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Industry mourns death of former Hactl CEO, Mark Whitehead

The airfreight industry is still reeling from the news yesterday that Mark Whitehead, the recently retired CEO of Hong Kong Air Cargo Terminals Ltd. (Hactl), passed away in his sleep while he was competing in an ocean yacht race, which was one of his lifelong passions.

Mark joined Hactl in 2010 and, under his leadership, “the company successfully navigated a period of unprecedented change, while continuing its investment and modernisation programs,” read an official statement from Hactl. “Mark’s tenure as Chief Executive was also distinguished by many industry ‘firsts,’ and a host of industry awards.”

“I met Mark in 2011,” wrote JJ Hornblass, CEO and publisher of Air Cargo World, in a letter of condolence to Hactl. “I cannot recall an executive with so much energy, verve and vitality as Mark. He was always looking ahead, always looking to learn, always interested in refining and improving Hactl’s message and mission, and always in fine spirits. As such, he was a great contributor to the global air cargo industry, and we share Hactl’s deep sense of loss.”

Glyn Hughes, head of cargo for the International Air Transport Association (IATA), said Mark was “a true gentleman who possessed the unique qualities of being a great innovator and fantastic communicator.  His passion for sailing, his family, his colleagues and this industry were truly inspirational.  We extend our heartfelt condolences to his family.”

Despite his recent retirement from Hactl on March 7, Hactl said Mark remained connected with, and firmly committed to Hactl’s future development, in the new role of advisor. The Hactl flag on the company’s SuperTerminal 1 building was lowered to half-mast yesterday, as a sign of respect for Mark.

Mark is survived by his wife Rebecca, daughter Francesca and son Charles. Hactl is relaying messages of sympathy to Mark’s family, and anyone wishing to do so you may send a message to:

“From all of us at Air Cargo World and Cargo Facts, we offer our sincerest condolences,” Hornblass wrote. “We hope that Hactl finds solace in the great pride that should distinguish Mark’s contributions. He will be missed.”

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