The German Aircargo Club (ACD) elected a new executive committee and honored long-standing members at its Annual General Assembly. In his presentation to the ACD members, leading economist, Norbert Luebben, strongly recommended the aviation industry to embark on an environmental strategy worthy of its name.
On Tuesday, 14 JAN 20, the Aircargo Club of Germany (ACD) held its traditional New Year’s reception and general annual assembly in Frankfurt, Germany. The evening kicked off with a warm welcome
and best wish for the year by the club’s president, Prof. Dr. Christopher Stoller.
The tightly packed agenda included the election of a new executive committee of the ACD, as well as a presentation by Mr. Norbert Luebben, recently appointed Head of Economics and Statistics at the German Aviation Association (BDL).
Mr. Luebben led the audience through an informative status update and outlook on the state of the industry. For 2019, he painted a differentiated picture, showing a 3.4% global increase of offered seats by airlines, yet with sluggish growth rates in Germany and the Middle East.
Cargo might face another tough year
In stark contrast, global air cargo traffic had to deal with negative growth rates and saw a decline in global freight ton kilometers of 3.4% against the previous year. Although IATA forecasts a 2% growth rate for global air cargo in 2020, it is likely that the negative trend will continue in the early stages of the new year, and that much will depend on the containment and resolution of ongoing trade and security disputes such as Brexit, U.S.-China trade relations, and the unstable situation in the Middle East.
“Take the environmental issue seriously,” was Luebben’s message
Global warming and climate change will remain one of the industry’s most challenging topics in 2020. Although one cannot identify a general “Greta effect” on the European aviation industry in the past year, one must note that many countries saw a significant decline in domestic travel, whilst growth in European and intercontinental travel remained stable.
Mr. Luebben rounded his presentation off with the key items of an industry strategy for the protection of the environment: Increased efficiency by means of introducing more modern flight equipment and optimization of flight routes, development of alternative fuels, fair trade of emission certificates, and voluntary CO2 compensation schemes.
Respectable track record
The subsequent ACD Annual General Assembly began with a review of past year’s activities by Prof. Dr. Christopher Stoller. In a year with many highlights one would like to list only a few that show that the club has a prominent and reputable position within the air cargo community: In April, Dr. Christian Wurst, CEO Europe of Panalpina, visited the ACD and talked about the transport of perishable goods, in May, Mr. Goetz Ahlmann, CEO of Mitteldeutsche Flughafen AG (Leipzig/Halle – Dresden), took the chance to present one of the fastest growing air cargo hubs in Europe, Leipzig. In September, Dr. Ulrich Ogiermann gave a detailed insight into CargoLogic, Germany, and Dr. Peter Gerber, CEO of Lufthansa Cargo, rounded off the year in December with an enlightening presentation.
One of the leading European platforms discussing air freight topics
The ACD is a club that depends a great deal on the input of its members and thus the general assembly is also the place to honor those who have made significant contributions to the club and to the industry: Mr. Winfried Hartmann, president from 2014 to 2016, was given the honorary membership of the club for his services as president. Mr. Hartmann stated that he was happy to see how the club had evolved since his presidency, and that it is good that it had regained its reputation as one of the leading platforms to discuss industry topics with a wide variety of guest speakers (see his statements below).
Honorary memberships were also received by Mr. Ewald Heim and Mr. Tilo Hohtanz. Mr. Heim, who embodies air cargo like no one else in Germany, was instrumental in the campaign against the night curfew at Frankfurt airport: “Die Fracht braucht die Nacht!” (Freight needs the night!). Although the campaign did not stop the night curfew at Frankfurt airport, it had a lasting impact in raising awareness for the importance of air cargo in Frankfurt and beyond. Mr. Tilo Hohtanz, was one of the first members of the ACD, which was founded in 1963, and was honored for 50 years of membership.
New executive committee elected
With so much history already happening, it was time to look forward and to elect the club’s new executive committee. The assembly unanimously re-elected Christopher Stoller as the Club’s president for another two years. Changes were likely for the positions of the club’s vice-president and treasurer, since both Mathias Jakobi, who had served as the club’s vice-president for almost 15 years, and Christoph Papke, the ACD’s long-time treasurer, had announced earlier in 2019, that they would step down from their function.
The assembly confirmed, by large majorities, the candidacy of Mr. Achim Martinka, Vice President Germany, Lufthansa Cargo, for the position of vice-president, and Mr. Benjamin Riege, Director Marketing, Riege Software International, for the position of treasurer.
The newly elected president, Prof. Dr. Stoller, then ceremoniously bid farewell to Mr. Jakobi and Mr. Papke, thanking them for their outstanding contribution to the ACD on behalf of its members, and welcomed Mr. Martinka and Mr. Riege into the executive committee.
Winfried Hartmann took stock of his three-year tenure as head of ACD in a one-to-one talk with CargoForwarder Global.
“When Mathias Jakobi, Christoph Papke, and I took over responsibility at the ACD, the club was in a critical state. There was a loss of active members and the ACD ran the risk of becoming an old men's club, where members only met to socialize.
Today, I can say that by inviting renowned speakers, putting exciting topics on the agenda, and recruiting especially younger members into positions of responsibility throughout the cargo business in Germany, we have managed the necessary about-turn.
An absolute highlight in the club´s history, was the appearance of Hesse's Minister of the Environment and Deputy Head of Government, Tarek Al-Wazir. The discussion with him about the pros and cons of the night flight ban at Rhine-Main airport was extremely rewarding, despite or even because of the clash of different opinions. Particularly impressive, was the Green Party politician’s enormous expertise, his detailed knowledge, and his factual communication. He did not paint a black-and-white picture of the controversial curfew subject, he just delivered sound factual information. The event with Al-Wazir was an ultimate high point of my three-year ACD tenure.
In addition, I would like to mention that we also succeeded in bringing the ACD back onto the bigger stage, for example by appearances and political discussions held in Berlin with members of the German Parliament, or joint events with international journalists. Today, the ACD is again perceived as the mouthpiece of the cargo industry.”
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