Air Logistics Group to expand in Asian market

UK-based Air Logistics Group, which has been in Asia for the last three years, wants to grow its footprint further in the region both organically, as well as through acquisition as Asian economies continue their rapid expansion. By Wong Joon San.

Air Logistics chief operating officer Stephen Dawkins, founder of the company in the UK in 1994, says the group, which opened its office at Narita Airport in Japan last year, provides a full range of cargo services to airlines. “Asia makes up about 0.3 percentage points of our total business, and our target is to grow it to 15 per cent,” Dawkins says, adding that the company will record annual revenue of US$700 million for fiscal 2011. About 10 per cent of the Group’s business is from the US, and the majority of its business is from Europe and South America. Dawkins is optimistic about the company’s future as more airlines are looking to independent organisations like Air Logistics – not linked to any forwarders or airline – to help them in the market. Seeking acquisition With three major worldwide financial institutions shareholders and a robust and experienced management team, Air Logistics is already speaking with a number of potential acquisition targets in the region. But the target area does not include China, where it has an office in Shanghai. Air Logistics intends to grow organically in this market. Dawkins says Air Logistics recorded a 15 per cent rise in tonnage handled in 2010, and described it as a good year for the group. He points out that the group has always recorded double digit growth, as a result of organic, as well as acquisitionled growth. Not only is Air Logistics to follow airlines into new markets, it will also open offices in areas if there is good potential there, he adds. Market trend Asked about changing market trends, Dawkins says that there was a shift, although just a small one, from doing business in the west to Asia as a result of more capacity in the region. “With our advantages, we can invest where we need to in the region,” he says, adding that this was the approach which Air Logistics was taking in Asia. “We see a long term relationship with forwarders in the region but we have no intention of being a forwarder.” “As an organisation supporting airlines, we can give the carriers the statistical support which they want and need. We have invested in IT and software to ensure that the data between us and the airline is transmitted quickly to give us a competitive edge,” Dawkins says. Air Logistics had invested US$8 million in IT and software system which connect it via electronic data interchange (EDI) to its 105 airline customers, he says. Dawkins says that Air Logistics established its operations in Hong Kong three years ago as a foothold to understand the aviation market in the territory as it was a complex market. “We wanted to make sure that we came with the right professionals for the job,” he says. Local talent Air Logistics places a great emphasis on local talent, Dawkins says, adding that: “For us, the local employee is important and we also support the local economy.” Air Logistics provides at least one experienced staff for any operation, supported by local staff, he says. Shanghai is a good example of how the company hired local talent to manage its operations, he adds. Air Logistics Group, working with a well established portfolio of Airline Partners, offers cargo solutions to destinations worldwide. The company currently has a comprehensive global network of 54 fully owned offices spanning 31 countries.