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   Vol. 23 No. 4

Thursday February 1, 2024



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Mark Drusch

Doha, Qatar - “Qatar Airways Cargo confirms that Mark Drusch has been appointed as Chief Officer Cargo effective immediately.” This in Qatar’s Press Release: “with over 25 years in senior airline management roles, Mark is a well-known figure in the aviation world. His most recent role was SVP Revenue Management, Alliances and Strategy at Qatar Airways where he led the development and implementation of the company’s revenue strategy as well as managing strategic alliances with key partner airlines. Prior to joining Qatar Airways, Mark spent 20 years at Delta Air Lines, Continental Airlines and Lufthansa LSG Sky Chefs as Senior Vice President where he led the transformation in commercial airline strategy execution, revenue management, network planning and alliances. In addition, Mark was CEO and co-founder of e-Rewards and e-Miles, leaders in online panel research and online advertising.” In other words, we are talking of a man with a distinguished background, were it necessary to remind the public.
     As a resource, at times you can use the internet in an unusual manner. Doing so offers a fruitful exercise in this case. If you google the meaning of our man’s surname, this is the answer you get from Seven Reflections, which we quote literally: “You are strong in material matters, determined and stubborn. You have good business ability. You are a good worker, steady and practical, a builder who takes responsibility well. These qualities may bring you a position of authority and power. You are a doer, down-to-earth, serious-minded, reliable, and self-disciplined; have good power of concentration. Emergencies may raise your intuitive abilities in order to resolve conflict or situation. You become very creative under the pressure, and have quite original ideas to make the best out of it. You are always looking for a chance to do your own thing, to be your own person, and to have things done your own way.”
     Leaving internet fortune-tellers alone, we prefer in fact a business approach to Mark Drusch’s new role and job. His choice as new cargo chief at Qatar Cargo would seem curious in a way, especially as he has served in the passenger division as Senior Vice President Revenue Management, Strategic Alliances, Loyalty and Strategy at Qatar Airways for the past four years since December 2019, but looking a bit closer, Mr. Drusch brings more than 25 years in senior airline management experience. As we mentioned, he was CEO and co-founder of e-commerce ventures, and digital customer loyalty insights, which adds another layer of special credentials.
     As key to this cargo posting, we think, Mark served as a senior vice president at Delta Air Lines and Continental Airlines, where he led transformations in commercial airline strategy and execution, revenue management, route planning, scheduling, alliances, loyalty, distribution, regional carriers, and catering. Difficult is to imagine a more holistic approach to airline strategy than this and how Mark will play out for cargo at the airline in Doha – where the top spot turnstile has turned every so many years from John Batten to Uli Ogiermann to Guillaume Halleaux – is yet to be realized, but in this case his experience at Delta and Continental delivers a clue to some success story in the making . . .

John Batten, Uli Ogiermann, Guilaume Halleux

Jack Boisen, Tony Charaf     At Delta, where Drusch served in full dignity, we recall Tony Charaf with similar credentials as Mark, who moved over to cargo and managed a long and distinguished career as the top cargo executive for DL during 2000-2004. Same thing at Continental, where Jack Boisen served over 40 years in various airline posts, but then as top cargo executive, delivering fresh perspective and great product innovation in a long career that lasted at CO from 1994 until 2008.
     A passenger airline executive, with that special brand of flexible whole market experience for the past quarter century, Drusch is known for identifying and implementing new market and revenue opportunities, restructuring and transforming operations and most importantly achieving higher profitability.
     The posting of a former top Delta Airlines executive to steer the top Qatar Cargo enterprise is a development, and Mark Drusch comes most importantly at a time of major change at Qatar Airways. I recall sitting at a meeting in Doha with air cargo media many years ago, when there was some kind of dust up between the two transportation companies, at a time when Akbar Al Baker, the wonderfully outspoken CEO of Qatar Airways said of Delta Airlines: “They fly **** aircraft.” Al Baker fumed at Delta, but that was then and now is now, period.
     Now in 2024 the future of Qatar Cargo hangs in some part on a man that took many lessons from Delta Airlines, a good opportunity to take note that many pages have been turned and Qatar has managed to climb to a status of excellence, not only in trade and aviation, but in many other aspects of our modern life.
     In conclusion, as FT we wish Mark Drusch all possible success in this new endeavor. Perhaps this is the right time to bring the fortune teller’s word to reality: raise Mark’s intuitive abilities to resolve conflict or situations and become very creative even under pressure, with original ideas to make the best out of it.
     A man, a mission, one could say.

