|Vol. 20 No. 34||
Tuesday September 7, 2021
Laurent Bernet, a genuinely lovely human being and a great pioneer of air cargo in France and beyond, died on July 7 in Paris; he had been battling cancer for the past decade.
“Laurent was a lovely man and a great colleague,” said United Cargo President Jan Krems, “For sure we miss him.”
“Laurent was not a dreamer, he lived in the 'now'”, said Jacques Leijssenaar, United Cargo Vice President Cargo Sales EMEIA, based in Amsterdam.
“He also lived and enjoyed his life to the max and when he talked about his family, he got that nice twinkle in his eyes.
“His positive attitude and shining personality will forever bring a smile to our faces.
“Most recently, Laurent served as Regional Manager Outside Sales EMEIA.
“As a people manager, Laurent always made taking care of his team members a priority. He did always challenge them, but with respect and encouragement, always protecting them and their decisions.
“This respect was mutual since he was always able to explain his point of view and he was never afraid to change his mind,” Jacques Leijssenaar concluded.
. “The reason I love what I do is the people I connect with,” Laurent told me one afternoon as we sank a bottle of wine in a small elegant garden in Paris.
“Moving from what's familiar to places yet to be discovered—that’s what I appreciate about being in the airline business.
“Keep it simple” was a recurring theme as Laurent revealed his deep-seated love for the logistics industry.
“I love cargo, because this business is an ever-challenging game.
“The core of what we sell is customer service. I realize this isn’t rocket science, but still, you always have to be your best,” Laurent said.
“The fundamentals are having respect for and listening to your customer.”
Laurent was a fixture at United Airlines Cargo for 27 years and had served as France Cargo Sales Manager.
But Laurent also had a balanced, well-rounded career working both sides of the Atlantic; first at Fritz, where he did an internship in 1992, before joining United Cargo.
It turns out that during his formative years in air cargo, Laurent served as a Cargo Account Executive at United’s critical major global hub in Chicago, Illinois.
“I wanted to work for the airlines. In 1994, I had a meeting scheduled with the United Cargo Manager in CDG, but he had to cancel that appointment due to a strike.
“So I came to the U.S. and applied for a job with United’s passenger service team.
“I took a test to prove I was fluent in French (smiles all around) and was accepted at an hourly rate of $7.25 when I joined the ‘Friendly Skies’ in December 1994.”
The rest, as they say, is history.
Laurent Bernet lived in Paris with his wife, Annare and two daughters, Fiona and Emily.
I asked him what his priorities in life were and his answer was quite clear and characteristically French:
“Love, family, good food, travel and job satisfaction,” he smiled.
I loved that Laurent Bernet’s outwardly spirited approach was genuine, coming from deep within.
Laurent was battling cancer and had survived a harrowing automobile accident in 1998.
But by any measure, Laurent had a life well lived.
As we departed he looked at me and smiled saying:
“Learn from other sources,” Laurent said softly.
“Never forget that people make all the difference.
“Keep your word, and never promise what you can’t deliver.
“But sometimes you have to say no, and that is difficult.
“Whether you say no or yes, in the end the secret is trust,” Laurent Bernet said.
Rest in peace, wonderful and dear Laurent.
Geoffrey and Sabiha
Airlines Might Cease To Exist, Says International Air Transport Association (IATA)'s Willie Walsh.
With Brandon Fried Head of the U.S. based The Airforwarders Association Association (l) is Willie Walsh, Director General of IATA as the Cargo Network Services Corp. (CNS) Partnership Conference in Miami took off early shortly after sunrise Monday August 30 for a half hour meeting on stage from 08:10 to 08:40.
The encounter was definitely the drawing card for CNS although anyone that stayed up late or skipped the light breakfast may have missed the live meeting.
What could be more dynamic than the legend at the top of IATA that everybody wants to know about with the most iconic broad-based personality in air cargo? Brandon Fried is fearless:
He will talk to anybody and he knows everybody!
