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Air France-KLM Cargo said a decision to report cargo and passenger results as one figure was not emblematic of the carrier losing interest in air freight.
Speaking to The Loadstar at Air Cargo Europe in Munich this week, AF-KLM Cargo executive vice president Marcel de Nooijer said freight remained very important, but the carrier had been operating an “arbitrary” system that hindered cargo development.
“We operated under a system where cargo was charged for all services providing bellyhold capacity, even in non-sellable destinations,” he said. “To other carriers – whose allocation was only attached to sellable destinations – it made us look as if we were underperforming.”
Mr de Nooijer said following internal debate, the carrier had opted to switch to a contribution-based system for cargo services.
“Cargo very much remains an important part of the business,” he said. “Other carriers have scrapped freighter services, whereas we have kept them.”
This, he said, demonstrated the importance the company attached to cargo operations – it has six freighters, three 777s and three 747s.
“The freighters provide cargo space for regions with either less passenger density, or to which passenger services would be untenable,” he continued. “We fly these into both coasts of Africa as well as to South America – we are focused on getting the right footprint in the right markets.”
Mr de Nooijer’s colleague, AF-KLM vice president of Europe Gertjan Roelands, said being able to offer this flexibility was good for customers.
“And we have invested to better leverage our services,” he said. “”Our real-time booking tool, available as part of the myCargo bundle, is one example.”
Adding to this, Mr de Nooijer said, the carrier was investigating new business models and increasing its working partnerships.
“Working with partners, including Schiphol, we have developed a cross-border, express distribution service,” he said. “This is door-to-door. And at Schiphol, we have a new sorting system, capable of handling cool containers, which is part of our CEIV certified service.”
Mr de Nooijer said AF-KLM Cargo was the first carrier to offer complete end-to-end CEIV certified processes on its operations out of Schiphol.
“And we are our own handlers, so they are certified too, which is why we can say ‘end-to-end’,” he added.