Mike Ganz     In a related development Michael Ganz who served 20 years at Swiss International Airlines in various roles, including four years in air cargo has joined Qatar Airways Cargo as Manager Regional Key Accounts Americas.
     Mike’s raison d’etre is international business development, B2B-marketing, and operations.
     “I am beyond excited to announce a new chapter in my professional journey and am truly honored to be part of such a globally renowned organization and look forward to contributing to the continuous growth of the world’s largest cargo carrier.
     “Grateful for this opportunity and eager to reconnect with industry partners as I navigate this thrilling adventure,” Mike Ganz said.

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The Late Great Alitalia

Red Sea India Challenge

Air cargo forwarders in India are worried about what is happening on the Red Sea. The disruption caused by the Red Sea crisis will, in all probability, see carriers raising airfreight rates any day. And that, at this moment, would spell challenges not only for forwarders and exporters but also the air cargo sector in the country.
     Yemen’s Iran-backed Houthi militants have been attacking vessels moving through the Red Sea. In fact, Indian Navy ships have been stationed in the region to ward off attacks. Even so, the crisis has not only seen a huge boost in container shipping rates, it has also forced exporters to cut down and even hold back on shipments. According to New Delhi-based thinktank Research and Information System for Developing Countries, India could well see a loss of USD$30 bn from its total exports in the current fiscal year. The study by the thinktank points to a Ajay Sahaia 6.7% drop in Indian exports, based on last fiscal year’s $451 bn total. Ajay Sahai, (right) Director General of the Federation of Indian Export Organizations (FIEO), has gone on record to say, that “in many cases, both buyers and exporters are also renegotiating contracts to adjust to surging freight charges”. Today, a 40-foot container from Asia to northern Europe costs around $4,000, a 173% jump from just before the diversions started in mid-December, according to, and rates from Asia to North America’s East Coast have risen 55% to $3,900 for a 40-foot container.
     The crisis has prompted the government to constitute a high-level committee to study and identify alternative trade opportunities from markets remaining largely untouched by the Red Sea problems.
Shesh Kulkarni      Though the Red Sea problem has not had any effect yet, Indian forwarders are readying themselves for rising freight rates. Shesh Kulkarni, (left) Managing Director, Noatum Logistics – India (Noatum Logistics is a leading supply chain management company with global coverage) pointed out that while the tonnages of air freight from India has not yet started going up with shippers shifting to air from sea, “it is important to see this in a larger perspective. Europe has just about started to open post-Christmas and New Year holidays. The volumes will start showing moving only in the latter part of February, as many of the retail stores have built inventory and their stock for January.”
     Keku Bomi Gazder, Managing Director & CEO, Aviapro Keku Bomi GazderLogistic Services Pvt. Ltd., said: “The disturbance in Red Sea maritime traffic hasn’t yet had a significant impact on air cargo, as indicated by the latest data from the TAC Index. Despite a notable decrease during the Christmas to New Year period as the peak season concluded, the overall Baltic Air Freight Index experienced an additional 6.6% drop in the week ending January 8, resulting in a 31.8% decline over the past 12 months.”
     Gazder went on to say that “the conflict, meanwhile, has created an opportunity for increased air cargo charter business as shippers and forwarders have looked at securing alternative transport for at-risk shipments.”
     Shesh Kulkarni was, however, quick to caution that if the Red Sea crisis continues, “the problems will be multi-fold.” He detailed them saying that the transit time by sea to Europe will go up leading to a rise in ocean freight rates. Consequently, “the demand for air freight increases will impact both the capacity and freight rates.” The picture, he said, “will be a lot clearer in the latter half of February. But for now, everybody is waiting—with caution”.
     Gazder cautioned that the ‘Red Sea problem’ could have significant implications for air cargo operations, affecting security measures, logistics planning, trade routes, and overall business confidence. He said, “Air cargo plays a critical role in maintaining the efficiency of global supply chains. Any disruptions in the Red Sea region could have a cascading effect on supply chains, impacting the timely delivery of goods. This could lead to increased costs for inventory management, affecting businesses that rely on just-in-time supply chain practices.”
     He also added that geopolitical tensions in the Red Sea region could well lead to heightened security measures at airports, affecting air cargo operations. Stricter security protocols could result in longer processing times, increased paperwork, and additional costs for compliance, impacting the overall efficiency of air cargo transportation.
     Additionally, security concerns or conflicts in the Red Sea area may prompt airlines to reroute flights or avoid certain airspace and airports. Air cargo, being an integral part of global supply chains, may experience disruptions, affecting the timely movement of goods and potentially leading to increased costs for businesses.
Tushar Jani     Tushar Jani, Group Chairman, Cargo Service Center which operates cargo terminals in Delhi, Mumbai, Ahmedabad and Chennai, speaking to FT, said that the Red Sea problems could see a small growth in air cargo. “The current trouble in the Red Sea,” he said, “will increase air cargo volume.” But, he pointed out, that “if the airlines increase freight rates (at this time), then it will become counterproductive.”
     An avid supporter and an active proponent of the development of India’s air cargo sector, Jani said that “the industry must work towards maintaining a reasonable rate to achieve good growth. This will enable the supply chain to remain more productive and stable.”
     He went on to say that “in 2023, India had witnessed marginal growth with the increase of air cargo throughput of 6.5 MMT. However, the growth has not been significant due to the recession in Europe and a slowdown in the U.S. -- both the European Union and the US are India's major trade partners. Indian imports from China have reduced by about 18 percent. India's exports to Africa have also reduced slightly. Overall, this impacted the growth of air cargo throughput.”
Tirthankar Ghosh

