|Vol. 19 No. 59||
Monday August 24, 2020
|If you have any words you’d like to share, any of your own playlists you’d like us to help distribute, or other content that has helped you navigate this difficult time, please share them with us. Air Cargo News FlyingTypers hopes to be like an online hearth for our cargo family. #AirCargoCoronaContent|
Forty-five years ago we endeavored to create a publication unlike any other in the air cargo industry. I learned something important early on in our effort:
In order to have a clearer vision of what lies ahead, we must deal with what happened before.
So, the first order of business at FlyingTypers has always been to cast a clear line to the history of air cargo.
Now with COVID-19 touching every corner of the world and uniting the planet in a common experience, we thought the best way forward was through dialogue with the people who spent the best years of their lives building the industry, but are now in retirement. Who better to turn to in a time of rebuilding and reflection than those who made the journey before us? We are fortunate to have their wisdom to share with those who are doing the heavy, day-to-day lifting in 2020.
We begin with Jacques Ancher, who created the wildly successful modern air cargo structure at KLM Cargo, and Ram Menen, the man who began on the ramp with Emirates Airline and then for three decades was most responsible for SkyCargo emerging as a world power.
We also hear from Dave Brooks, who served as President Cargo for American Airlines from 1996 to 2012.
American Airlines is the biggest airline in the world in 2020. One need only look to the Brooks years to witness the carrier’s cargo enterprise unleashed as a great giant all over the world.
We find it reassuring that although all of these gentlemen put down their swords quite some time ago, like many of us their care and passion for the industry has not faded.
As we have often said and it is especially true here, for Jacques, Ram, and Dave, the song may have ended, but the melody lingers on.
Late night conversations often turn to people we have known over the years in the air cargo business.
Make no mistake about it: despite changes felt in most quarters of the air cargo experience, this industry is still all about people.
There have been a few people who have touched almost every facet of air cargo, even impacting people in companies other than their own.
But in all my 45-plus years in air cargo, there is one individual who stands tallest as a dreamer and doer, and, maybe even more importantly, as a great mentor in the air cargo industry; that person is Jacques Ancher.
KLM brought on ACMI lift as an originator of that form of transportation and positioned itself as the undisputed leader in several segments of air cargo, including live animal and perishables transport.
The driving influence for much of this was Jacques Ancher.
This is what FT Senior Editor Richard Malkin wrote in Flying Typers in 2014 when Jacques entered the TIACA Hall of Fame:
“Jacques has a remarkable ability to reduce difficult issues to common terms, and he sought to maintain a reasonable balance among carrier, forwarder, and customer in a wildly competitive universe.
“In negotiations, his was the exacting language of a businessman, not of the manager of a glamorous service.”
Now, as the world awaits deliverance from COVID-19, here is what Jacques said on Sunday, August 23.
I believe that the industry will do what is expected when the vaccines arrive.
It started all ready with the airbridge to Berlin in 1949, 1,400 flights in 24 hours.
And the delivery of medical supplies earlier this year.
In exceptional situations, the industry is at its best.
The problem starts when this is done. Short-haul leisure travel will come back fast and will continue growing.
The long-haul and business market however will take a long time to recover and it is these larger aircraft that the air cargo industry needs.
Now I believe we will be confronted with the lack of innovation in development of the aircraft.
Add to that the relationship with the forwarder, still keeping each other hostage.
More than 40 years of trying and yet there is still the backlog in automation.
The shifts in global production with 3D printers, the Italian accessories, etc.
Our clients and competition have left us and travelled out of sight. Apple, Amazon, AliExpress.
For the next ten years, I believe, the strategy is operating jointly as one entity: passenger and cargo working together in concert to optimize revenue and costs.
If people do not agree, blame my age or the heatwave.
Netherlands August 23.
Dave Brooks assumed command of American Airlines Cargo in 1996 and continued at that post for one month short of 16 years, retiring in 2012. Right out of the gate, Dave led the charge for innovation at American Airlines Cargo, making it the first U.S. flag airline to offer e-freight internationally. Today Dave serves as a non executive director at Saudia Cargo.
