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   Vol. 17 No. 84
Monday December 10, 2018

Lori Lively and Claudia Steinke

Peter Gerber and Jan Krems      We all know that United and Lufthansa Cargo launched a Joint Venture (JV) earlier in 2018. Here once again is the overture:
      "We are excited about the customer benefits that will be generated as our aligned teams and processes deliver superior service quality on our combined capacities,” said Jan Krems, President of United Cargo; and "The Lufthansa-United Cargo joint venture will provide numerous benefits to our customers because our continental and transatlantic networks, our hubs and our fleet complement each other effectively,” declared Peter Gerber, Lufthansa Cargo CEO.
      So what else has happened?

Two Girls Two

      Well, stepping up to the plate charged with delivering on the promises, hopes and dreams are two smart, high-powered female cargo executives named Lori Lively, Cargo Alliances Manager from United Cargo and Claudia Steinke, Senior Manager Strategy & Airline Cooperations at Lufthansa Cargo.

Look for The Silver Lining

      Past the preamble, job one right now for both ladies is to see to it that this ambitious joint venture not only gets off the ground properly, but also continues its journey toward an inexorable rendezvous with greatness.
      There is something else.
      Both these ladies are enormously charming and seem willing to look for the silver lining in this joint venture.
      The way it ought to be, we say!

Travelling Down a Lonesome Road

      It’s no secret that many alliances and joint ventures have been less than stellar, in fact some (WOW comes to mind) with all the hope and hoopla take off into threatening skies and end up with a rude landing.
      But from all reports, initially at least, United and Lufthansa Cargo got it going.
      We gathered these comments recently in Chicago and Frankfurt.
      Sure, the positive nature of this report is here but there is also word up that some ground- breaking, possibly game-changing good is underway for air cargo at two great airlines.

Lori Lively & Ready to Roll

      “Engagement between the JV partners is solid, and operationally the cooperation is clearly benefitting our customers. There’s much more we plan to achieve, but we’re proud of where we are and excited about where we’re going,” declares Lori Lively.

Lands of Opportunities

      “United Cargo usually launches one or two new markets at a time, whenever the passenger side of our business develops a new opportunity,” Lori explains.
      “Our JV with LH generated numerous new destinations in Europe – we hadn’t opened this many cargo markets concurrently since UA took over Pan Am’s routes in the 1980s.
      “But it’s more than new destinations: the JV also creates new and more convenient connection options for our customers, and these expand geometrically with every new phase of the venture.

Getting to Know You

      “My biggest kick has been watching our two teams grow in their support of each other and their commitment to the JV.
      “UA and LH Operations, Sales, Technology, Revenue Management, Marketing and other groups came to respect each other’s insights and expertise. The breakthroughs came when we realized that doing things ‘our way’ was not the only way – maybe not even the best way!

Technology Makes It Possible

      “All aspects of the JV are equally important, but the shared technology developed for the JV is the platform that makes the customer benefits possible.
      “The IT set up that allows the UA and LH Cargo systems to ‘talk’ to each other is a major achievement – and something that didn’t exist until our two teams created it together.

Trust is Fundamental

      “The key to the cooperation is that we didn’t ignore or downplay our differences. Instead we agreed to make our cultural diversity an asset!
      “As trust, respect and friendship grew among the teams, we recognized this was the key to achieving what we were working toward: delivering the highest quality service to more customers around the world,” Lori Lively concludes.

United and Lufthansa

Work in Progress That Actually Works

      Claudia Steinke, Lufthansa Cargo’s Senior Manager Strategy & Airline cooperation is quite assertive when she talks about the new Lufthansa-United Cargo Cooperation.
      “The cooperation,” she says, “actually works. I think the reason it is working is because we approach our partnership and the JV related topics like an open book,” she said.

Great in The Market

      While Claudia is keenly aware of the drawbacks and pitfalls that other cooperations experienced, she cannot say enough about the prospects of this latest attempt at cooperation – underscoring right away that the set-up of these two airlines together is “great in the market”.
      “That the combination of these two global and local networks simply works for both our customers and employees, including all our flights from the U.S. and the Europe, is very impressive,” she said.

New Markets

      “In some cases, we have been able to double our offered capacity for the LH customer whilst opening up exciting opportunities to sell new markets.
      “For us, Hawaii is an example of great destination that is brand new to our airline, expanding our thinking of future possibilities.

Expectations & Market Acceptance High

      “We are monitoring continued high market acceptance from the customer, but quite frankly I am still still impressed that the demand even outmatched our high expectations from day one.
      “What’s more, we are hopeful for full implementation of our alliance ahead.
      “We started with a few cities moving together into bigger markets on a measured pace.
      “Now we are expanding the United and Lufthansa Cargo offering into feeder markets,” Claudia added.

