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Family Aid 2020
   Vol. 21 No. 6
Tuesday February 1, 2022

Gianluige Aponte

     The news about MSC’s interest in ITA Airways recently hit the Italian TV, despite this being the period of the complicated election of President Mattarella’s successor, naturally taking the front line. MSC’s move is a big deal then, and it is in line with anything Gianluigi Aponte - founder and executive chairman of the Mediterranean Shipping Company group – has ever done. MSC had already taken the stage in the transportation and logistics industry by being crowned biggest liners of the world last year, just ahead of Maersk by a neck, and now: MSC takes wings? On January 24th MSC expressed interest to acquire ITA Airways, with the aim of partnering with the Italian government and . . . Lufthansa. Allegedly Alfredo Altavilla, president of ITA Airways, was informed about the move.
     As a forwarder you would think of MSC as a principal operator in maritime cargo, but MSC Cruises hits the podium of the international cruise industry and the group manages several port terminals, too. It is a big deal indeed, no wonder. I tried to imagine what was going on, before and behind the curtain. In my recent article about the demise of Alitalia it was relatively clear that the Italian government had managed to clear the way for a new agreement by removing the decades-old Alitalia legacy, which had always prevented any agreement with Lufthansa in the past.
     In an interview released to Il Corriere della Sera, the largest Italian newspaper, Mr. Aponte declared that, “We want to manage the company, otherwise we wouldn't do this. We do not want to be a ‘sleeping partner’. ITA Airways has an excellent management, which will remain in place. We will be part of the board of directors, through which we will express our ideas for the development of the group, i.e. the creation of synergies with our business, both on the cruise side and on the freight transport side.”
     It is therefore clear that Mr. Aponte has not thought about taking ITA over just in order to feed passengers into the ports where his cruise ships are docking, in Italy or abroad. If that were the plan, it would be a pity. There are many, many other synergies that one could think of in the integration of air and maritime services both in passengers and cargo. I am confident this is just another example of Mr. Aponte’s legendary acumen: many of MSC’s customers need air freight services as well as maritime cargo slots, if the ashes of Alitalia cargo can be resurrected within ITA, the alliance with LH will become strategic.
     This is where the importance of acronyms comes to glare with a new light: Luft means air and Hansa is essentially a guild of merchants in a German medieval town. What did these merchants do in the Middle Ages? They were trying to trade with Italy and, principally, Genoa, Venice, Florence and Rome. America had not been “discovered” yet and the principal trade routes were in the Mediterranean. Actually the acronym Mediterranean Shipping Company needs no further explanation and I T & A are obviously the first three letters of the word Italy, as well as part of the AlITAlia brand, but the abbreviation also suggests “Invitation To Apply”: well, that was probably what the Italian government was unwittingly thinking and Mr. Aponte decided to accept. So long as Lufthansa understands that this time they are dealing with something that they cannot think of controlling, and if they are available to provide expertise in return for decent revenues, I think the marriage can work.
     Without prejudice, and with great respect for the exceptional nature of this deal, I offer these comments.
Marco L. Sorgetti