Chuckles for February 1, 2024

Chan Ka-lai, Wilson Kwong, Sai Hung Lam, Fred Lam Tin-Fuk, Dr. Johnnie Casire Chan Chi-kau

     In Hong Kong our Special Commentaries Editor Bob Rogers reports, it's all smiles as the Lunar New Year celebrations take off on February 10th.” In the picture at Hactl - Hong Kong Air Cargo Terminals Limited (from left) Chan Ka-lai, Assistant Commissioner (Occupational Safety), Labor Department; Wilson Kwong, Chief Executive of Hactl; Sai Hung Lam, Secretary for Transport and Logistics; Fred Lam Tin-Fuk, Chief Executive Officer, Airport Authority Hong Kong; and Dr. Johnnie Casire Chan Chi-kau, Chairman of Publicity Committee, Occupational Safety and Health Council lifted everybody as teams from nine international airlines took part in the Hactl International Forklift and Pallet Building Competition at the SuperTerminal.
     “Forklifts with dance moves accurately and safely over navigated complex courses were each given one hour to build up as much cargo as possible,” Bob reports.
     “International Air Transport Association (IATA) standards and other best practices were the rules.
     “An audience of around 300 watched participants from Air Canada, Cargolux Airlines International S.A., Emirates, Finnair, IAG GBS Cargo, Japan Airlines, MASkargo, Nippon Cargo Airlines and Qatar Airways competing.
     “Japan Airlines was the big winner as Overall Champion and won the Forklift and Forklift Driving Competition.”
     The Pallet Building Competition went to Qatar Airways.
     Said Hactl Chief Executive Wilson Kwong: “We are delighted to welcome friends from around the world to take part in our 13th annual event once again, after being halted during the COVID.
     “We are proud to continue this friendly campaign for our industry, and hope to welcome many more teams in future years.”

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Vol. 23 No.1
A Late Alitalia Tale
Vol. 23 No. 2
Can Cargo Tech Conversion Help Boeing?
Wonderful Boot?
The Man Who Changed Color On The Bridge

Vol. 23 No. 3
Saying Goodbye To Dan The Man

Publisher-Geoffrey Arend • Managing Editor-Flossie Arend • Editor Emeritus-Richard Malkin
Film Editor-Ralph Arend • Special Commentaries Editor-Bob Rogers • Special Assignments-Sabiha Arend, Emily Arend

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