One Plus One + > Than Two

      “The thing about this cooperation is that not only are we different, but we are both great companies with great cultures.
      “I think it is entirely possible that two different companies with distinct mindsets and cultures can combine, learn from each other and create a new math such as one plus one adds up to much more than two.

Lessons Learned

      “One of the positives is that we can learn a lot from each other, bringing together two sets of best ideas.
      “The key is to stabilize what we have in place.
      “Looking ahead as we move forward into 2019, we hope to enhance our standard offering by adding other products, and more,” Claudia Steinke smiled.

     India’s Civil Aviation Ministry has been approached by regulator Director General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) to ask domestic carriers to help speed up the process of flying out donated organs.
     Moving donated organs in the country has not only been a time-consuming process – often defeating the very purpose of the donation – but also an expensive one.

Above The Madding Crowd

     Moving donated organs from one city to another have been few and far between though intra-city movements have been done with the police creating a “green corridor” amidst the maddening traffic.
     Air transportation of donated organs is common in developed countries, but in India with carriers in the private sector transferring organs from one city to another is expensive, though the most reliable.

Not A Priority But That Could Change

     Adding to the problems are delays in transportation – simply because the donated organs are not provided the priority they deserve.
     As a result, they are not delivered on time and, therefore, wasted.
     The move to impress upon the DGCA came from the Ministry of Health.
     Keeping in mind “the time sensitivity of organ transplantation,” an official who was aware of the initiative said that the DGCA had been requested to ask private airlines to help out.
     The ministry hoped that the government-run Air India would come forward to help out in the transportation.
     Once the details are worked out, it will go a long way to save lives.
     According to estimates, 5,00,000-odd die in the country every year just waiting for organs.
     Take the case of kidney transplants.
     Around India 2,20,000 patients await for kidneys in a year.
     Of this number, only 15,000 are able to receive donated kidneys.
     While on the one hand, the government’s agencies have taken the initiative to save lives, on the other, the government faces a Public Interest Litigation on the transportation of mortal remain from foreign countries by air.

The Remains of the Day

     The Delhi High Court has been dragged into a tussle over the repatriation of mortal remains of Indians dying abroad.
     On one side are the air carriers and on the other a NGO.

Air India Rate Hike Gambit

     It all came unhinged when national carrier Air India put an end to the 50 percent reduction in fares that it was providing for the carriage of bodies of Indians who died in the UAE on September 19, 2018.
     Worse, the airline also put an end to the free transportation of bodies for the distressed and low-income Indian families living in the Emirates.
     Apparently, Air India was only following The Air Cargo Tariff (TACT), with the standard rate specified by the International Air Transport Association (IATA), according to reports.
     Air India had been following IATA’s normal TACT rates everywhere except the UAE where it provided a 50 percent discount.

Sinking Fortunes

     Now, with financial pressures, the sinking rupee and high ATF costs, Air India bosses some time ago took the decision to levy charges as per the TACT rates.
     Reports indicate that Air India used to waive off charges for distressed and low-income Indians – especially when the Indian consulate sent a request.
     Air India’s decision does not seem to have gone down well with the Indian diaspora in the Gulf nations.
     The Indian Ambassador to the UAE, Navdeep Singh Suri, was quoted by a daily saying that the embassy would help the destitute and be ready “to take on a larger responsibility and fill the void left by Air India”.

Advocate For The Forlorn

     In India, NGO Pravasi Legal Cell (Overseas Legal Cell) recently filed a Public Interest Litigation (PIL) petition in the Delhi High Court asking for an urgent hearing as well as direction for a regulation regarding charges for transportation of mortal remains of migrant Indians who die abroad.
     Said Advocate Jose Abraham, heading the Pravasi Legal Cell, “The petition concerns the exorbitant fee charged by airlines for transportation of the migrant workers within India and from abroad sans any regulation to the effect.”
     He said that the recent decision of Air India to hike fairs for transportation of mortal remains of the Indian migrant workers dying abroad had affected the fundamental rights of emigrant workers working abroad.
     Abraham also mentioned that low-cost carrier IndiGo carried bodies of residents of the Northeast who die in Delhi free of charge.
     His PIL also stated that a few countries, including Pakistan, Bangladesh, etc. have provisions to carry the mortal remains of their citizens back to the country free of cost.
     The petition named the External Affairs Ministry, the Ministry of Civil Aviation and the Chairman and Managing Director of Air India as respondents.
Tirthankar Ghosh

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