Air carriers have acted proactively, with many announcing temperaturecontrolled products to help maintain the efficacy of their customersÃ¢â‚¬™ products. Accordingly, AA Cargo has introduced a new service for temperature-controlled shipments, ExpediteTC, and has recently announced that it has received accreditation as a Qualified Envirotainer Provider (QEP) in 61 cities in 24 countries.
Despite industry reports, such as the recent International Air Transport Association (IATA) figures citing the fact air cargo yields are down over 20 per cent, most carriers have moved up their service quality as a result of diminished pressure on capacity. In an effort to provide a better value proposition, carriers are implementing programmes that provide enhanced customer service and reduced costs. These include Cargo 2000 and IATAÃ¢â‚¬™s e-freight initiatives, both of which American Airlines participates in.
The Asia and Middle East markets continue to play a significant role in American AirlinesÃ¢â‚¬™ global cargo strategy and are supported by both dedicated American Airlines employees and through its broad team of General Sales Agents (GSAs).
Ã¢â‚¬Å“Apart from Tokyo Narita (NRT) and Shanghai (PVG), which are American Airlines online cities, the GSAs continue to support the companyÃ¢â‚¬™s interests in the offline markets via our comprehensive interline network to NRT, PVG or online gateways in Europe,Ã¢â‚¬Â Reedy says.
In Spring 2010, American Airlines Cargo is increasing its presence in the Asia market by adding a daily B777 service between Chicago-Beijing. Ã¢â‚¬Å“Wewill also continue to explore further online and offline opportunities where itproves commercially viable,Ã¢â‚¬Â he adds.
No sacrificing quality
Reedy emphasises, however, that as airlines continue to make network adjustments, thereby reducing available capacity, service quality cannot be compromised. As a result American Airlines Cargo will continue to identify ways of improving the customer experience by offering direct bookings via AA CargoÃ¢â‚¬™s website, detailed tracking, providing automated notifications and providing a variety of product services, he says.
For example, AA CargoÃ¢â‚¬™s well-received temperature-controlled product, ExpediteTC, is currently available from online AA cities only. Ã¢â‚¬Å“But we are in the process of extending ExpediteTC to include interline on a select number of origins and destinations,Ã¢â‚¬Â Reedy explains.
Unlike other carriers that have parked aircraft during the economic downturn, AA Cargo, which operates 900 aircraft and more than 3,400 flights daily, has responded by shifting capacity or frequency in some markets. For example, American Airlines plans to add flights and destinations, as well as focus its presence in Dallas/Fort Worth, Chicago, Miami, New York and Los Angeles while keeping 2010 capacity relatively flat by eliminating unprofitable flying in non-core markets.
For Summer 2010, compared to the Winter 2009/2010 schedule, the company plans to add 57 daily flights in Chicago, 23 in Miami, 19 in Dallas/Fort Worth, and 11 in New York and Los Angeles combined.
Ã¢â‚¬Å“By implementing a number of initiatives, including leveraging an increased network, moving forward with our fleet renewal plan, delivering our cold chain product and proactively helping our customers prepare for the 100 per cent air cargo screening mandates, AA Cargo is better positioned to address the marketÃ¢â‚¬™s near-term challenges and be competitive and successful for thelong haul,Ã¢â‚¬Â Reedy concludes.