The industry will miss Karl-Rudolph

During the farewell party celebrated in honour of Lufthansa Cargo’s Executive Board member Karl-Rudolph Rupprecht, CargoForwarder Global asked some participants about their personal relationship with the manager and the role he in their eyes played for the air freight community.
Here are just a few of them.  
The opinions expressed were almost identical: With Rupprecht’s departure, a great aviation and cargo visionary, who earned many merits as a forceful enabler of concepts leaves the stage. It will not be easy to adequately replace him.

Wilhelm Bender (standing left), Birgit and Karl-Rudolph Rupprecht enjoyed Kalle’s farewell party – photos contributed by Patrick Kuschfeld
Wilhelm Bender (standing left), Birgit and Karl-Rudolph Rupprecht enjoyed Kalle’s farewell party – photos contributed by Patrick Kuschfeld

Wilhelm Bender, Retiree, Former CEO Fraport AG
I got to know him more intensively when he became Lufthansa’s hub manager in Frankfurt. In our role as airport operator, our aim was and still is to offer high quality to our customers and at the same time increasing our earning to not only cover the expenditures but accumulate enough funds to finance new projects. That was our position, while his was to pay less by lowering landing fees, ground-handling costs and others in order to safeguard Lufthansa’s cash flow. At the end of all our debates, we always found good compromises which both sides could more or less live with, without feeling bamboozled in any way.
From a tactical point of view, I had a certain advantage because Rupprecht’s wife has always been a great supporter of Frankfurt Airport. So what I did is I asked her occasionally to illustrate our airport’s position at home in a relaxed atmosphere to persuade Karl-Rudolph to better understand our stance to see things with our eyes. My feeling is that thanks to this kind of supportive female diplomacy we reached acceptable results.

Anke Giesen
Anke Giesen

Anke Giesen, Executive Board Member and Executive Director Operations at operator Fraport AG
Herr Rupprecht has always been very demanding but at the same time an extremely reliable, fair and respectful business partner. He always aimed at optimizing processes for improving the operational efficiency for the benefit of all users of Frankfurt Airport. Judging our tasks by their outcome, I must say that the dialogues we had proved to be extremely useful and constructive leading to positive results. Whenever we met and struggled to find mutually acceptable solutions, he always underscored the similarities between Lufthansa and Fraport, whereby I must stress his integrity and straightforwardness. We will miss him as cordial individual, cargo and aviation expert and as negotiating partner. Now we wish him happiness for his new stage of his life.

Michael Hoppe
Michael Hoppe

Michael Hoppe, Chairman and Secretary General of the Association Board of Airline Representatives in Germany (BARIG)
I got to know Mr Rupprecht about 10 years ago in my former role as sales director at Lufthansa Passenger Airlines when Karl-Rudolph became Lufthansa’s Frankfurt Hub Manager. Together, we organized many meetings and special events together with airport officials to pave the way for improvements to enhance the operational efficiency of FRA for the benefit of all parties involved. Then we started working together closely again after the Air Cargo Community was launched in 2014 aiming at promoting and further developing Frankfurt as Europe’s prime gateway for air freight. We both are fully convinced that FRA offers great potential to not only maintain its current position but to further expand its leading role. However, Karl-Rudolph and I have always pointed out that from the passenger and cargo carrier’s point of view we are still not there where we want to be. No doubt, the potential is there. However, reality shows that processes are often still too sluggish without the speed demanded by the industry. What still should be done here at Rhine-Main to enhance the airport’s efficiency and take the next step is demonstrated by Amsterdam, which in many aspects serves us as role model. 
In this respect, Karl-Rudolph has always been a driving force within the Air Cargo Community, seeing the broad picture and pushing for innovations. This man combines two abilities almost perfectly: he is a brilliant strategist and at the same time an outstanding planner. I very much regret that he will soon retire, presumably giving up his post as Chairman of the ACC. It will be difficult to find the right replacement for him.

Voices compiled by Heiner Siegmund

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