U.S. all-cargo carrier Amerijet has made a name for itself as a network service provider across the Caribbean, Mexico, Central and parts of South America, linking these markets with its Miami gateway.
In mid-March, the 1974 incepted airline added Brussels, Belgium, to its schedule – its initial scheduled service transatlantic route. First results are encouraging and might kick off further network expansions.
Amerijet has long yearned for Brussels. “We’ve been working on that route for a couple of years, the current need for freighter capacity between Europe and the U.S. presented the opportunity for us to start operating a direct flight between Brussels and Miami,” Derry Huff, VP Sales & Marketing, Amerijet, states contentedly.
Focus on pharma
But what makes Brussels so sexy from a cargo carrier’s point of view, in comparison to renowned competitors such as AMS, FRA, CDG or CGN, all of which are European airports with a proven and strong cargo record? He states three main reasons: Firstly, it was Brussels’ attractive role as a pharma hot spot, a sensitive and regulated commodity with consistent loads, that perfectly fitted Amerijet’s product focus, as illustrated by the fact that it became the first U.S. freight carrier to earn IATA’s Center of Excellence for Independent Validators in Pharmaceutical Logistics (CEIV) certification in 2017. “This means that our practices, reviewed and approved by IATA, meet or exceed the national and international pharmaceutical shipping regulations and standards,” Ron Irish, Temperature Controlled Manager at Amerijet, emphasizes.
Convincing data sharing platform coupled with personalized services
Secondly, the U.S. airline was thrilled by BRU Cloud, a Nallian developed state-of-the-art data sharing platform, enabling different stakeholders to act as an integrated network. “This gives us a strong level of insurance from a compliance perspective, in addition to providing efficiencies and bringing value to the cargo community,” Mr. Huff says.
Finally, the executive refers to Steven Polmans and his entire BRU Cargo team, including Pharma Aero, which have been extremely supportive in setting up the transatlantic sector MIA – BRU.
High load factor, both east- and westbound
That Brussels seems to be a good pick, became apparent just a few days after the maiden flight landed at Zaventem Airport, and evidenced by the fact that Amerijet added a second weekly frequency to the route shortly after, both operated with B767-300 freighters, accommodating up to 40 tons each takeoff. “All flights are full, both ways,” Mr. Huff assures. Having said this, he did not exclude the further upping of BRU frequencies coupled with additional global services in the medium term. Various test flights to WAW, PRG, FRA and MUC have already taken place.
GSAs – key factor for success
Derry Huff is fair enough to give kudos to his company’s general sales agents for the immediate commercial success of the BRU-MIA route. “Particularly Frankfurt-based Aircargonet International is one of our top performers among the roughly 50 GSAs we have contracted worldwide,” the manager applauds.
A main strength of Amerijet, and triggering substantial volumes, is the multitude of destinations served in the Caribbean and Central/South America, CEO Klaus Lederer of Aircargonet points out. “As the carrier’s long-time GSA, we are still surprised how much freight is transported from Germany and Europe to this region,” he says. Besides pharmaceuticals, most products "Made in Germany," high quality household goods, ship spares, aircraft spare parts and components for the vast amount of private boats registered in the Caribbean, belong to the items brought to Miami by Amerijet, where large portions transit to their final destinations, including Jamaica, Barbados, Costa Rica, the Dominican Republic, Trinidad & Tobago or Mexico City, Honduras, Panama City and Medellin in Colombia, to name but a few.
No domestic flights
In total, Amerijet operates a dedicated freighter fleet comprising seven units - six B767-300Fs and one B767-200F. In total, the company serves over 45 destinations across the Caribbean, Mexico, Latin America, and in Europe (Brussels).
It is noteworthy that the carrier does not operate a domestic air network. All U.S. exports connect to the carriers hub in MIA by road using dedicated trucking services or via interline partners, where they are consolidated in their local 33,500 m² warehouse (360,000 ft²), encompassing temp controlled rooms and dedicated loading docks, and flown to their final destinations from there. The same applies to imports, only in reverse direction. Similarly, in Europe, where Amerijet’s local agents feed freight from all regions to Brussels utilizing trucking or air partners.
No USP, but core values
The product range covers time-sensitive shipments, valuables, hazmat, temperature-controlled, and other commodity types. Further to this, the airline benefits increasingly from growing e-commerce volumes driven by B2B and B2C transactions from populations in Latin America and the Caribbean. Direct B2C ecommerce retail sales in Latin America alone are predicted to reach $82 billion in 2020, up from $53 billion in 2018, according to Statista. B2B ecommerce sales are also fast growing, including online sales to the retail trade within the same markets.
Last year, Amerijet transported 136,000 tons. “We are profitable but don’t disclose financial figures,” says Derry Huff. Asked about a unique selling point, the manager emphasizes the combination of core values such as delivering goods as promised, preventing offloads by refraining from overselling any flight, and highest possible operational, commercial and organizational transparency towards customers and the carrier’s own staff. “We live up to these core values.” Principles which also form the basis of his carrier’s cooperation with their GSAs, he emphasizes. “Although we just started operating to BRU, our GSA network throughout Europe has been in place for many years. This led to the fact that we have established a trusted and internationally well-known brand.“ “Our customer base in Europe recognizes Amerijet as a reliable service provider,” the carrier’s VP Sales & Marketing concludes.
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