AF-KLM boldly embraces e-commerce express

While many unflattering accusations have been leveled at Air France KLM Martinair Cargo that it is no longer a serious cargo player after dramatically scaling down its freighter fleet, but in actual fact this is far from the truth. The Franco-Dutch carrier has been busy reinventing itself in a bid to adapt to what is clearly a fundamentally changed cargo environment. Donald Urquhart has the story from Paris.


AF-KLM boldly embraces e-commerce express


And reinvent it has, taking a bold step in embracing e-commerce full on, to the extent of even taking a page or two out of the integrator’s play book. The AF-KL-MP group’s recent unveiling to air cargo journalists of its brand spanking new €22 million HubExpress facility at Paris Charles De Gaulle Airport (CDG) in late May, clearly indicates the group still firmly believes in cargo, but just not the ‘old school’ version. While the carrier had insisted over a year ago in a press briefing in Amsterdam that it was redefining its cargo division to focus on higher yield products such as express and pharma, there has been little to show in the intervening period.

“This investment proves we attach a big importance to this activity and we strongly believe in the development of the express and postal business and this facility and that is why we have achieved a certain investment and dedicated so much energy to it,” said Air France Cargo EVP, Alain Malka. He adds that with AF-KLM’s extensive network with 450 daily flights through CDG alone, the new express offering “allows us to connect all over the world with multiple opportunities every day.”

The new express hub features an ITdriven, state-of-the-art sorting facility typical of the integrators’ setups, but virtually unheard of until now amongst the traditional mainline cargo carriers.