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Family Aid 2020
   Vol. 19 No. 68
Wednesday October 21, 2020
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IATA Cargo Message Confusing

     During the War of 1812 after The United States Navy defeated the British Navy in The Battle of Lake Erie, Master Commandant Oliver Perry wrote to his superior:
     “We have met the enemy and they are ours.”
     More than 150 years later NY Herald Tribune cartoonist Walt Kelly, concerned with man-made pollution and debris in our forests drew an early sustainability poster of his famous Pogo character picking up debris in a forest, with the caption:
     “We Have Met the Enemy And He Is Us.”
     I was thinking about COVID 19 and that caption, while reading the following press release.
     “CNS will focus on its core mission on ensuring that the CASS continues to meet the needs of the U.S. cargo industry,” came the terse announcement from IATA. The announcement confirms the veracity of our exclusive story from September 25 that by the end of the year Mike White will be departing as Cargo Network Services President and icon of change.
     By the end of September, the remainder of the CNS staff in Miami comprised Carmen Alvarez and Walesa Tejeda, who have already been terminated with small packages.
     So once Mike leaves, none of the CNS team will be left.

The Remains of the Day

     What will be left, as 2021 begins, may be in tatters when compared to the lusty dream of a neutral meeting ground for airlines and forwarders.
     And in terms of “Focus,” which is also the branding for the CNS Quarterly magazine, CNS Focus is now in question as well.
     IATA indicated a new president would be named.
     After the new president appears, be it man or woman, the title might be “Countess or Count de Money” as that will be the described function and purview of the new CNS chief as described by IATA.
     Make no mistake about it, IATA has eyes on the prize and is watching its CASS wallet closely:
     “CNS was created as an independent subsidiary to serve as IATA’s Cargo Accounts Settlement System (CASS) and cargo agent endorsement program in the U.S.”
     But let’s think about that for a moment.
     Recall that CNS initially took wing to avoid charges of monopoly activity, price fixing, and collusion in the U.S., as members of the airline cargo group met often, and the CASS system was created.
     Cargo folk would often gather over beers to try and put some fit and form in their various activities whilst trying to resolve industry challenges.
     CNS, for the money and the face time, was an ideal solution.
     That the U.S. government later figured out how to wheedle billions out of carriers charging price fixing, when one carrier gave everybody up, is a story for another time.
     But suffice it to say for this story, an entrepreneurial genius named Tony Calabrese emerged and advanced the plan of CNS’s first President, Jack Lindsay, with a new idea:
     “Why not work to advance air cargo by involving other stakeholders, including forwarders and airlines, in a conference to seek middle ground?”
     From that thinking the Annual CNS Partnership Conference was born.

CNS Innovates Growth & Cooperation

     The Annual CNS Partnership Conference grew and expanded under Tony for fifteen years.
     Now at more than thirty years, CNS has grown as a force for good in the U.S. and the CNS Partnership Conference has emerged as a model what a great trade show can deliver for its attendees and sponsors and as a vital middle ground for airlines, forwarders, airports, and others with its ongoing conference meeting agenda.

Cherry Picking CNS

     “Restructuring” CNS looks like IATA is cherry-picking the organization.
     By moving the CNS CASS system under Count de Money’s control (and moving what’s left of CNS Partnership Conference and agenda into an add-on responsibility for IATA’s regional U.S. passenger offices), the vital position of air cargo professionals like Mike White will be gone from CNS after December 31, 2020.
     Of course, by now you have learned that highly respected IATA Head of Cargo Glyn Hughes will also be gone by end of January 2021.
     Do you begin to see a pattern here?

Thanks, But No Thanks

     “Over the past several years, CNS,” IATA said, “has played a significant role in advancing the U.S. cargo agenda, with the support of the CNS Advisory Board and in cooperation with IATA’s Miami-based cargo team and IATA’s government affairs team in Washington.
     “As part of the restructuring, the IATA regional cargo team in Miami and the IATA Washington office will primarily be responsible for advancing the U.S. cargo agenda going forward.”
     What IATA doesn’t mention is that prior to insinuating itself on CNS, CNS was operated as an “IATA Special Interest Group,” meaning with IATA mostly hands off.
     In any case, big change was afoot when Aleks Popovich burst upon the scene as IATA Head of Cargo in 2005.
     Aleks the politician now serves as IATA SR VP Customer & Business Services. He is also among the legion of IATA execs that will take the package and retire.
     The first thing IATA did when Tony retired was change the CNS Board. CNS removed all industry members (airlines, forwarders, ground handlers, etc.) off the Board and moved them to an advisory board that has limited-to-no power.
     If you read the website, you can see for yourself that the CNS Board Members are all IATA bigwigs from various IATA departments.
     Incredibly, there is no air cargo industry representation on the actual CNS Board anymore.

