After having spent many years at Cargolux Airlines, the Luxembourg carrier’s ex Sales and Network Chief Robert van de Weg decided to join AirBridge Cargo, where he holds the position of Senior Vice President Marketing and Sales. The maiden flight of an ABC 747-400 freighter at Munich Airport was Robert’s first official mission in his new role. Here are main statements delivered by Robert to CargoForwarder Global during the event:
Q: Robert, what are your first impressions at ABC?
A: I just took on my new duty (on May 1) so getting insights into the commercial and operational procedures, understanding the specific climate within ABC and learning more about the management’s visions and strategic plans are topics of utmost importance for me at this stage. Generally speaking I can say that my first impressions are very positive since ABC has a highly motivated and business oriented team. It’s a 100% cargo environment that I’m in which I really appreciate.
Q: Where do you see ABC in comparison to main competitors?
A: At this very early stage it would be presumptuous to comment on any proceedings or company policies, so please don’t expect me to give a thorough answer to your question. However, basically I see some key advantages ABC has, by concentrating its traffic on trade lanes linking the three major markets - Far East, Europe and North America. We successfully established major gateways, like Frankfurt and Amsterdam in Europe and offer point-point services between some European airports and our main hub Moscow in addition. Particularly these decentralized traffic flows lead to little offline handling and trucking which the forwarding industry benefits from as the service is faster and more reliable in comparison to airlines operating out of secondary hubs.
Q: Lately, ABC increased their point-point services as flights to Malmoe, Paris CDG, Milan Malpensa, Leipzig, and now Munich demonstrate. Are there any more destinations on your agenda to be serviced this way and linked to your Moscow hub?
A: At this stage we have not decided on airports we intend adding to our point-point traffic. But we are constantly looking for new business opportunities and act fast once spotted. There are two main reasons why we concentrate on decentralized services parallel to our main hub strategy: to be directly at those airports local forwarding agents are utilizing and secondly to avoid as much trucking as possible. This reduces greenhouse gas emissions, lowers our operating costs and puts us high on the forwarders list as their preferred main deck capacity provider.
Q: ABC operates twelve jumbo freighters and serves seven destinations in Far East. What about the domestic Russian market?
A: Russia is a classical import market taking only a smaller portion of the goods flown out of Europe. The major volumes are transited at Moscow and flown to consignees in the Far East. Being a network carrier we always try to maximize loads.