Q: What have been your initial observations about the cargo side of the business?
A: I had been CEO of an airport and CFO of a passenger airline before joining Luxair as CFO for the group. With the cargo ground handling department of Luxair being an important business unit of LuxairGroup, I had already closely monitored the cargo handling department from a financial perspective. However, taking over this position in January, I must admit that the daily operation and planning is more complex compared to the passenger business. The deviation from the initial planning in the passenger handling is far less pronounced than in cargo handling. It requires flexibility and reactivity.
Q: Do you believe that air cargo handling has lessons to learn from the passenger side?
A: The passenger side of aviation has been more innovative over the years by continually upgrading services and challenging processes. Innovation didn’t take too long from concept to implementation. This, of course, has to do with the direct contact with the customer and the urgency to differentiate yourself from your competing carriers. However, shipments don’t complain about the service and how you process cargo though your facilities has been less important to the shippers or consignees as long as the shipment arrived in good condition at the final destination as planned.
Q: How might those experiences from the passenger side of the aviation business be introduced to cargo?
A: We should handle cargo with the same respect as passengers. In addition, transparency of the supply chain is a major challenge. Customers do expect real-time updates of the progress of their shipments through the supply chain and, as with passengers, deviations in the expected delivery time should be communicated. The shippers and consignees should experience the same ‘care’. LuxairCARGO is putting a lot of efforts into standardising processes without neglecting the provision of tailor-made solutions for special requirements. Our aim is to further improve the performance of the handling activity and thus deliver a stable and predictable service. The on-time performance in the cargo handling will always be more critical to achieve due to the flexibility of the schedule of our carrier customers.
In passenger services, airports and ground handling agents have extended over the years their offer of supplemental services. As a cargo ground handling agent, we are doing the same by providing road feeder services from Luxembourg to final destination, including handling at destination. Catering, crew hotel and crew transfer to other airports, customs clearance for local customers, local pick-up and deliveries, are a few additional services of our portfolio. We will continue to further develop this one-stop-shop for cargo carriers.
Q: Are there any aspects to the air cargo handling business that you would not wish to change?
A: Cargo people have created a small and friendly community.
Q: What will be your priorities for the next 12 months?
A: Time, cost, and quality: Reduce the acceptance cut-off time for exports; reduce truck waiting times (import and export); and further improve aircraft turnaround times. Optimise resource planning. Increase on-time departures for aircraft and trucks and thus delivery at final destination, according to the expectations of the consignees; further increase the number of shipments flown/trucked as planned. Be a benchmark for quality in air cargo handling. Specialise ourselves in cargo niches like AVI, pharma, outsize, etc.
In fact our goal is to set the benchmark in the coming years in terms of accuracy of ramp, warehouse and truck handling.