Guido Henke, LATAM Cargo’s long time Director Europe-Middle/East-Africa (EMEA) has decided to leave the carrier. July 31th will be his last day in office after serving the airline group in different functions during the last 30 years.
The assertion that July 31st will be a very emotional day with many friends, companions, business partners and members of the cargo community coming to LATAM Cargo’s office at Frankfurt Airport
to shake hands with Guido wishing him well for his new life of retiree is not specifically a daring forecast. During his tenure at LATAM Cargo, but also before, the Buenos Aires, Argentinian-born
cargo expert has cast spotlights on many occasions on Latin America’s leading carrier.
Internally, he has always strongly supported the deployment of cargo aircraft on routes between Latin America and Europe. With great success, as flights to Brussels, Amsterdam, Frankfurt and soon also Copenhagen (as of 20 June) prove. It was he that contributed greatly to the existence of LAN Cargo, when selling his own forwarding company Laser Cargo, based in Buenos Aires, to the Cueto family, the later owners of LAN. That happened in 1994 with Mr Henke becoming LAN Chile’s cargo chief for Argentina and Uruguay, following the Laser Cargo / Fast Air deal.
Mastering the B767 freighter challenge
The next episode began shortly after the turn of the century, when LAN Cargo sent him to Frankfurt in his new function as head of cargo for Europe. His key task: Convincing forwarders to utilize the main deck capacity of the newly LAN operated Boeing 767 freighters that started connecting South America and Europe. Ever since and in addition to this, Guido and his team were responsible for filling the cargo holds of LATAM’s passenger fleet linking key European cities with Sao Paulo, Santiago, Montevideo and other destinations south of the Panama Canal.
Presently, that’s another 250 tons of B777 and B787 lower deck capacity he and the entire European LATAM Cargo sales force have to acquire week after week, in addition to marketing the freighter capacity.
Quite a demanding job against the background of extremely volatile economies in Brazil or Argentina, South America’s constant problem children.
Number one by tonnage
Another challenge for him was to amalgamate the European activities of LATAM Cargo following the merger of Chilean LAN and Brazilian TAM. This required sensitive staff decisions, cultural considerations, and additional sales efforts to market the capacity of the joint fleet as efficiently as possible.
Today, Mr Henke and his team can say: “mission completed.” This is evidenced by the fact that LATAM Cargo ranks first in the list of freight carriers connecting Europe and South America, measured by volumes.
So why did Guido decide to leave LATAM Cargo at the climax of his professional carreer, after spending many years in responsible managerial positions.
His answer to this: “Health-wise I’m in good shape, but what I miss is spare time.”
He will celebrate his 60th birthday next Wednesday (12 June). A date, he has decided for himself, that is ideal for leaning back and stepping out of the time-consuming and highly demanding daily air freight business.
This all the more since LATAM Cargo intends to relocate their European HQ from Frankfurt to Madrid.
The carrier has not yet appointed a successor for Mr Henke.
Sitting in a hammock won’t be an option
For the time being the almost 60-year-old will do nothing. Except for flying to Argentina for a couple of weeks to visit his and his wife Nora’s two daughters and their families, including four grandchildren, living in Buenos Aires.
Then they’ll return to their Frankfurt home that has become their main place of residence since 2003, after Guido and his family had moved from South America to Germany.
“Nora strongly supports my step to exit LATAM Cargo. She is extremely happy that soon I’ll have more time to spend together. Although I have been in the aviation business for 30 years, there are many places we do not know yet. So traveling to South America but also trips within Europe stand high on our list.”
And what about future business ambitions? “Time will tell,” he nods. “But there is nothing specific on my agenda.”
Hard to believe that this energetic, experienced, highly likeable person and cargo professional will spend the next years sitting in a hammock at his Frankfurt home after taking a longer and well-deserved break.
It can be assumed that he’ll be back in business sooner or later, in whatever future function and role – provided, Nora agrees!
He’ll be missed
LATAM Cargo not only loses a very dedicated and knowledgeable employee, but one who in the early days clearly saw the advantage of promoting the South American air cargo scene. LATAM Cargo would certainly not be what it is today without the hindsight and input given by Guido.
He had a hard task during the last quarter of a century in bringing LATAM Cargo to become a household name in the air cargo community in Europe.
Guido Henke will be missed by all, but LATAM Cargo can rest assured that he has left a professional team behind him who will continue with his good work.
We at CargoForwarder Global wish him well for the future and thank him for his support in the past.
Heiner Siegmund / John Mc Donagh