David Shepherd, Head of Commercial at IAG Cargo is not at all unhappy with developments during the first quarter of this year despite what he still sees as overall flat revenues in the
The company cargo product which is mainly geared to the British Airways and Iberia fleets saw a drop in own capacity of 8% during the first three months.
Dave maintains, however, that average load factors were increased in the first quarter.
The U.S. West Coast results were pushed up due to the continuing strife at sea ports there and the Asian figures were good because of an extraordinary Chinese New Year upswing in business.
European exports were gratifying, mainly due to the USD / € exchange rate situation.
The capacity cutback was planned with the decision made earlier to withdraw from its own freighter services and returning the leased Boeing 747F aircraft back to Atlas Air.
This, states David, has been more than compensated by IAG’s agreement with Qatar Airways whereby IAG has firm space allotments on QR’s ever growing fleet of Boeing 777F aircraft on routes to and from the Middle and Far East.
This cooperation he says has now been expanded by both carriers to cover Pakistan and Bangladesh.
“It’s a new and positive cooperation which will surely prove itself and expand further in the future,” he adds.
Emphasis is on the Premium Products
IAG Cargo’s emphasis is certainly on what they see as their “Premium Products” sector.
This market segment has received much internal attention and operational change within the past twelve months.
Even to the extent that ground handling facilities in IAG’s worldwide network are being attuned more and more to sensitive and valuable product lines.
Constant Climate tops the list
IAG is admittedly one of various carriers now placing more emphasis on temperature controlled storage and carriage of air cargo.
Centres have been created at many of the airports served by the group.
However, the British-Spanish carrier’s Constant Climate Centre at London’s Heathrow airport which covers about 550 square meters, has two separate temperature-controlled zones that can store the equivalent of 28 aircraft pallet positions at any one time.
Madrid as Iberia’s main hub follows suit and a total of 100 stations on 6 continents boast Constant Climate facilities.
The list of IAG Cargo’s updated and new services and products stretches among others, from Constant Climate to Perform Loose for general cargo, Perform Unitized for ULD’s and Constant Fresh for the specific handling of perishables.
David and his team are they claim more than happy with the progress being made with IAG’s recently introduced “EuroConnector” service, geared towards what they see as “cost effective time definite delivery.”
This service which originated in the USA now also covers much of Europe.
IAG Cargo - a single business unit
Mr Shepherd is convinced that the IAG Cargo product is successful because of them having created a single business unit.
“Iberia, he says, brought in much expertise into the unit and their experience in the South American market is invaluable.”
He maintains that the concept is different to other airline business models and that both sides continually learn from each other.
The cultural merge of people and product has certainly proven itself in David’s eyes.
“Strict cost discipline is a must” he states, “and where bold decisions are necessary, all should be equally involved.”
There are no plans at present he says to enter into new relationships on the scope of the Iberia - BA setup.
He ends by stating that if that occurs, then any future partner has to fit 100 percent into the present cultural and business environment within the cargo group.
John Mc Donagh