Erik Varwijk’s footsteps have not yet ceased echoing throughout the Air France - KLM cargo halls, when the Dutch-Franco management has announced the appointment of Bram Graeber as his
Bram’s appointment is apparently only for the next few months until the top management finally (if at all) decides who should succeed Erik Varwijk for the long term.
Information is that the carrier’s Board are still looking for someone who has international cargo experience and standing in the market to take up the cargo reins and lead the embattled carrier back into black figures.
Whoever steps in, be it short- or long term will have their hands full.
The Air France - KLM cargo division posted a joint loss of €212 million during the past fiscal year. Much of this loss is said to lie at the door of Air France who claim among other things that the 2014 pilots strike also negatively affected their cargo figures.
Bram Graeber, who started his career with KLM in 1995, is no stranger to the company cargo scene. He had held various management positions within the airline between starting in 1995 and 2006.
It was maybe because of his past cargo experience that he was seen by some as being a suitable candidate to take over when Mr Varwijk announced his departure some weeks back.
So, why only temporary?
Could it be that Mr Graeber does not want to be saddled in the long term with the continuing AF-KL cargo misery and that he internally declared himself willing to step in until a suitable candidate has been found?
It was in 2006 that Bram made his decision to leave the cargo division and move over to KLM’s passenger daughter, Transavia as director.
He was promoted to Executive Vice President of Transavia, a position which he still holds today.
KLM announced that the intention is that Mr Graeber will combine the roles of Executive VP at the cargo division with his present position within Transavia.
A heavy workload!
Internal opposition to management plans
It was stated from circles within the airline that Mr Graeber is in accord with the existing reorganization plans for the Air France - KLM cargo division, which includes scaling down the freighter fleet from nine to three aircraft.
This view will be of little help to the pilot’s union and workers council who are still trying to get the management to at least review the issue.
It will be interesting to see who at the end of the day will want to take up the position of Executive Vice President at Air France - KLM Cargo.
John Mc Donagh