Bold steps for EuropeÃ¢â‚¬™s big two cargo carriers
Desperate times often call for desperate measures, but for cargo carriers battered and nearly beaten by the harshest air cargo environment in history, itÃ¢â‚¬™s more likely bold and innovative action that will see them through. Donald Urquhart and Peter Conway examine how two of EuropeÃ¢â‚¬™s biggest air cargo groups Ã¢â‚¬“ Air France-KLM and Lufthansa Ã¢â‚¬“ are confronting the crisis.
October 1, 2009
Ã¢â‚¬Å“When you are planning networks and capacity growth in 2008/09 and suddenly you are back at 2003 levels, you are hit hard,Ã¢â‚¬Â says Michael Wisbrun, EVP KLM Cargo and chairman for AFKLM Cargo.
For Wisbrun and his Air France counterpart Ã¢â‚¬“ Florence Parly, EVP Air France Cargo and deputy chairman AF-KLM Cargo Ã¢â‚¬“ much of the problems cargo carriers now find themselves in is a result of simply being too slow and/or too reluctant to cut capacity deeply enough.
Ã¢â‚¬Å“We are not responsible for the crisis, but we do feel extremely responsible for how we react to it,Ã¢â‚¬Â says Wisbrun to journalists in Amsterdam last month as he and his top cargo executives explained in detail the cargo groupÃ¢â‚¬™s unique strategyfor dealing with the crisis.
Drastic capacity cuts
Parly, highlighting the need for greater industry discipline in managing capacity emphasises that the AF-KLM group were front runners in reducing capacity Ã¢â‚¬“ taking action as early as the beginning of last winter and not waiting for the full impact of the downturn to do it.