chuckles for February 1, 2022

TATA Takes Over Air India

    N. Chandrasekaran Last Thursday as news of the Tata takeover of Air India surfaced, a strict media lockdown occured allowing only the p/r flaks to put the word out to the public.
     Here we get a glimpse, a first shot at Air India back in the Tata fold from whence it came.
     Tata Group Chairman, N. Chandrasekaran (left) met Prime Minister Narendra Modi to assure the deal, including the INR 2,700 crore upfront and the INR 15,300 crore debt and supposedly the several millions Tata is pledging on spending for a desperately needed makeover.
     Later everybody celebrated the Tata Group takeover of the airline, 69 years after it was nationalized, at Airlines House, the Air India headquarters in Delhi.
     “Tata Group completed the transaction for purchase of Air India from the Government of India,” the announcement trumpeted.
     The transaction covers three entities – Air India, Air India Express and AI SATS.
     Chairman N Chandrasekaran:
     “We are excited to have Air India back in the Tata group, and are committed to making this a world-class airline. I warmly welcome all the employees and look forward to working together.
     However Mukund Rajan, a former member of Tata Group’s executive council and now the chairman of an investment advisory firm, had a slightly different tone and was quoted in The Economic Times, saying:
     “There is not current institutional memory within Air India of how the airline operated under the Tata management. Bridging the cultures of the two organizations will therefore presten a major challenge in the short-term and will require patience and extraordinary tact.
     “The major value of the Air India acquisition will be seen when the airline starts to positively influence the brand image of Tatas in global markets.
     Rajan added, “it will take time and will need to be accompanied by huge investments of human and financial capital.”
     Currently, Air India is the largest among all the Indian carriers flying internationally.
     But foreign carriers regularly have a bigger market share and carried more passengers than Air India pre-pandemic.
     The Tatas seem to be focused on making the venture successful.
     Right now more than anything else, for the Tatas, getting hold of Air India is playing like a grand reunion, a rekindled family heritage and hope to bring back the Air India days of glory.
     The stakes are huge, whether Air India can capture international traffic, particularly the India-U.S. route that has been lost during decades of decline, remains to be seen.
     Today, Air India has a fleet of 117 widebody and narrow body aircraft, while Air India Express has a fleet of 24 smaller aircraft.
     In addition, AI controls 4,400 domestic and 1,800 international landing, and parking slots at airports.
     For air cargo, Air India has its work cut out.
     Though it ended its freighter operations in 2012, the carrier continues to manage bellyhold cargo and serve more than 70 international and 50 domestic destinations.
     But it faces stiff, modern and well-rounded competition by all the usual logistical suspects and will need to revamp its cargo products to woo customers in India.
     On that front Air India Express has been a bright spot.
     Providing yeoman service in the transport of cargo during the pandemic via its B-737-800 fleet, AI Express carries impressive consignments of fruits and vegetables to Singapore, Malaysia and a number of West Asian nations.
     In the last financial year, Air India Express lifted 14,000 tons of cargo of which 95 percent were perishables.
     AI is back at Tata and there is big talk.

JRD Tata and Air India

     Now die-hard Air India romantics wishing for many happy returns down memory lane to an era when people set their watches to the time an Air India flight flew over their city may be lost in our digital go-go world.
     But Air India once was the airline that Singapore scrutinized very closely when it decided to go global with its carrier Singapore Airlines.
     Can lightening strike twice? Will the Maharajah stage a comeback?
     Somewhere JRD Tata, a true and legendary aviation pioneer, who founded and operated AI, is smiling.
Tirthankar Ghosh

FlyingTalkers podcastFlyingTalkers

Sometimes Smelling The Flowers Is All There Is
Will Tata Watch Air India Time?

Valentine's Flowers

  In this COVID-19 (semi) lockdown early February 2022 as we receive Christmas card notes of greetings and good wishes that were sent in early December, we have been thinking. Based on the slowdown in the U.S. mail service maybe it is not too early, despite the snowfall, to think about flowers and Valentine’s Day
  Always a big part of Valentine’s Day, now less than two weeks away, we are wondering if space demand for floral shipments that always cube out before they weigh out will be severely impacted by demands to move vaccines and other stuff?
  Any air cargo force worth its salt would be loathe to cast away the flower markets anytime now as junk cargo.
  Think of all those reefers in MIA and elsewhere, masquerading as air cargo terminals.

SAF Petal To The Metal

Paul Goodman  “When it comes to planning for a profitable Valentine’s Day, “there are no secrets,” said Paul Goodman, MBA, PFCI, a longtime floral industry financial professional associated with the Society of American Florists (SAF).
  SAF based in Alexandria, Va. knows only too well the uncertainty facing florists as they struggle through the double whammy of both supply and demand after that group (joined everybody else) cancelling events including their much vaunted Annual in 2020 due to COVID.
  Now that group has set September 6-8 for its next Annual at Hilton Orlando.
  But back to looking to extend a helping hand and reassure the faithful, Goodman a well-respected money guy which as we all know is what it comes down to, has hosted SAF Webinars covering among other subjects including Financial Strategies For The Holidays meaning Valentine’s Day, often referred to as VDay by flower people.
Eileen Weber   But SAF is also rich in member-related support for each other.
  “There are those rare people who tackle their taxes the first week of January … and then there are the rest of us,” SAF said.
  “Valentine’s Day follows a similar pattern; without prompting, most retailers wait to order—an action that causes unnecessary stress and hurts your profit potential.
  “To minimize the last-minute-order blues,” Illinois retailer Eileen Weber, AAF, proactively calls past clients with a pitch that conveys “confidence and outstanding service.”
  To that we add, from an air cargo perspective observing how our shippers are going about their business right now can be educational and motivating.
Heather Waits   As example, with COVID-19 many florists have had to cancel their very profitable in store floral events with many pivoting to virtual happenings. Heather Waits of Bloomtastic Florist in Columbus, Ohio, who also teaches business strategies says keep beauty in focus.
  “As shippers of flowers we might want to share our love of flowers by also understanding motivation of flower shippers.
  “I don’t recall the very first time I heard the expression ‘Don’t forget to stop and smell the flowers,’” Heather confides.

