Rafael Figueroa Heads SkyTeam Cargo

The Chief of Aeromexico Cargo has been appointed SkyTeam Cargo Chairman. He succeeds Bram Graeber of AF-KL-MP Cargo who will exit the air freight arena this coming June. Bram switches sides, engaging in maritime matters at Royal Boskalis Westminster N.V.

Rafael Figueroa of Aeromexico Cargo is he first Latin American to head SkyTeam Cargo  -  picture: hs
Rafael Figueroa of Aeromexico Cargo is he first Latin American to head SkyTeam Cargo - picture: hs

Rafael is a man with a clear vision. “Members of SkyTeam Cargo must bring value, not mass.” This is best done, he adds, by both enlarging and tightening the network each of the airlines brings in to the club.

In total, 12 of the 20 SkyTeam airlines have formed a cargo alliance, with the other eight not being an active part of the freight coalition. However, even without them, SkyTeam Cargo moves 20 percent of the world’s tonnage in the holds of their passenger aircraft or the maindecks of their freighters, maintains Rafael.
The single AWB concept
His main aim is to better the flow of goods substantially by introducing the single air waybill scheme. It stipulates the acceptance of one and the same AWB issued by any STC member by all others in case the goods are transited and handed over to a partnering SkyTeam Cargo airline for onward transportation. The idea behind this approach is that one booking procedure of a shipment suffices to fly it to any destination served by STC carriers. This saves time and reduces bureaucratic administrative processes. It also greatly enhances the tracking of shipments from start to finish by offering more transparency and better visibility.
Once realized, SkyTeam Cargo with its heavyweights Delta, Korean, Air France-KLM, Aeroflot and the three big Chinese carriers China Southern, China Eastern and China Cargo will become even more attractive to the market, Rafael states.
Aeromexico Cargo is on the go
Touching on his own employer, Aeromexico Cargo, the manager speaks of “two good years” the airline experienced both in terms of tonnage and revenues. Cargo is on the upswing mainly as result of a fleet decision taken by Aeromexico some years ago, getting rid of their B767s (passenger aircraft) and introducing B787s instead. Currently, “we have nine 787s in operation with ten more to come in the course of the next three years,” states Señor Figueroa. Due to the aircraft change and the enlargement of the wide body fleet Aeromexico Cargo gained about 50 percent additional transport capacity.
At present, “we have an average load factor of 75 percent, one of the best in the world,” he proudly says. Air freight contributes 7 percent to the total turnover of the airline that transported 132,000 tons in 2015.
Besides its own strong home market, Aeromexico engages mainly in North America and particularly South America, “where we serve all major destinations.” In the Far East Shanghai and Tokyo are part of the network as are Paris, London and Madrid in Europe. Beginning next May, Amsterdam will complement the European routes.

Heiner Siegmund

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