Emirates SkyCargo, Qatar Airways and Southwest Airlines each received platinum awards in their respective tonnage categories at Air Cargo World’s annual Air Cargo Excellence award ceremony Monday at the Shangri-La Hotel in Kuala Lumpur. Ted Stevens International Airport in Anchorage, Frankfurt-Hahn Airport and nine other airports from around the globe received awards in the airport competition.
The awards are based on surveys completed by Air Cargo World’s readers – forwarders and other cargo clients judge carriers, while representatives from carriers judge airports. Carriers were measured on customer service, performance, value and information technology. The airports had been rated on performance, value, facilities and operations.
Emirates took top prize in the Air Carrier – 800,000 or More Tonnes division; Lufthansa representatives will take home the diamond award. Cargolux accepted the diamond award in Qatar’s category of Air Carrier – 300,000 to 799,999 Tonnes. Swiss WorldCargo took diamond next to Southwest’s platinum in the category for carriers who transport less than 299,999 tonnes of freight.
The airports were divided by region and ranked into three categories – airports that see fewer than 400,000 tonnes of airfreight each year; those who see between 400,000 tonnes and one million tonnes; and those who see more than one million tonnes of freight. In North American, the Houston and Chicago Rockford airports joined Anchorage in the winners circle. Leipzig and Zurich were recognized as outstanding European airports alongside Frankfurt-Hahn. In the Latin America and Middle East competitions, Santiago and Dubai took home the prizes, respectively. Finally, in the Asia/Pacific tonnage categories, Hong Kong, Osaka and Macau celebrated wins over a crowded field of finalists.
In an interview conducted before the award ceremony, John Parrott, manager of Ted Stevens International Airport, said that freight numbers at his airport 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 said. “We didn’t see the big Christmas push, anywhere near where we had seen in previous years. We’re pretty much in the doldrums.”
Emirates ranked very high in all the carrier categories, achieving its best score in information technology. Lufthansa also saw high marks in information technology. Both carriers consistently rank toward the top in the annual surveys, and Lufthansa’s Nils Haupt says that’s because of a constant stress on service. In an interview conducted before the awards ceremony, he explained that since Lufthansa is in an expensive part of the world, the carrier usually can’t bring costs down when compared to others.
“Our rates are traditionally a bit higher than those of the other carriers, so you really need to rely on quality,” he said. “This is a thing we really focus on, and which we will focus on in the future. We need to be the premium carrier, and our customers see us as a premium carrier.”
Ram Menen, who accepted the award for Emirates, will take this win into what he sees as a challenging year for cargo. He expects the first two quarters to be very slow, and with Europe remaining to be a huge uncertainty, it’s hard to predict when things will pick up, he says. But as long as Emirates stays true to its standards, the carrier will stay on top,” he said.
“That’s what we hang our hat on, that commitment to quality and that commitment to commitment, basically,” he said. “It’s what we focus very heavily on. Service excellence is something that’s a part of how we do things.”