Through A Lens

  “I have always loved flowers and blooms, their myriad colors and forms … and scents.
  “My love of flowers has stayed constant while the way I look at them changes constantly.”
  Geoffrey Dunn a professional photographer based in Canberra, Australia has flowers in the picture all the time.
  That is his picture of a rain drop on an orange bud.
  Geoffrey (who spells his name right) has many years of photographic experience, has held numerous solo photographic and joint collaborative art exhibitions and won awards for his work. Geoffrey learned about flowers as genetic markers, indicators of weed species, the passing of seasons, their rarity and their basic commonality.
  “The sound of bees in trees in Springtime,” Geoffrey said, and “carpets of riotous color beneath flowering camellia.
  “I learned their smells … I’d like to retire somewhere where I can smell the scent of frangipani blossoms … the heady scents of Spring and warm breezes.
  “Native Australian flowers whose scents pass into honey, bulbs, trees, bushes dripped with rain or dew.
  “And then I started to take photographs of them.
  “And sometimes I don’t see them, or smell them, or sense them … I’m busy doing something else, preoccupied.
  “Sometimes I sit and just watch them and think as I’m doing now about all the different ways I see them.
  “The day I saw my children learning to sniff their first flower nearly made me cry.
  My advice . . . don’t forget to stop and smell the flowers.”
  To that we add that sometimes smelling the flowers is all there is.

Michael Kelly and Geoffrey Arend

      Thinking about not seeing people we care about . . . here is Michael Kelly, Cargo Communications Manager who served at United Airlines Cargo reporting to Jan Krems, when Jan flew into town and blew the doors off The Willis Tower U.S. Headquarters seven and a half years ago.
      During the pandemic, Jan absolutely pulled the airline's chestnuts out of the fire with his bold and beautiful COVID plan that sent tens of thousands of cargo aircraft into the otherwise empty skies.
      Mike was an absolute professional in every sense of the word, who shared and enhanced the sense of excitement as cargo came front and center as the biggest transportation story in this decade.
      Unfortunately not all stories have happy endings or come out equal at every level.
      The airlines, as we all know by now, have had to stick to very stringent guidelines to be able to stay in business. Even today, as routes close, then open, and are in some cases closing again, making it necessary for managers to keep going up and down the line cutting jobs and contracting work out.
      Mike loved the cargo business and was someone that always made me think of The Hartigans and the Isrishry of United that once ruled in Chicago, back when UA operated that gigantic 10-story horizontal office building in Des Plaines near O’Hare Airport.
      One day I had to walk from one office to another, in that building to get somewhere. I think I was visiting Scott Dolan when he was the cargo boss there.
      At one point I had walked for what seemed like an hour, so I finally called up Scott and asked if we could meet halfway before I passed out.
      One thing Mike, Jan and I always did every summer was get together. We would have a session in Willis where you can look out the window down at everything, including some twenty five floors beneath our perch at another building, a city jail with prisoners in action exercising on a roof.
      But our get together allowed some face time at a big time airline, United, to build story lines aplenty. It turned out to be the period of the most exciting transformation after Krems got there.
      Today many of the people of that era have retired, including Mike, who the last time we spoke was still right here with his eclectic collection of great musical artists of the 1930s big band era and artists like “Whispering” Jack Smith and Dick Haymes.
      Once we looked for memories in a file cabinet or phone numbers on a rolodex and thought about friends.
      A break for a coffee at work would allow a moment to read a paper or an email as time moved inexorably toward the cell phone sending us instructions.
      Now our pictures are timed on our phones to appear as favorites in no particular order.
      I wrote this in one go just after this picture appeared on that little slice of electronics on my desk.
      Maybe you recall The Kelly Air Mail Act that was enacted February 2, 1925, which authorized the U.S. Postmaster General to contract for air mail carriage at three bucks a mile and that led directly to the formation of the U.S. airlines.
      Well move over, Rep. Clyde Kelly of Pennsylvania.
      In our generation, Mike Kelly delivered word pictures of what makes a great airline work and, he did it for decades with wonderful spirit and élan.
      It was also a lot of fun just walking down the street with him.

