MASkargo counts its lucky stars

An early strategy to move cautiously following a major restructuring of the passenger and cargo side of the business a year-and-a-half ago has left MASkargo lean and nimble and well positioned to ride out the current industry turmoil.

“We’re lucky, we’re not too big, we don’t have too many planes,” the head of Malaysia Airlines’ cargo division tells Payload Asia in a mid-December interview reflecting on the worseningair cargo market.

“One of our advantages is that we’re not too big so we don’t have too much freighter capacity which means we’re able to balance the flights and trim it to suit the conditions,” he adds.

His mood, like pretty much all in the air cargo industry is, at the same time, incredulous at how the global economy appears to worsen by the day and yet oddly calm, with even the slightest flicker of optimism. Perhaps it’s a foible of the airline industry where its veterans have long ago learned the art of ‘grinning and bearing it’.

When Shahari Sulaiman took over as cargo boss at MASkargo in September 2007 he could never in his wildest imagination have foreseen the global economic meltdown now underway. Just one day into his job he gave a press briefi ng at Asian Aerospace 2007 in Hong Kong where he outlined his plans for the cargo arm.

Although new to the top job, he was not new to air cargo having working in MASkargo for a number of years, and while his tone was confident, his plan was clearly cautious.