The former AirBridgeCargo and Sky Gate Airlines executive will take the chairmanship of the reclusive Azeri carrier as of 1st January, 2018. He follows CEO Kamran Gasimov under whose stewardship the Baku-headquartered freight airline became an IATA member in October 2015. Meier’s main task will be to pursue a market-oriented growth trajectory, emphasizing long-term customer and supplier relationships.
It can be assumed that the imminent Christmas celebration will be a very special and joyful one in the life of Wolfgang Meier. His promotion to CEO of Silk Way West Airlines, so far only
internally communicated by the publicity-shy Azeri carrier, is a particularly pleasing confirmation of his many achievements in the air freight and logistics business segment.
Smart personnel decision
Wolfgang’s step up the career ladder was already indirectly indicated in mid-2016, when the Frankfurt, Germany-born extremely well connected manager exited ABC, becoming Senior Vice President of the Silkway Group, with its three main pillars Silk Way Airlines, Silk Way West Airlines and Silk Way Italia. Ever since, he has been responsible for the commercial development of Azerbaijan’s Silk Way Group.
Putting him up front at Silk Way West Airlines is seen as a smart move by the people responsible for pushing the privately-owned carrier further ahead. Meier’s prime duty will be to determine the group’s course for further growth. This can be concluded from statements made by Azerbaijan’s President Ilham Aliyev. He and his government’s plan is to develop the country’s capital Baku into a global hub for multimodal transports, with the emphasis on air traffic, particularly cargo flights, linking Baku with destinations in Europe, the Far East and connecting the CIS country with North America and Africa.
Important strategic tool
On various occasions, Mr. Aliyev pointed out the enormous importance of the oil and gas sector, contributing around 35 percent to his country’s GDP. “We intend to enlarge the port facilities and further strengthen the air freight business,” he exclaimed.
To realize these ambitious plans, the Silk Way Group of Airlines is an important strategic tool, funded by the many oil fields extending far into the Caspian Sea.
In a recent presentation to the members of the German Air Cargo Club (ACD), Wolfgang outlined some of the future tasks Silk Way West and the entire Silk Way Group are facing:
These were his bullet points:
- Strengthening the airline’s presence in Central Asia by simultaneously widening the global network
- Keeping the management structure lean and compact
- Participating in global trends by still keeping the group’s own identity
- and finally: Enhancing the carrier’s Baku hub.
Quite a program for its implementation he has now with these major responsibilities.