Schaefer Becomes MD at Leisure Cargo

Former Lufthansa Cargo executive Thilo Schaefer (49) has been appointed Managing Director of Leisure Cargo, the air freight arm of airberlin. He will steer the company together with Klaus Sieger, who succeeded long-time Leisure boss Ralph Auslaender some months ago.

 Thilo Schaefer  -  photo private
Thilo Schaefer - photo private

As of 1 March, two Managing Directors will have the say at Leisure Cargo GmbH: Klaus Sieger and Thilo Schaefer. How the tasks will be divided between both executives is still an open issue and will probably not be disclosed by Leisure or its parent airberlin before next month.” Roles within the management team will then be developed according to the strategic direction,” states airberlin speaker Tobias Spaeing. He went on to say: “In order to further develop the international business of Leisure Cargo and prepare the company for future opportunities in a digital environment we see an advantage in having two senior managers on board.”

Longstanding LHC career
 Thilo is a well-known figure in the German and international cargo arena having worked for Lufthansa Cargo for 21 consecutive years in different positions. Lately, he held the position of Vice President Global Handling at LHC, where most recently he carried overall responsibility for process and quality management, digitization, lean logistics and innovation management. Schaefer was in charge of developing Time Definite Services, when he also managed sales in Germany. He acquired international experience working in Europe and Asia.

CEO Pichler applauds
Leisure Cargo is very happy to have him on board, as airberlin’s CEO Stefan Pichler confirms: “We have recruited an extremely experienced air cargo manager in Thilo Schaefer. His extensive knowledge of the logistics industry will allow him to play a key role in shaping Leisure Cargo’s ongoing strategic development as a ‘virtual cargo airline’.”
Supportive words, for which Thilo thanked the airline boss, by stating: “I am looking forward to my new challenges very much, particularly building and expanding new customer relationships in Germany and abroad. I am convinced that our strong team and global partners will allow the future-oriented and successful development of Leisure Cargo to continue.”

A sack full of mandate airlines
Thilo will be based at Dusseldorf Airport, where Leisure Cargo, which was founded in January 2000 is headquartered. In addition to filling the holds of airberlin’s passenger aircraft with freight Leisure meanwhile manages the cargo business of 16 international carriers, among them Condor, Air Europe or Belair.

AB cuts costs further
In the meantime, Leisure’s parent airberlin has launched an additional savings program, cutting the salaries of roughly 80 leading managers between 5 and 10 percent. An AB speaker has confirmed this intention without revealing specifics. Pilots also will contribute to get the loss-making carrier out of the red by waiving a 4 percent payment increase already agreed on with AB’s management. Part of the new cost-cutting program is reducing the cleaning intervals for their Berlin headquarters and the halving of their vehicle fleet by getting rid of one of the two limousines available to managers and executives for official business trips. 
Because of financial problems, airberlin’s main shareholder Etihad (29.2%) had pumped money on various occasions into Germany’s second largest carrier after Lufthansa in order to keep it afloat.

Heiner Siegmund

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