September has always been a month of change. Perhaps it is the weather, the month trading the end of hot, lazy summer afternoons for crisp, fall mornings.
Change is important in air commerce. Companies failing to move with the times find they are buried in the dust of the competition.One of those companies that has made the turn from heavyweight forwarder to total logistics player is Burlington Air Express.
Our cover story, which begins on Page 8, examines the Irvine, Calif.-based company, which is fighting off the competition to expand its customer base worldwide.
Change also is needed in the boardrooms as companies try to find people to develop flexible plans for an ever-changing world.
Anyone remember when a freight forwarder was considered a specialist? Today, a specialist is a dirty word, a person with a one-track mind who must be replaced.
The Logistician For Hire signs are up from Maine to Monterrey.
The question is, where do you find what you need? Ian Putzger surveyed a group of management headhunters and air executives to find out the qualifications for a good logistics department head and just where you should be looking to fill that next executive opening. (See Page 14).
The American Association of Airport Executives, which represents more than 500 small U.S. airports, also knows what it wants, and that is to alter traditional transportation patterns, convincing shippers and traffic managers to abandon established airports in the Northeast and deep South for growing air cargo areas at smaller airports. (See Page 18).
For shippers who want to expand their operations to include the Middle East, this month's AirCommerce is for you.
The International Air Cargo Association holds its biennial international get-together in Dubai in two weeks. We celebrate the event with a look at some Mideast trade. Elizabeth Birge leads the effort, delivering a report to help allay shipper fears about doing business in the Persian Gulf region. (See Page 10).
Summarizing her findings, it is best to remember that you are dealing with 17 countries, each with a very distinct culture and special regulations. Know who you are dealing with and keep the rule book handy. The last bit of advice - and this is never easy to swallow in a mode where transportation is measured in hours and performance graded to include missed flights - is to practice patience. Time and careful planning are the ways of the desert.
Careful is also the watchword for El Al Israel Airlines and other carriers that ferry precious stones from the Mideast. The diamond trade is big business for Israel. Almost half of 1995's total $4.66 billion in airborne imports originated in the Mideast.
Tom Baldwin, in his AirCommerce debut, writes about the task of securing the millions of dollars in diamonds that move by air from South African mines to Israeli diamond cutters and finally to American jewelers. (See Page 10).
Securing a new airport for Berlin is the subject of a report on Page 16. The German government must decide soon whether it will expand an existing facility or bow to pressure and create a major 24-hour facility to handle passengers and cargo and serve as a natural bridge between Western and Eastern Europe.
What do they say, ''The more things change, the more they stay the same.'' Don't believe it, the only thing that is permanent is change.