One of Aviation’s Best

“He has the Fame and now Deserves the Recognition”

A lot has been written these past days about Jacques Ancher and his upcoming move into TIACA’s Hall of Fame. We certainly would not want to miss the opportunity to laud Jacques on taking his place alongside the other 48 airline industry veterans who grace TIACA’s walls.

Former KLM Cargo manager Jaques Ancher, soon moving into TIACA’s Hall of Fame, was a real trail-blazer  /  source: KLM
Former KLM Cargo manager Jaques Ancher, soon moving into TIACA’s Hall of Fame, was a real trail-blazer / source: KLM

Many of today’s younger members of the aviation business would not know that much of Jacques and his contribution to what we have today.
We wish they could, because he has so much knowledge and they could certainly still learn a lot from him!
However, those of us who grew up alongside of him in those hectic and wonderful days of air cargo pioneering learnt much from him and have much to be grateful for.
Most of all - and there were many things to learn, he created a team spirit that made everything seem possible, and that earned him deep respect!

When we go back 25 - 30 years, we saw an airline industry managed by “passenger orientated” executives whose knowledge of air cargo and its (future) importance for the industry as a core business was almost negligible.
Jacques realized that a high cost European airline could not compete in the future and set out to change this attitude.

Michael Steen, TIACA’s Chair, put it this way: “He did more than most to raise the value and importance of cargo to airline chief executives. He was a true business innovator, unafraid of taking risks to demonstrate the need for change, if cargo was to remain relevant to scheduled passenger airlines.”

Stan Wraight, himself a close friend and old colleague of Jacques Ancher at KLM, told CargoForwarder Global, that:
“I first worked directly for Jacques when I returned to Canada from the UK in the 80’s, and stood back in awe at how he was willing to support me in everything innovative that I tried to do. What a refreshing change that was!
He listened, you could see the wheels turning as he digested what you said, and he would either accept it or give you very solid reasons why not; or how to modify things to make it work better. The best part was that he allowed you to get on with the job and never micro managed. His greatest strength was his ability to motivate. If you let Jacques down, you felt like hell afterwards because he gave you the chance and trusted you.
Every member of his staff respected him, bar none, that is not something many can say today. He unleashed every creative ounce in his team and KLM and its clients benefited greatly.
For KLM it was in revenue, image and efficiency. For the client it was quality, a network that was efficient and a fair price for the product desired.

One could say that Jacques was “born and bred” at KLM. He spent 40 years with the Dutch national carrier, whereby 17 of those were in the cargo division and it was he who was the power behind making KLM one of the best freight airlines in the world.
It is very sad to see that despite all the hard work he and his team put in, that the carrier (AF/KL) now is nowhere near being the dynamic and innovative trail blazer of the industry it once was.
KLM‘s past management since he retired should have learned from him when he tried to
impress upon the industry that “they needed to drastically change their approach to the business in order to avoid not being made irrelevant other than as a commodity provider of capacity.”
This is sadly today’s state of affairs.

Jacques Ancher / source: private
Jacques Ancher / source: private

Jacques Ancher, a mover, one who was not afraid to do what was needed to be done and a manager who was there for his people and his company. A true KLM loyalist, whose very working hour was dedicated to positioning the company for what he saw years in advance, was going to happen if legacy high cost airlines were to remain relevant in logistics.
Jacques receives his award in Istanbul in April - one well deserved and long overdue!

The industry today could use more of his caliber!

John Mc Donagh