World Cargo Symposium

     By 2007 when IATA held its first World Cargo Symposium in Mexico the handwriting was on the wall:
     Now IATA Cargo was also in the big air cargo event business, setting out on a course to monetize its mandated members-only cargo meetings to include a grand expo that invited global air cargo neighbors in for a look-see.
     If all of this begins to sound like IATA may be taking CNS down on the heels of the pandemic, would someone remember to turn off the lights before they leave?
     You’ll get no argument from us.

Now The Numbers

Jessica Tyler and Jan Krems     “American Cargo has flown more than 3,000 cargo-only flights since March and we will continue at that pace, meeting demand where our customers need it most.
     “We see this going on for the foreseeable future and are committed to continuing into 2021, offering global capacity on a mix of passenger-cargo and cargo-only flights,” declared Jessica Tyler, President of American Airlines Cargo.
     “We will have completed 9,000 or more cargo-only flights by year’s end,” said United Cargo President Jan Krems.
     United Cargo have featured more than 1,000 cargo-only flights a month since the COVID-19 pandemic began in March 2020.
     To say air cargo is on fire right now at United, AA Cargo, and elsewhere is an understatement.
     In Frankfurt, Germany, where cargo is king, the latest passenger figures for September 2020 show that passenger business declined by more than 82 percent YOY whilst air cargo declined less than one half of one percent.
     But it goes a lot further. In Miami (pax minus 65 percent, cargo minus 3.5 percent) and elsewhere, air cargo, while challenged, has not dropped off a cliff in any manner close to what has happened to the airline passenger business during the pandemic.

Chicken Little IATA?

     So, the cargo numbers beg the question—if air cargo is the big shining star right now, what’s up with IATA?
     Everybody understands that air cargo alone cannot unpark the thousands of aircraft right now. It is no secret that all of us, big and little, are part of a financial bloodbath in the airline business.
     And to be perfectly fair, there is no doubt that IATA, which supports itself with various functions funded by the airlines, is in an untenable cash burn situation worsened by the ongoing impact of COVID-19.
     But as we say here on the streets of New York City, why not play the hand you are dealt? With some vision and balance, IATA could strengthen your CNS and global cargo team membership by going with the business success in air cargo right now.
     The idea is you don’t lose your top people in a panic when they are the show; you show some leadership by strengthening and empowering organizations like CNS.
     When you think about it, IATA by its action or inaction sends out a negative signal to everyone.
     Like an Army properly fed “marches on its stomach,” by not going all out to support air cargo performing way above its punching weight, IATA has missed an opportunity to build confidence in an atmosphere where it already feels like the sky is falling.

Waiting For The Cure

Mike White and Glyn Hughes     Everybody now knows the airline situation is dire, with huge cash infusions and government bailouts needed just to survive.
     The fact is that it is probably no stretch to imagine IATA financials—minus what it counted on in business from the carriers—have left the organization in a pickle.
     But where business is good in cargo, it’s very, very good.
     And we will come out of this time.
     Things will change.
     We hope IATA will get woke and put air cargo up where it belongs, and we must not fear standing up and being heard:
     IATA, get off your duff and stop throwing the baby out with the bathwater—get busy and sell air cargo!
     That means keeping the experienced people around through and beyond this crisis, and strengthening the industry to bring better understanding between all aspects of the air cargo and logistics industry.
     Maybe it’s too late for Hughes, White, and others at IATA.
     Perhaps one of those all cargo professionals might go over and pull TIACA’s chestnuts out of the fire.

Failure To Lead

     One of the realities IATA must face is being perceived as an entity that views strong and knowledgeable individuals as a threat to power held by weak leadership fighting to control and expand personal kingdoms versus working to represent, lead and serve their members and the industry.
     It is time for IATA to empower itself in favor of building a stronger advocacy for air cargo.
     We need the distinct voices of leadership more than ever in 2020.
     What do you think?