Ask Dave Brooks what he would like to see happen in cargo 2020 and the answer is immediate.
I would like to see active collaboration in the air cargo community on how to address the shifting goods distribution environment on two fronts:
(1) the effect of the emergence of the "e-commerce" business model which is emphasizing end-to-end piece-level shipment logistics with fewer intermediaries.
(2) Air Cargo should seek understanding of the trends that may lead to big changes in where manufacturers choose to set up shop and therefore where new air cargo hubs and logistics centers may emerge.
The worldwide acclaim for cargo is an absolute positive for the future of the business!
Now is the time to market the sector's capabilities to stakeholders: governments, airports, private equity, customs authorities.
Everyone's been jumping on the pharma bandwagon for the last 15 years. All eyes will be on how the vaccine is actually getting to the medical facilities around the world.
So if you know you're ready for prime time this is the moment you've been waiting for. If you still have kinks in your pharma execution, better to focus on secondary products like supporting materials such as vials, etc.
As 2020 unfolds, I can recall a similar eventful experience that impacted air cargo:
9/11, although the effect on the air cargo industry was the complete opposite from that time. There was a sudden increase in demand vs sudden safety-driven negative effect on demand after 9/11.
The lesson for when this happens again is the value of resilience.
The inhibitors of resilience are organizational bureaucracy, dependence on legacy infrastructure, and a tolerance for less than complete commitment to customer service.
American Airlines said the carrier will operate 1,000 cargo only flights in September serving 32 cities; a plan that began as an experiment has now grown exponentially over the last 6 months.
“We didn’t have a playbook. We’d never done this before,” the carrier said.
“We began to explore how much cargo we could take if we couldn’t transport passengers.”
“We essentially started our own little airline,” said Tom Howard, a manager at American’s Integrated Operations Center, who led the development of the operation.
“We had to build all of this out and coordinate how it flows with our scheduled passenger service because, well, we’re a passenger airline.”
“It’s satisfying to know that we are both keeping American in the air and keeping the world economy afloat,” said Dennis Fiddler, a customer service manager at American’s cargo facility in Miami.
“We ensure countries are able to supply others with essential supplies. Although it feels like our borders are further apart because of COVID-19, our team is able to shorten that distance during this time of need.”
Come September, more than 1,000 scheduled cargo-only flights will be accompanied by more than 1,200 passenger flights also offering cargo services affording cargo customers access to more than 2,200 flights in total throughout the month.
United Airlines Cargo has flown than 5,000 cargo-only flights since March 19.
Amidst all the bad news of layoffs and forced early retirement, Jan Krems President, United Cargo has demonstrated in vivid results what a dedicated, inventive and no limits, all out air cargo professional can do, given a broad canvas.
There are passenger freighters at UA today that have moved mountains, not just boxes, transporting more than 170 million pounds of cargo, including medical supplies and other cargo around the world.
Jan Krems, hair on fire, has shepherded UA Cargo into a 36% jump in second-quarter cargo revenue compared to 2019.
Cargo smart Krems is a super star of the cargo business, who deserves kudos from the industry for showing us all that “off your duff, you can sell this stuff” to a waiting world.
You’ve just got to have the determination and heart.
Krems, through a long career, first at KLM and then as top management at AF KLM, not only has shown leadership during his brilliant career; he has also been approachable and forward thinking, a real advocate of air cargo, tough, but also with the milk of human kindness by the quart in every vein.
Typically he credits others, saying:
“I’m proud of our teams for staying focused on our mission to provide high-quality service and to keep our customers connected with the goods they need most.”
Sounds liked corporate speak for sure, but don’t miss what this guy has done.
The great ones show everybody the way.
If You Missed Any Of The Previous 3 Issues Of FlyingTypers
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Vol. 19 No. 56
Vaccines Can Get It On American
India China Boycott Takes Hold
Letters for August 3, 2020
Good Guy Retires In A Minute
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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