LH Cargo Sees Apple as Role Model

What does the U.S. technology and communications giant Apple and Germany’s Lufthansa Cargo have in common? At first sight not much. But the carrier’s executive board member and head of product and sales, Alexis von Hoensbroech, takes a different view.

Alexis von Hoensbroech  /  source: hs
Alexis von Hoensbroech / source: hs

LH Cargo’s CEO Peter Gerber had a broad smile on his face when he arrived on his carrier’s stand at last week’s Munich-held trade show Air Cargo Europe. Parallel to the fair’s gates opening, parent Lufthansa had announced that in Q1 its cargo subsidiary had financially done better than in the previous year, despite new pilot walkouts. “Surely, the relatively low fuel price helped us in achieving a good result, also the port strike on the U.S. West Coast, not to forget our own efforts and cost saving steps,” Peter explained.
Particularly these internal measures will have to be accelerated if the airline wants to be successful in gaining back lost ground.
How this can be achieved was outlined by Alexis von Hoensbroech at the Munich fair, after his first 150 days in office.

Back to growth
While speaking with journalist on the outskirts of Munich in the Bavarian restaurant “Lola Montez,” Alexis frankly admitted that LH Cargo had lost quite some market shares to competitors in the general cargo segment. Although standard shipments are not considered to be the ones to really upping an airline’s earnings, the manager is however, eager to put this product range high on the agenda again while to some extent it had receded into the background in the previous years. “Our aim is to return to the grow path, after having more or less stagnated in recent times,” Alexis eagerly announced. He added to this that LH Cargo will never beat their competitors on price. Hence, “we have to distinguish ourselves from others by quality and innovation.”

Apple as benchmark
According to the manager, he sees the U.S. multinational technology company Apple as a sort of a role model for his enterprise. This, because burning an amazing firework of smart products and innovations the Californian’s are mostly one step ahead of the pack. 
Alexis emphasized that growth is of great importance for LH Cargo since the cargo industry itself keeps on growing. “The business we are in is driven by globalization with the short time-to-market commodities setting the pace.” 
In order to capitalize on this development the manager announced taking appropriate steps to gain a greater share of the extremely fast growing e-Commerce market. In addition he announced new sales initiatives concentrating on selling the network to forwarding agents. “We shouldn’t think in categories of single shipments so much on flying from A to B, instead we should focus on offering clients transport capacity on our dense intercontinental and regional network.”

Alexis’ cornerstones
Therefore, capacity agreements with major clients on as many routes as possible and for longer periods are, together with redeveloping the somehow forgotten standard freight, the major cornerstones in the strategy of the new member of LH Cargo’s executive board.
The former scientist has already shown a certain farsightedness. Before joining Lufthansa Alexis was an astrophysicist, studying the birth and death of stars, the influence of gravitation in space and the role black holes play within the Milky Way. 
It can only be hoped that Herr von Hoensbroech will not discover a black hole within Lufthansa Cargo’s coffers one day, like some of his direct competitors do year after year!

Heiner Siegmund  

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