The carrier has selected Paris-headquartered Air Logistics Group as their future partner for marketing the belly-hold capacity of its passenger fleet on most routes served by the airline. The decision comes amidst a major restructuring process of the airlines’ cargo business, aiming at further growth and the development of new products.
On 31 August, a record-breaking 13-year era ends with Brussels Airlines Cargo and its long-time GSA European Cargo Services (ECS) terminating their business relationship. It was an “extremely
fruitful cooperation for mutual benefit, helping us over the years to grow our air freight activities considerably,” applauds Geert Sciot, Brussels Airlines’ head of corporate
So if all went well to everyone’s satisfaction, why then this GSA swop?
This is what Geert stated when asked by CargoForwarder Global this afternoon (7 July) to go deeper into his airlines’ GSA decision: “We launched a tender process, inviting different GSAs to participate, among them ECS and ALG. At the end, the ALG Group came out best.”
This is normal procedure all over the world, he added.
Geert went on to say that the GSA decision is the first visible result of a new approach in cargo, which will lead to a number of profound structural and organizational changes, the development of new products and also the rebranding of activities.
SN Cargo to obtain own budget responsibility
The manager speaks of a “historic move” and a “new phase” in cargo in an attempt to bring Brussels Airlines Cargo “even closer to our clients, the forwarding agents.” Air freight has developed from a nice-to-have product into a key business of his airline and is gaining in importance due to the capacity increase resulting from the fleet expansion, particularly the long-haul A330s.
How important the carriage of pallets and containers has meanwhile become for the airline is seen by this announcement Geert provided to CargoForwarder Global: “Cargo will get its own budget responsibility!”
ALG acts as in-house agent
However, the most drastic decision will be entrusting sales activities to a 10 member team comprised of dedicated ALG staff that will remain standing on ALG’s payroll but act in-house at the carrier’s BRU station as exclusive representatives of Brussels Airlines Cargo.
This leaves open the future role of the carrier’s current cargo chief Herman Hoornaert and his colleagues which will yet have to be defined, confirms Geert. To this point all that’s known is that the cargo department member’s will stay on board the carrier but it’s not known in what particular function.
The upcoming SN-ALG ties go far beyond the relationship established with sales agent ECS 13 years ago and extended time and again. It practically means that the Belgian carrier outsources most of its cargo activities handing over all responsibilities to its new partner ALG. Only exceptions are northbound cargo flows from Africa to Brussels that are either marketed by local GSAs or by the carrier’s own personnel at stations like Dakar or Nairobi.
ALG intends pushing SN’s cargo biz further ahead
So no wonder that the AL Group has warmly welcomed the outcome of the tender: “We are extremely privileged to have been chosen to represent Brussels Airlines Cargo”, says ALG’s Chief Operating Officer Stephen Dawkins. “Together we are very complementary, as we have extensive experience in the Asian and U.S. markets, while Brussels Airlines is the Africa expert, with their unique and comprehensive network of destinations on the continent. We will work together very closely to meet their customer’s high expectations, so as Brussels Airlines Cargo can build an even stronger market position.”
Growth above market level
During the last 5 years Brussels Airlines Cargo has seen double digit growth as it has added additional capacity. Last year, cargo traffic increased by 34 percent on flights to New York and Washington and a revenue growth of 8 percent was achieved on African routes. Brussels Airlines Cargo’s strengths include a focused African offering, with high flight frequencies, reliability of services and unique products including the ‘Fresh-to-shelf’ formula for perishables flown northbound from Africa. “In 2016, we foresee a further growth of our tonnage by 6 percent,” announces the airlines’ VP Sales Africa & Cargo, Philippe Saeys-Desmedt.
To achieve this will then be the responsibility of ALG.