British Airways World Cargo

British Airways World Cargo

Managing director

There is no doubting the amount of change the air car-go industry has endured in re-cent years. The global economic downturn has hit hard and we continue to strive to overcome these challenges. New technologies have also equipped us with the ability to work closely with our customers to drive greater efficiencies and to focus on customer-service excellence.

The question remains where we go from here. I believe the industry is well-placed to play a strong part in the economic recovery: We are seeing signs from the U.S. and the Asia-Pacific that current growth can be sustained.

One of the current failings of the industry is capacity management. I feel that during the next year we must continue a dialogue with forwarders to look at ways to improve our planning. Flights fully sold a number of days before departure often leave with empty capacity because of last-minute cancellations. Block Space Agreements and Permanent Bookings help to solve this but there is more to be done. Improved communication between carriers and forwarders will change this for the better to provide the very best service for our customers through a more efficient allocation of capacity.

The need for flexibility and an ability to react quickly to changing situations will continue to be crucial to success throughout the next year. Recent trends suggest that integrators are losing market share. This represents an opportunity for airlines and forwarders to build their business. The focus on clearly defined, premium products allows airlines to compete more effectively with integrators. There will also be an emphasis on the speed at which freight moves through airports to ensure that customers' needs are met. The year ahead promises to be as competitive as ever but, nevertheless, I am looking forward to it with a good deal of optimism.