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2011 year-end review, part two

By control on December 14, 2011

Karl Weyeneth

Karl Weyeneth: [Amid the challenges of 2011], we looked ahead of our medium- and long-term strategy and signed a multi-year ACMI agreement and upgraded two of our Atlas Air B747-400 freighters to the new-generation B747-8 freighters. They are scheduled for delivery in the second half of 2012. In the beginning of 2011, we also launched new, own-controlled flights from Hong Kong to Huntsville and Sao Paulo-Viracopos.

So 2011 was not so much about lessons learned. But the year showed us more than ever how careful planning and the speedy reaction of our airfreight organization to market changes are key to staying competitive in all aspects.

Crain: Over the course of the year, we found ourselves servicing more and larger shippers who have been more receptive to opening new relationships in an effort to extract more value from their supply chains. In addition, this market environment has also served to remind us that there is strength in numbers. And over the course of 2011, we had the opportunity to welcome six new strategic operating partners, which allowed us to expand our footprint to open new operations in Denver; Orlando; Tucson; Houston; Nogales, Ariz.; and Maui.

We can only assume that these market dynamics will be with us for a while. Our attitude and approach is best captured in the words of Benjamin Franklin: “We must all hang together, or assuredly we shall all hang separately.” For us, this means further expansion in 2012 and beyond as like-minded entrepreneurs continue to join our ranks.

Bandet: First, the current economic crisis reminds us how important it is to stay close to our customers and market expectations. As an airline operator, we have adapted to the declining market and adjusted our service levels to avoid overcapacity. After all, overcapacity is one of the worst economic handicaps for a carrier.

Present circumstances have also taught us the necessity of remaining flexible and agile in the redeployment of our cargo fleet. We must properly adjust our pricing policy while also investing in future technologies, such as e-freight, and envisaging new types of routings for our freighter fleet.

Crisis situations provide us with the opportunity to become more creative. But thanks to Air France-KLM Cargo’s and Martinair Cargo’s assets — a wide network, a young fleet and hubs at Paris-Charles de Gaulle Airport and Amsterdam Airport Schiphol — we have the tools to tackle these difficulties and work for better days.

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