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?
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.
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!
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.
& 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.
“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.
“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!
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.
“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.
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,”
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.
“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.
& 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 + > Than Two
“The thing about this cooperation
is that not only are we different, but we are both great companies with
“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.
“One of the positives is that
we can learn a lot from each other, bringing together two sets of best
“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.