The top vote-getter in the Large Carrier category (1 million tonnes of cargo handled and up) came as little surprise: Cathay Pacific Airways, which was a Platinum Award winner last year, won the Diamond Award this year.
A spokesperson from Cathay Pacific Cargo said 2017 was the strongest year for growth in airfreight demand since 2010, led by the double-digit growth of the carrier’s intra-Asia lanes. Last year, Cathay Pacific also became the first airline in Hong Kong to be awarded IATA’s CEIV-Pharma certification, and it also formed a strategic partnership with Atlas Air from June 2017 to provide additional capacity.
The Platinum Award winner in the Large Carrier category was also a familiar name – Lufthansa, which rose up from its Certificate of Excellence level last year. The Lufthansa Group achieved record-breaking results in 2017, with total revenues up 12.4 percent to €35.6 billion. “We expect substantial earnings with regard to our product and service portfolio,” said Lufthansa Cargo CEO Peter Gerber, regarding future growth in 2018. The German carrier also made waves when it said it will start charging €12 for processing paper-based air waybills (AWB) as of this month.
A resurgent Air France-KLM also made it back to the awards category, after a notably long absence, with a 102-point overall score and a Gold Award. Cargo traffic at AF-KLM grew by 1.8 percent in 2017, driven by demand to and from Asia, the carrier said.
For the Smaller Category carriers (up to 999,999 tonnes), there were more familiar names such as perennial customer favorite Southwest Airlines taking back the Diamond Award with the highest overall score of all the carriers, 113 points. This year is expected to be notable for Southwest, which launched its new point-of-sale system last month, called Southwest Cargo Suite (SCS), and will begin international cargo service for the first time in the carrier’s history in May. “This system will replace a much older system from the 1990s, so for that reason alone, it’s exciting,” said Wally Devereaux, senior director of cargo and charters at Southwest.
Air Canada, which scored a Gold Award last year, won a Platinum Award in 2018. Tim Strauss, vice president of Air Canada Cargo said the carrier achieved 27 percent growth, year-over-year, in terms of cargo revenue, which “puts us in the upper levels of the global guys,” he said. The Montreal operation, alone, saw 60 percent growth, year-over-year.
Delta Air Lines ended up with the Gold Award, thanks to what Shawn Cole, Delta’s vice president of cargo, said was “a transformative year for Delta Cargo.” In August, the carrier opened the Cargo Control Center, allowing Delta to track all the freight it sends, anywhere on the globe, and allows it to anticipate operational issues, such as weather. Delta also launched a number customer-centric of services, such as Dash Critical & Medical, as well as a pilot RFID technology program. In July, Delta obtained IATA’s CEIV-Pharma certification at its headquarters and warehouse in Atlanta.