Pogo Enemy is Us

Kari Tikkanen

     A shipment is ordered, the goods arrived on time safe and sound flown or shipped as booked, and everybody is happy.
     Only maybe a decimal point shifted or an extra zero took a reasonable rate and billed the shipper a lot of money.
     Maybe easy to catch for smaller shippers for sure.
     But what about the big corporate guys or perhaps the medium sized volume shipper.
     Believe it, in 2020 overcharges are everyone’s enemy and during these days can suck the life blood out of profits, even at times adding up to the difference in success and failure for some companies.
     Today, Kari Tikkanen having spent a lifetime in air cargo and actually retired for some years now, has found a niche occupation that by training and attitude he is well-equipped to do.
     Kari audits shipment invoices; he examines them closely top to bottom. Today, Kari as tracer of lost overcharges has recovered hundreds of thousands of dollars.
     But we get ahead of ourselves. 
Kari Tikkanen and Geoffrey Arend    We are sitting in the back yard up on a deck in West Islip, my friend for many decades Kari Tikkanen and I.
     Kari is an airline cargo guy that worked for 40 years at Finnair.
     I first met him at JFK International where Finnair operated its New York Cargo Terminal from a portion of (what else) an aircraft maintenance building, United Airlines’ Hangar 9 at the airport.
     Before his retirement from the airline 16 years ago, Kari had led the charge for air cargo both in North and South America.
     But he was also a key go-to cargo pioneer who worked himself from the ground up.
     “I began at Finnair on August 15, 1962 in Helsinki in the passenger department, then was transferred in 1964 to Arlanda, Sweden. My career in cargo started as Cargo Manager Sweden, when Finnair launched Douglas DC-8 Combi service on May 15, 1969 to JFK. In 1984 I was reassigned to Helsinki headquarters and then transferred in 1986 to New York as assistant cargo manager.
     “On the DC-8 Combi the cargo pallets were loaded up front. The Finnair first class cabin was located behind the wing on that aircraft,” Kari smiled.
     Kari hails from Finland where Santa Claus resides in a town called Rovaniemi up in the Arctic Circle.
     Sure, as he closes into becoming an Octogenarian at this time next year, age and years in harness and life have created some challenge.
     However surrounded by loving wife Ylva, and his daughter Nina and her husband Jimmy and a faithful giant Lab named Molly, Kari paces himself in late Autumn 2020, as he continues in the embrace of a wonderful life.

Long-Held Connections

      Kari was born in 1941 in Mikkeli, a town near Tuukkala, where Baron Carl Gustaf Emil Mannerheim, a Finnish military leader and statesman had based his "Pentagon". On May 1, 1942 Kari's father was heading from Mikkeli to Helsinki on a train when the Russians bombed the train and he was lost. At that time the Russians were trying to take over Vyborg which is strategically close to St. Petersburg.
     Vyborg is still referred amongst some Finns as “Little Helsinki” for its distinct architecture and local charm. Vyborg is surrounded, as is most of beautiful Finland, by elegant white birch trees and deep green pine forests.
     Once Vyborg was part of Sweden and later of Finland, but today is part of Russia after the town and some kilometers of Finland were claimed by Russia post World War II.
     Having just turned 79, today Kari could be the poster boy for how to plan and execute a long and productive air cargo business career, and save enough time to seriously retire and enjoy quality family life.
     “I cannot say that I am entirely disconnected from air cargo,” Kari said
     “I think about the years and time we spent building the Finnair brand

