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Summer of change

By John W. McCurry on June 24, 2014

The summer of 2014 is shaping up to be one of change for air cargo, with a spate of leadership moves and a major cargo shakeup at Delta.

Glyn Hughes, IATA’s new head of global cargo, seems to be a great pick to succeed Des Vertannes. Hughes, a 23-year IATA veteran, assumed his new post on June 9 and provides continuity in the role. He also brings a strong dose of passion for air cargo. For now, Hughes will keep IATA’s cargo initiatives rolling down the same path his predecessor charted. He says his mentors, which include Vertannes and former Emirates cargo head Ram Menen, passed along an infectious passion for the industry.

“It’s more than a job,” Hughes says. “We talk about getting jet kerosene in our blood.”

Collaboration of the industry’s assorted segments will be the overriding theme as Hughes pushes increased e-air waybill adoption and the trimming of the “magical 48 hours” from air cargo transit times. For more on Hughes’ industry vision, please find his interview on p. 26.

As our July issue went to press, we learned that Jan Krems, a long-time executive with Air France/KLM/Martinair Cargo, and before that, KLM Cargo, has agreed to become the new president of United Cargo. Krems replaces Robbie Anderson, who left United in early June. Krems has nearly 30 years of experience in air cargo and figures to be a great choice for the top spot at United. His most recent position with Air France/KLM/Martinair was as vice president Americas, and he was based in Atlanta.

The major personnel changes notwithstanding, the biggest upheaval of the summer of 2014 could be the re-organization of cargo at Delta Air Lines. Cargo is no longer a standalone organization, and with the retirement of Tony Charaf on Aug. 1, there will no longer be a head of cargo at the airline. The move comes at a time when cargo volume is declining at Delta. Cargo dropped 5 percent during 2013 and is down by 2.3 percent through May of this year.

Charaf, who embraced the nickname “Paperless” Tony Charaf during his latest two-year stint at Delta, is credited with making the airline the U.S. leader in terms of adoption of the e-AWB. Charaf spent two terms as Delta’s head of cargo during his 18 years with the airline.

The changes at Delta put cargo under the passenger side. Delta President Ed Bastian announced the changes in a news release on June 11. The news release offered few details and prompted considerable speculation about cargo’s future role at Delta. It will certainly be interesting to see how cargo evolves at Delta in the coming months and years.

John W. McCurry is editor of Air Cargo World.

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