Augusto Iturralde
Mexico and Central America Director
Amerijet International

Great Expectations for Air-Pharma Certifications

Fri, 12/01/2017 - 16:57

After a period of stagnation, the air cargo sector is poised to grow thanks to a strong global economy that is boosting international trade, according to Augusto Iturralde, Director of Mexico and Central America at Amerijet International Airlines. The cargo airline wants to take advantage of this positive trend by improving its services for pharmaceutical deliveries.

“The increasing demand in the pharmaceutical and other sectors has enabled us to focus our efforts on offering a better service in this industry,” says Iturralde. “Hence our concentration in getting the IATA CEIV Pharma certification.” According to IATA, this certification is aimed at reducing product losses due to temperature deviations during air transportation operations. Being the first allcargo airline in the US to obtain this certification, Amerijet expects to further penetrate the pharmaceutical markets in the countries where it is already present.

IATA says that high-value cargo, such as pharmaceuticals, represented US$12 billion in 2016, a number that is expected to increase to US$16.7 billion by 2020. To guarantee its share of the lucrative market, Amerijet International has recognized the need to update its processes and infrastructure in Mexico. Still, the company is outperforming itself in terms of sales in comparison to 2015. “Globally speaking, we grew 1 percent more in 2016 than in 2015.”

merijet International specializes in the transportation of hazardous materials, oversize cargo transportation, live animals and products for the oil, aerospace and automotive industry. The airlines’ main routes are to Central and South America and the Caribbean. Between 2016 and 2017, the company’s regularly transported freight grew from 9,396 to 9,431 tons. And in 2016, the company accumulated a total 2,844 flight hours in Mexico, according to DGAC. Amerijet International employs 750 workers in Mexico, has a fleet of six aircraft and has 90 inter-airline contracts, according to CANAERO. In Mexico, this airline operates out of AICM, Merida International Airport and Cancun International Airport and has offices in Guadalajara International Airport, Queretaro Intercontinental Airport and Monterrey International Airport.

When enumerating the key challenges to tackle in the global and Latin American cargo sectors, Iturralde identifies disruptive technologies in the form of drone deliveries and 3D printing that cuts the need to ship goods as the main issues. To counter these, “Amerijet Airlines exceeds its costumers’ expectations based on a high-quality service,” he says. On the growth of e-commerce and the ensuing need to improve service levels and increase capacity to keep up with demand, Iturralde points out that manufacturers and retailers increasingly seek to reach their consumers as quickly and cost-effectively as possible. He underlines how global supply chains now must provide end-to-end track and trace options and ensure reliable delivery times and smooth cross-border operations. “Amerijet International is now running personal shipments and other products that meet some needs of the e-commerce industry, but these kinds of services are limited because of customs regulations in some countries we operate.”

New trends are reshaping the logistics market as trade increases and e-commerce becomes more popular. Iturralde says competition with new players and other transportation is a key phenomenon to watch as freight forwarders offer more air-sea, air-road or air-rail products to ensure flexibility in price and shipment time.

Amerijet International supports the development of the manufacturing sector in Mexico by being flexible. “We are in the position to adapt our itineraries to our customers’ needs and have even changed aircraft to handle urgent operations,” says Iturralde. He says Amerijet International noticed an economic upturn between July and November that was boosted by Hanjin’s bankruptcy, but a positive global trade and advantageous economic environment have played a key role in promoting this development.”

Going forward, the company wants to develop new routes out of Mexico to airports in Queretaro, El Bajio and Monterrey. It also wants to strengthen its presence in Guadalajara, El Bajio and Campeche, says Iturralde. Amerijet International is also updating its fleet by changing two Boeing 767-200s for a couple of Boeing 767-300s.