Kari Tikkanen and staff 2000

     “But I also recall the people, and without exception, remember that we did a lot of business but also had a good time,” Kari said.
     “The most memorable shipment occurred during the height of the Cold War when Finnair was hired to accomplish a complex and highly classified mission of moving all the electronics, computers, the whole ball of wax from the U.S. via Helsinki to equip the new U.S. Embassy abuilding in Moscow.
     “The U.S. State Department had us under special security clearances handle some very sensitive equipment and then move the shipments by armed caravan from Helsinki to Moscow.
     “The idea was that the U.S. wanted to make sure that the new embassy and all that went into it was secure and not “bugged” with listening devices.
     “Although the move was real cloak and dagger stuff, it also remained on my mind because that embassy was completed and opened for business on May 5, 2000, almost 31 years to the date of the first Finnair flights to North America.”
     We remember being in Tallinn, Estonia with Kari, as the local population gathered and sang songs in a park creating a movement that eventually brought down The Soviet Union.
     Kari led the way into Moscow and the TransRussia Trade Shows as that country worked to emerge from under the yoke of communism.
     The feelings of possibilities and genuine thrill of those early days in the 1990s walking around in Moscow are unforgettable.
     So it is probably not too surprising, that post Finnair, Kari, always a detail man who understood early that winning and losing in air cargo is often measured in how much you pay attention to the details, has offered his deft hand to an effort that analyzes airway bills and digital paperwork looking for overcharges.
     In fact, right now as 2020 continues Kari has turned finding money lost in the transactional weeds and mostly forgotten as a cost of doing business, into a way to stay a bit connected, although under COVID-19 the work is conducted from home.

The Finnish Spirit

     We have always admired Kari and his Finnish entrepreneurial spirit, and sharp wit. We have also during our many years together considered Kari and his dear wife Ylva close personal friends.
     While our story here is about some lives well lived, here is something that just happened last week, which relates to clear thinking in this pandemic.
     After Finnair temporarily laid off a large part of its nearly 7,000 workforce and its flight traffic was down 91% in September from the previous year, the airline removed passenger seats and built up pallets onboard its A330s and then the carrier stuck out its corporate chin to the world and declared:
     “What else are we supposed to do, go out of business?’
     While certain that others looked for options, Finnair spoke the words and did the action.
     Recently AY decided to sell its Business Class meal selection in supermarkets in a move to keep its catering staff employed and to offer a taste of the airline experience to those missing the joy of flying during this pandemic.
     “Taste of Finnair,” includes ready-made dishes include options like reindeer meatballs, Arctic char and Japanese-style teriyaki beef.
     Finnair Kitchen enters a takeaway food sales market that has boomed in Finland since spring after an estimated 60% of local work force started working from home due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
     For their part, Finnair and the supermarket hope the meals will appeal to people’s yearning for travel.
     Kari meanwhile says, “cargo is absolutely the right decision for a career.
     “I still feel motivated just as always when I go to work, even today forty years later.
     “It’s a people business with relationships amongst both the airline and forwarder community that have developed into lifelong friendships.
     “It is a wonderful life and I would do it all over again.
     “Kippis” Kari Tikkanen declared, saluting air cargo Finn style!

Contact Kari.

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No Retreat for Cargo Leadership

Cargo Pioneer
Kari Tikkanen

I happen to like New York

      “Took a train to Hackensack.
      But after giving Hackensack the once over,
      I took the next train back!
      I happen to like New York.”

  Once upon a time, up at the Carlyle Hotel in Manhattan, there was a piano player/singer named Bobby Short.
  No other city had Bobby Short, who until he landed another gig in heaven a few years ago, sang and beat the hell out of his piano nightly into the wee small hours entertaining adoring crowds for a couple decades inside The Carlyle Café.
  Bobby was so good, he lived to see a street near the Carlyle named after him.
  Today the COVID lockdown and over the top politics have scared a lot of people away from New York City.
  But I think the exodus, (if we can call it that) is largely amongst the bindle stiffs that probably didn’t get it about this greatest of all cities in the world.

      “When the undertaker rings my funeral bell,
      Don’t want to go to heaven,
      Don’t want to go to hell,
      I happen to like New York!

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Vol. 19 No. 65
Readers Write About CNS
Chuckles for October 2, 2020
Virgin Exportese Adds Milano and Pakistan
More Homemade Freighters
QR Cargo Lands Kirsten
Pandemic Delayed Dispensary

Vol. 19 No. 66
Mike White Stepping Down As CNS President
Chuckles for October 7, 2020
United Nations Forschung
Hong Kong Is Mr. Rogers' Neighborhood
Pumping Traffic
Welcome Back

Vol. 19 No. 67
Will CNS Be There When We Need It?
Chuckles for October 13, 2020
Air Cargo & Vaccine Distribution
Ready for Frozen Logistics?
Back to Life

Publisher-Geoffrey Arend • Managing Editor-Flossie Arend • Editor Emeritus-Richard Malkin
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