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Beth Mince

      Elizabeth (Beth) Mince, well known and popular icon of the international logistics industry died January 7 in Macon, Georgia.
      She was 56.
      Beth Mince began her career in 1984 at McGregor Sea and Air Services. She also worked at BAX Global, Atlanta Customs Brokers & International Freight Forwarders, Inc., Hellman, and SBS Worldwide, but she spent the majority of her career at A.N. Deringer, Inc. Beth served for the IFFCHBA, now AIFBA - Atlanta Intl Forwarders and Brokers Association in many capacities, including President from 2005-2010. During her term, she was instrumental in soliciting for the Port of Atlanta to be designated for Fish & Wildlife status, as well as helping to establish the Atlanta Perishables Center under APHIS’ Plant Protection and Quarantine (PPQ) program.
      Beth was very well-respected and willing to share her knowledge with anyone who wanted to learn.
      Her smile and laughter immediately lit up a room.
      She was a friend and mentor to so many, kind to everyone.
      Beth’s proudest accomplishment was her family, especially her three children and grandchildren.
      Beth and Jim were married for 31 years.
      Here is the thing.
      In addition to talking to a lovely, smart, decent, wonderful lady, Beth had the sweetest southern drawl that in the lilt of the conversation could make a single syllable word three.
      She would start almost every conversation with “honey”, “sugar”, or “sweetie” and would end every call with her heartfelt “I Love You”.
      Well, Beth, we love you too.
      Here an outpouring of grief as the logistics Community in Atlanta remembers Beth Mince.
      Pam Brown (Future Forwarding Company): “Such a beautiful person. Kind to everyone she met!”
      Yvonne Turner (John S. James Co.): “She was such a sweet person.”
      Lenny Feldman (STR): “ Oh no! So heart breaking. Always so kind and welcoming during my visits to see you all.”
      Joe Godwin: “A beautiful soul gone too soon!”
      Catherine Wilkerson C (former CBP Specialist in ATL): "There’s a new angel today."
      Lisa Brogdon LCHB , CCS: “Heartbroken.. Beautiful lady inside and out! I love and miss you dear friend.”
      Loree Headlee: “Amazing woman with a kind and giving spirit.”
      Jan Fields (NCBFAA President): “Such a sweet soul.”
      Gena Lawwill (Alliance Customs Clearance): “Thankful to have met her. She will be missed."
      Theresa Beaulieu: “Loved by many and will be missed by more than she ever would have known.”
      Donna Mullins: “My best friend; greatest supporter; and as we always joked, “the other half of my broker brain.
      “Beth and I ‘grew up’ in the industry together and we grew our professional relationship in to the best friendship any two people could have. She chose me to be Godmother to her children. Inseparable in life, it took death to put a chasm between us, but one day we will be united again. Until that day, Beth know I love you and you will live in my heart forever, your BFF!”

If You Missed Any Of The Previous 3 Issues Of FlyingTypers
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Vol. 21 No. 3
Think Sustainable Is Attainable
Chuckles for January 17, 2022
Winners In NOLA
Fruit Logistics Goes Bananas In April
Genius Draws No Color Lines

Vol. 21 No. 4
Sustainability Costwise & Otherwise
Chuckles for January 20, 2022
Good Numbers for AirCargo 2022
Women's Networking Event
Webber's NOLA Musical Interlude

Vol. 21 No. 5
Lady Liberty She Ain't
China Economic & Political Outlook
Chuckles for January 25, 2022
A Slap With A Velvet Glove
Rolling Back The Curtain
Mission Is Zero Emission

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