Air France-KLM Martinair Cargo Transforms Cargo to Address DemandBy Sofía Hanna | Wed, 12/15/2021 - 11:29
Q: How did the company address fluctuations in demand and airfreight costs during the pandemic?
A: During the COVID-19 crisis, we actively looked for ways to improve our logistic solutions. We took every necessary action to maintain our full network schedule and cargo activities to satisfy our customers. During this period, we used our passenger airplanes to transport cargo, which was a successful strategy that helped us meet logistics demand. The period was an important time for air cargo and allowed us to simplify our processes and become more efficient.
Q: What role has the company played in the distribution of COVID-19 vaccines and how did you adapt your operations to offer seamless distribution?
A: We had to prepare our logistic chain to carry the vaccines according to their transport specifications. In AFKLMP cargo, a specific task force was created to prepare this historic vaccine transportation together with all the actors of the Pharma industry. There could be no mistakes in their transportation.
This process was successful and the world is now at the point where air transport is essential for vaccine transportation. For example, Air France KLM Martinair Cargo established a partnership with UNICEF for the transportation of COVID-19 vaccines to ensure that less prosperous countries also receive enough vaccines.
Q: How has the lack of sea containers affected or benefited Air France-KLM and what opportunities have emerged as a result?
A: The lack of containers for sea cargo has created more opportunities to transport shipments by air. We are not trying to capitalize on the crisis but we want to offer an option to customers who are facing issues due to lack of capacity in maritime transportation. New customers are using our logistic solutions and discover the benefits we can provide to their activities. This period has resulted in structural changes in the logistics and transport industry.
Q: What are Air France-KLM Cargo’s expansion plans in the Americas?
A: Air France-KLM Cargo has several stations in the Americas and most of our cargo activity is actually transported using passenger flights capacity; the rest is carried out by our full freighters flights. We are trying to capitalize further on the available space on passenger flights but we are also forming alliances in the Americas that are/will allow us to further expand our offer. We want to grow in this geographic sector because both passengers and our cargo customers have a growing interest in reaching these locations for inbound and outbound flows.
Q: What advantages has your presence in Mexico brought to your global operations?
A: AFKLMP group wants to capitalize on its assets here in Mexico. We have our own warehouse and a specialized team at Mexico City International Airport (AICM). Mexico has always been an essential hub for our operations and we hope to further expand in this dynamic market. Our plan is to continuously develop and diversify our offer and capitalize on passenger flights and our two weekly freighters to answer any need that arises, as we did successfully since the beginning of the sanitary crisis.
Q: Which of your solutions are tailor-made and what are the challenges of offering this type of service?
A: We offer tailor-made solutions to industries with highly specific needs, such as pharmaceuticals, fresh produce, hi-tech and the aerospace and automotive industries. For example, the transport of pharmaceuticals requires special facilities, dedicated supervision and special handling expertise from our AFKLMP teams. We ensure that the transportation of these products is managed appropriately in line with the highest standards of air freight transportation.
Each product has challenges, so we need facilities and well-trained employees to address them. It is a daily challenge but our customers benefit from it and it differentiates us in the airfreight transportation industry.
Q: How has the company innovated in its services to support just-in-time and other specialized logistics operations in different industries?
A: We have made significant investments in both of our hubs in Paris and Amsterdam. In the current situation of the company, it has not been easy but investing in cargo is key for the future of the industry. We improved recently our facilities for pharma, fresh and express products. Even though these investments may have seemed risky at the time, they have allowed us to keep moving forward and reach new quality standards for our customers.
Q: How has digitalization empowered your solutions and what innovations do you seek to introduce in the short term?
A: AFKLMP has been a pioneer regarding digital transformation, introducing functionalities that have improved the online customer’s journey significantly (such as track and trace, online quoting and booking process) and modernized the airfreight industry.
The next step for us is to further contribute to a more digital industry both on the operations level as in the commercial domain. We expect to soon reach a new milestone with the “modify my booking” tool, which will allow users to modify/update information and improve the logistic chain efficiency. We want to be easy to do business with; this is the reason we are investing in our digital tools.
Q: How in line are you with your sustainability objectives for 2030 and what are your priorities to ensure both environmental and economic sustainability?
A: If the aerospace industry does not change, its CO2 emissions will heavily affect the future. We are leaving behind the old ways of operating, which did not support the environment. We are implementing programs such as the adoption of sustainable aviation fuels made from alternative sources like used cooking oils, agricultural residues, or non-fossil CO2. This will help reduce our environmental impact and help us reach the 2030 sustainability objectives. AFKLMP cargo will contribute to make the aerospace industry cleaner and sustainable.
Air France KLM Martinair Cargo is the cargo arm of Air France-KLM Group and a key player in the airfreight industry. It has two hubs, at Paris Charles de Gaulle airport and at Amsterdam Airport Schiphol.