Northwest Airlines Cargo is frequently the leader in announcing rate changes, surcharges or other market initiatives. Jim Friedel, president of NWA Cargo, says delays don't help anyone. 'We feel it's very important to be on top of tactical issues,' he says. 'With pricing, we don't see the need for very slow deliberations.' Northwest is the only U.S. passenger airline with a freighter fleet. NWA Cargo became a separate company this year. Friedel, 36, joined Northwest in 1991 and worked on the passenger side before moving to cargo in 1996. He majored in economics at Princeton and once toyed with the idea of pursuing a Ph.D. in urban transportation.
Friedel rarely speaks at industry conferences but 'is a great listener,' says Rich McCrady, president of CF AirFreight. 'We may not always like what we hear from Jim, but he has thought things out well. He is consistently looking for ways in which to work outside the box.'One way that Friedel demonstrated his willingness to try new approaches was the launching last summer of a freighter service between Japan and Cincinnati, the North American hub for DHL Worldwide Express. DHL provides about half the traffic on the flight.