The secret of who will follow in Steve Polmans’ footsteps is finally lifted! Today’s (13JAN21) personnel announcement made by the management of Brussels Airport, delivered a surprise: Geert Aerts will be the next Director Cargo & Logistics at the Belgian hub, and will assume his new role at BRU on 08MAR21.
In the cargo industry, the newcomer's name is likely to be known only by insiders, because Aerts is an industrial engineer by training. He comes from CAE Inc, where he was Regional Operations
Director Europe, Africa & Middle East since 2014, with no direct relation to air freight. Montreal-based CAE, (formerly Canadian Aviation Electronics), is a high-tech multinational
specializing in training and operational support solutions in civil aviation, defense, security, and healthcare.
CAE manages a network of flight simulator training centers and flight schools.
“Mr Aerts’ experience in working for a global company within a complex environment with many stakeholders, and with his focus on the customer, on cooperation, and innovation, make him the right candidate to take over the helm of the cargo department at Brussels Airport,” the Brussels Airport press release says.
An evolving focus
“Under the leadership of our new director, we will continue work on the redevelopment of Brucargo as a zone with a focus on specialization and digitization”, the press release quotes Piet Demunter, Steven Polmans’ predecessor as Head of Cargo, and currently the airport company’s Chief Business Development Officer.
Mr Aerts will take up his new position on 08MAR21 when his notice period has expired. His recruitment demonstrates that the focus in air cargo management is shifting from the day-to-day logistics operation to digitization and system-building.
At the same time, he will be continuing a development that was massively pushed ahead by Steven Polmans (who stepped down in DEC20) and his team, leading to a digitized network usable by all local cargo players.
Marcel Schoeters in Brussels
Cargo in Brussels is more than just cargo; it is finance, project management, real estate, development, and digitalization. It took the airport 8 months to find a suitable successor to Steven
Polmans after he informed the airport that he wanted to leave his job at the end of the year. So the management’s task was to find someone capable of simultaneously managing all the demanding
aspects listed above, and not simply a business developer or someone with a convincing commercial profile.
That said, Mr. Aerts could well be a good choice. It is essential that he has a very strong team behind him, so though he might be less visible compared to his predecessor, this may give the rest of the team more visibility, such as Nathan de Valck who was promoted to Head of Cargo Product and Network Development in Q2 last year.
Therefore, it can be expected that under his leadership, the good work of the past years will be continued to the benefit of the airport and the cargo industry in Belgium. The only shortcoming is that air freight is a new field of activity for him, wherein he has no proven record as of yet. However, this is not necessarily a disadvantage, given that Geert Aerts is joining a network that has worked convincingly well for years.
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