ACE Awards 2018: Specializing in Excellence

It can be said now that 2017 was one of the longest periods of sustained growth for air cargo demand. The 9.2 percent average rise in total freight tonne kilometers worldwide, according to IATA, was the greatest surge since the brief post-recession correction in 2010 and has been credited with raising the fortunes of virtually every air-cargo company.

But while e-commerce is ensuring that the increase in air cargo demand is now exceeding capacity growth and reversing the trend of overcapacity seen in recent years, it does not reflect the quality of service that is being provided every day to the end customers. That’s where the Air Cargo Excellence (ACE) Awards come in.

Since 2005, the ACE Awards are determined from the results of the exclusive, anonymous Air Cargo Excellence survey that is carried out annually by Air Cargo World. The survey evaluates cargo carriers and airports and ranks each one with indexed numerical scores, based on several performance factors. With an index score of 100 being the baseline, the airports and carriers are rated based on how far above or below that baseline their overall scores ended up.

So, while 2017 has been a stellar year in terms of traffic and revenues, this is not necessarily reflected in the ACE Awards, which focus almost entirely on customer satisfaction. There are many cases where a carrier or an airport enjoying record business and profits in a given year ends up languishing near the bottom because they did not provide stellar service to forwarders or agents. This year, as we did last year, we added a criterion of “specialty cargo” handling to give some facilities a bonus if they excel at handling large, heavy, bulky or high-value goods.

Carriers were evaluated by freight forwarders, who were asked to give a numerical rating for customer service, performance and value over the previous 12 months. Airports, however, were judged by forwarders, cargo agents and third-party logistics providers on each airport’s performance, value and facilities for the same time period. (To see more on the methodology, please visit

The top three performers in each category were awarded Diamond, Platinum and Gold status. Congratulations were also given to all carriers and airports that received an above-average ACE index score. Those that scored above the 100-point baseline, but less than the Diamond, Platinum and Gold levels, were given an ACE Certificate of Excellence.

All told, there are 15 awards, 19 certificates and 7 special mentions being recognized this year. How did your favorite carrier or airport do? Let’s take a look at the results.

ACE Awards 2018:

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