Air cargo heroes going not just the extra mile, but way beyond

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Exceptional times call for exceptional measures. The past year has been a real challenge – and air cargo executives around the world have often asked us, the freight publications, to help express their gratitude to those who have kept the world moving. 

So nine air freight titles have suspended competitive concerns today to publish an article together: a representative sample of ‘thank yous’ from companies around the world.

It acknowledges the work done in a momentous year, 12 months characterised by new ways of working –  from homes noisy with kids, to social distancing in warehouses, offices and airports. It’s for cabin crew who overnight took on a role in cargo; for handlers coping with irregular flows and freight in cabins; for those selflessly risking getting sick, or struggling with staff shortages; for those dealing with stressed customers, or humanitarian aid. 

This piece, published in Air Cargo Eye, Air Cargo News, Air Cargo Week, CargoForwarderGlobal, Freight Business Journal, Freightwaves, The Loadstar, PayloadAsia and The STAT Trade Times, is for all those who have not just gone the extra mile, but way beyond.

Glyn Hughes, director general, TIACA

“During the worst global crisis of the past 75 years, the air cargo industry stepped up and showed its true value. When the world needed PPE, air cargo was there, when the world needed consumer goods, air cargo was there, and now when the world needs vaccines, air cargo is here.  The world owes a collective thank you to the great men and women of the logistics and air cargo industry for their dedication to getting it done.”

Tushar Jani, chairman, Cargo Service Centre Group 

“I never realized that air cargo was not just the backbone for the supply chain, but was lifesaving to humanity. These people who worked at the air cargo complex and at the airport worked relentlessly risking their lives. Their resilience, spirit and commitment were equivalent to those of Covid-19 warriors.

“In my entire career, I am yet to see such dedication and commitment from my people who kept their personal lives secondary to serve society. I salute all of them and bow to them for this gallant heroic service to mankind.”

Adrien Thominet, chief executive, ECS

“To all those who work in supply and logistics, to all those who suffer and brave the statistics, to all those who remade our traditional ways of working and meeting as we travel this maze, to all the men and women who work hard to ensure that the passion we all share will always endure… To all those working in our great industry, the world and its people thank you eternally."

Wilson Kwong, chief executive, Hong Kong Air Cargo Terminals Limited (Hactl)

 “2020 was a year of unprecedented challenge, both in respect of safeguarding personal health for yourselves and the community, and in maintaining service during a period of extreme demand and urgency, but restricted capacity. 

As I have come to realise, you love nothing more than a challenge, and you rose to this one with your customary cheerful determination and your professional pride. As a result, we never failed a single customer, and we helped the global air cargo industry to keep supply chains open for critically important medical supplies and PPE.

I have always been proud of you, but never more so than for what you achieved in 2020. Thank you for your unstinting dedication to duty.”

Guillaume Halleux, chief cargo officer, Qatar Airways Cargo

“We don’t praise our staff enough – and I mean all the cargo workers around the world. What they have done in 2020 is amazing, and I’d like to give them a standing ovation. They have been really, truly exceptional.”

Peter Gerber, chief executive, Lufthansa Cargo

“The Coronavirus has pretty much turned the world and our industry upside down over the past year. Even in the most difficult and uncertain days, our team has found workarounds. With a great deal of heart and soul, we managed to compensate for a large part of the shortfalls. Even more: in close collaboration with our partners, such as customers, shippers, airports, ground handlers and authorities, we prepared intensively to bring large quantities of sensitive vaccines into the world quickly and reliably.”

Jessica Tyler, president, American Airlines Cargo

“It’s a privilege to be part of a team and an industry that has risen in the face of unprecedented challenges. Our cargo team continues to go above and beyond to keep the needs of our customers and the safety of our people a priority. Each player along the supply chain plays a critical role in keeping the world moving, and I’m confident that 2021 will be a success if we continue to work together.”

Cissy Chan, executive director commercial, Airport Authority Hong Kong

“In the past year, our airport staff endeavoured to maintain smooth operations throughout the airport, while airlines and the airport community sought new ways to cater to the demand in cargo promptly. I would like to extend my heartfelt gratitude to every one of them for their hard work and dedication towards the airport.”

Alberto Nobis, CEO DHL Express Europe

“Thanks to the outstanding efforts of our brave colleagues as well as all the courageous health care and nursing personnel, our world can keep going in the current global crisis and we are able to maintain the stability of supply chains and critical infrastructure. We want to emphasize our deepest gratitude and respect for their selfless actions and willingness to fight for the good and health of humans.”

Keku Bomi Gazder, chief executive officer, AAI Cargo Logistics and Allied Services Company 

“If Covid-19 had one positive, it was that it reiterated “Unity is Strength”. It showed us that we were together even by maintaining distance. I would like to extend my heartfelt thanks to the entire cargo fraternity, for being the hidden warriors in the war against Covid. The thanks must be shared with my colleagues, and India’s Ministry of Civil Aviation, and for the regulatory approvals for the innovative “Cargo-on-Seat” concept.”

Dominic Kennedy, managing director, Virgin Atlantic Cargo

“It is a small team but everybody knows everybody and we are all very clear in what we are working towards. We cannot thank our partners enough. In the UK, a huge call out for dnata who have been instrumental in our success, but it equally applies to WFS in Los Angeles, the Delta team at other points in the US, and Hactl and Pactl in Asia. Everybody has rallied around the cause.”

Stefan Schulte, CEO, Fraport AG

"When the pandemic began, the focus was on shipping face masks and ventilators, now we are ready for the distribution of the long-awaited coronavirus vaccines. That is possible because of the top performance of our entire cargo team! Nevertheless, these are very challenging times for our entire industry. I would like to express my sincere thanks to all our employees for their participation and commitment to ensure the future development of our company."


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