Here are a couple of highlights From Willie Walsh:
On Air Cargo: “I can say this and say it honestly, and you can talk to the people who've worked for me. I've always had an appreciation for the contribution that cargo makes, because, you know, I understand.”
On Survival of Airlines: “We've got to hammer home with governments that if they want an effective airline & cargo industry, they're going to have get together and agree on common standards and regulations; there should be a common agenda to work together to try and keep people moving.
“We're going to face it (shutdown) again, it's inevitable that we'll face this situation again with governments around the world saying, okay, we're shutting down.
“We really do need to get out there and get the message across that the industry will not exist if we go through this again.”
Report from Jan Krems, President United Cargo: “The United team four strong is Live at CNS,” Jan declared.
“Positive mood and conversation all around. It's very good to see industry colleagues face to face once again,” he assured with two thumbs up.
Problems Began Long Before COVID-19
Here Bill, (second from left in photo), who is a TIACA Hall of Fame inductee and was awarded The Medal of Freedom by the U.S. Government for his work in developing logistics in Iraq saving thousands of American lives, offers a bit of perspective based on more than a half century of experience.
“The U.S. passenger carriers’ main strategy has been to be the biggest and have the highest market share.
“Their schedules and their frequent flyer games were based on that, their growth plans ensured they had resources, capacity and flights as needed on each route at different times, so their frequent flyer customers never had to use another airline. Cargo was considered a by-product in the end. This strategy only works when the economy is flourishing.
“With declining figures, carriers cannot shed their fixed costs, and start suffering.
“New, lower cost carriers enter the market: a situation we have often seen over the past 50 years, roughly in 10-year cycles.
“With lower profit margins than other industries, airlines have never been a good long-term stock buy.
“Bob Crandall, the former chairman and president of American Airlines had a sign on his desk which said: ‘If God meant people to fly, he would have made it profitable’.
“Bob Baker, who ran the successful operation at AA, felt that airlines had a hard time to show a good long-term profitability because of their unions, but I believe that the problem was not the unions as much as the airlines just had the wrong long-term strategy at that time.”
Still quite active with military transport, Bill’s interview in its entirety will appear in Air Cargo News FlyingTypers September 21.
Celebrating National Aviation Day last month brought to mind a story to share.
In the U.S. National Aviation Day is celebrated on August 19. President Franklin Delano Roosevelt established the holiday in 1939. Here FDR is pictured in Dayton, Ohio with Orville Wright after he issued a Presidential proclamation, designating the anniversary of Wright’s birthday (August 19) to be National Aviation Day.
Orville was the business head of the famous Wright Brothers who first flew at Kitty Hawk in 1903 and changed the world with that first flight. After Orville donated the tiny bi-plane aircraft to the Smithsonian Museum and later Charles Lindbergh gave his Spirit of St Louis Ryan aircraft to Paul Garber at the Smithsonian, the museum displayed both aircraft for years above a case of model airplanes at the original Smithsonian in one of those beautiful pink buildings in Washington, D.C.
By and by as crowds gathered and the display case enlarged with more airplane models, the Museum discovered that over a million people a year were coming to see two airplanes and a bunch of airplane models under glass.
From that small beginning NASM, the National Air & Space Museum was born.
Today NASM is a top Washington attraction in a town of many museums, eclipsing even the original Smithsonian in attendance numbers.
And when they moved the historic aircraft to a place of pride in the main display area of NASM, so too came the models of all the aircraft.
I used to see those models like old friends and spend time gazing at them in their case upstairs on the same floor as the NASM research library, whilst researching projects or visiting my friend NASM Curator of Air Transport, the late, great, REG Davies (pictured here with me).
Look forward to the time when once again can wonder as I wander NASM aircraft like Frank Hawks HM-1 aerial speedster “Time Flies”. Advancing age and COVID-19 has taught me, it sure do!
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20 No. 31
Get Off Your Duff & Sell The Stuff
Can We Releye On New Envirotainer?
Chuckles for August 11, 2021
High Flying Air Canada
Pumping Traffic for August 11, 2021
Report From the Chairman
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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