2012 Air Cargo Excellence Awards
“For the end of this year we expect a good result, but it will be less than 2011 and the record year of 2010,” Haupt says, adding that this is pretty much what everyone in the market will see. “There might be some markets that still can be quite successful. In general, you have seen the figures from Cathay, you’ve seen the figures from other Asian carriers, you’ve read that Singapore Airlines is decreasing capacity, so growth will for sure not come out of the Asian market this year.”
Even with the rocky economy, Lufthansa is focused on customer service and the other metrics the Air Cargo Excellence survey measures. He says Lufthansa sends surveys to its customers three times a year to make sure the carrier is doing a good job. While the results are positive, Haupt says there’s always room for improvement. “You always can get better — optimize your processes, optimize customer service, optimize your ground handling,” he says.
Southwest and Swiss WorldCargo topped a carrier category that also included Virgin Atlantic, Air New Zealand and Air Canada among the five finalists. Southwest received its highest marks in performance, while customers of Swiss WorldCargo felt that information technology was Swiss’ best asset. Qatar Airways received the top prize for the first time in the awards survey, nudging out Cargolux by only a few points. Customers recognized Qatar for a high level of customers service and performance.
At Ted Stevens International Airport, manager John Parrott says that freight numbers are currently down a bit, reflecting an unfortunate trend seen throughout the world. He added that his airport’s struggles are mostly tied to the Asia-Pacific region. “We believe we’re a pretty good barometer of that Asia-North American economic climate, and it’s just very cool right now,” he says. “We didn’t see the big Christmas push, anywhere near where we had seen in previous years. We’re pretty much in the doldrums.”
The rest of the year should bring some turnaround for the airport, Parrott says, as he’s hearing from his carriers that the industry will start to grow a bit toward the end of 2012.
“This is one of those economic times that we all go through, and then there’s a recovery,” he says. “Generally, what happens in all kinds of cyclical things is that it comes back stronger than it was, but different than it was, and we want to make sure that we and our carriers are positioned to take advantage of the recovery and the differences, whatever they may be.”
Ken Ryan of Chicago Rockford traveled to Kuala Lumpur to accept the top award in the smallest North American tonnage category on his airport’s behalf. He says the airport did so well in this year’s survey — carriers awarded Rockford with high scores in each metric — because of the tireless nature of his airport colleagues.
“I have been in the private sector my whole career. I can tell you that this airport, I have not been in a more entrepreneurial atmosphere anywhere,” he says. “The airport is absolutely dedicated to the customers that are currently there. If there is an issue, we immediately try to resolve it.”