport

Hi Geoffrey,

  Hope you and family are well.
  I very much enjoyed the article in FlyingTypers issue of May 26, 2017.
  Would you kindly email me a copy of the “Flying Tigers Back Together Again” cover and story and photos in the October 1994 issue of your print publication Air Cargo News. Recall I organized getting everyone together for the picture.

Thanks and Brgds,
Fred Enfield (ex Flying Tigers, Fedex)


  We’re sending early congratulations to the Atlanta, Georgia, air cargo industry, which formed the pioneering Atlanta Air Cargo Association (AACA) 48 years ago this October 6, 1969.
  A diverse membership—including five women directors—drive AACA in 2017.

Hope Chavez, Lori Solomon, Adriana Trueba and Lynn Mertes

  Mexico City-born Adriana Trueba serves as Chairwoman, Hope Chavez serves as President, Lori Solomon of Towne Air Freight serves as Vice President, and Lynn Mertes serves as AACA Treasurer.
  Undaunted, AACA Secretary is Yannick Aube, CSM South East USA at AF/KL/MP.
  On July 18, AACA will host evening baseball, Atlanta Braves vs. Chicago Cubs at 19:30.
  On August 15 the night rules at a cool evening golf event from 18:00 to 20:00 hours.
More Click here.


Anama Directors
Agents of change… finally an awards ceremony with a clear goal to advance air cargo as ANAMA met in Milano last month. From left : G. Peleggi, I. Russo, M. Marzani, and A. Quaranta.

     A recent issue of FlyingTypers included a report on the Italian freight forwarding association Associazione Nazionale Agenti Merci Aeree (ANAMA), The Association of Italian Freight Forwarders.
     ANAMA was founded in July 1957. This August, the group celebrates 60 years of service. The big story earlier this month was The Quality Awards ANAMA delivered to airlines, individuals, and others at their Annual Meeting in Milan.

Anama Part Deux

     Beyond social and awards activities, ANAMA has an edgy business agenda, which was advanced during the gathering at the AGM in Milan a few weeks ago.
      But with “Quality Award” publicity and hoopla always overshadowing industry gatherings, the ANAMA agenda received short shrift and apparently was overlooked.

Marina Marzani

Marina Steps Up

      Luckily for all of us, there is President Marina Marzani, who right away took aim at a major issue, stating:
      “We need to examine a few general cargo airports and Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) to measure the quality of the Italian airport system.
      “Currently 35 percent of the import/export value of Italy is transported by air.
      “It is a fact that from 2006 to 2016 air cargo grew 18.2 percent.
      “In the same period, containers moved by sea have grown 6.7 percent and rail transport decreased 9.2 percent.
      “During 2016, goods moved by Italian airports grew of 7.4 percent; amazingly, in the first quarter of 2017 goods moved by air grew by 11.7 percent.
      “But despite these rather positive indicators of the air cargo business,” Marina Marzani declares, “Italian aerial gateways are far from reaching the performance of French, German, and Dutch airports.
      “If we consider that air cargo in Italian airports represents only 6 percent of the goods handled in Europe, while in terms of population and GDP our country represents 12.2 percent and 10.7 percent respectively, one can understand that this mode of transport offers huge growth potential,” the ANAMA President insisted.


Italian Transport Minister Speaks

      Ivano Russo, advisor to Italy’s Transport Minister, confirmed that a working group tasked with studying air cargo was created. Its aims were to identify bottlenecks and possible solutions to gain efficiency.
      Mr. Russo said that an official position paper would be published in about a year (by June 2018) summarizing the findings.
      “The aim is to systematize the different modes of transport so as to create a network of technological and infrastructural connections,” Mr. Russo said.


Questions & Answers

      Getting down to business, Marina Marzani pointed out to Mr. Russo and the assemblage some of the proposed solutions ANAMA thinks might help move cargo along faster and more efficiently:
      “Why not support a few general cargo airports, as is the case for other countries?
      “A national steering committee governing and addressing the Italian airport system could be created for Italy.
      “The offshoot of a national steering committee could also include creating similar structures in each airport conducting cargo business,” ANAMA said.
      There were also some easily implemented changes to cargo processes on Ms. Marzani’s bucket list.
      “Why not allow entry of the AWB number and not the truck’s plate in the customs transit document?
      “We should create a mandatory cargo services paper for main cargo airports, measuring the real quality performance of airports and foreseeing solutions (within a set period) when otherwise insufficient data is collected.
      “Moving forward, Italy should create logistic centers close to cargo airports, at market prices (and not at ‘airport’ costs).
      “We should avoid building cathedrals in the desert,” Marina declared.

Customs Not NIMBY

      Giuseppe Peleggi, Director of Customs Agency, declared Italian transportation builders need to overcome “NIMBY behavior” and instead create a better working system (NIMBY stands for Not In My Back Yard).
      “Ports need to be integrated and the same can be done for airports.
      “We need to work together to allow 24-hour operations in our ports and airports,” Mr. Peleggi declared.

Billions In Spending On Tap

      Alessio Quaranta, CEO of Enac, (The Italian Civil Aviation Authority) declared that he has great faith in the aforementioned working group.
      Mr. Quaranta also revealed that airports would invest 140 billion Euros in the coming years to enhance cargo movement at all Italian gateways.
      “This amount might be considered limited, but compared to the past it surely is a step forward,” the Minister assured.

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Vol. 16 No. 54
Gisela Imagines Beyond Air Cargo
Chuckles for June 15, 2017
LAACA Air Cargo Day
British Forwarders In Brexit Watch
Qatar Numbers Up

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Chuckles for June 27, 2017
Antonio Fernandez The Sun King
Riders In The Sky

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Knockout Airport Session In Orlando
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Quote of the Week: Peachy Keen
Stronger In Hard Times; Spark To Us All

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