Mission to achieve low carbon future

American Airlines, with new facilities to store, handle and move cargo, is all geared up to meet pent-up demand. Jessica Tyler, President, Cargo and VP, Operations Innovation & Delivery told CARGOTALK that real-time data, seamless connectivity, and transparency in pricing and capacity will be crucial areas in 2022.

Ritika Arora Bhola

How is American Airlines gearing up to meet the increased demand and cent per cent capacity utilisation?

As an airline, we are moving forward to meet demand from passengers and cargo customers. Our network offers the broadest reach in the industry, and we can connect with the customers across the world. While the passenger demand has remained low, cargo-only programme was a success during COVID-19. But our cargo-only flights have been reduced to make way for the full return of our passenger services. With all our aircraft in the air, this means more opportunities for the cargo customers to take full advantage of the breadth of our network.

Throw light on the new freighters launched or routes initiated for both cargo and pax ops following resumption of air services?

In partnership with Qatar Airways, our New York to Doha flight will begin in June, allowing our customers to reach the Middle East and connect to the African continent. We are also extending transatlantic services from Philadelphia to Athens; Chicago to Barcelona and Dallas Fort Worth International Airport (DFW) to both Dublin and Madrid. We are also increasing flights from Miami to Buenos Aires, which will operate twice daily from this summer along with expanded daily service from DFW.

Our wide-bodied aircraft will focus on long-haul international routes this summer, which is great news for cargo. With more fuel-efficient, wide-bodied aircraft on order, we have a lot of growth, new air routes, and connectivity options for customers ahead of us.

Could you elaborate on the strategies devised to enhance the company’s operations, business and network?

I think we learnt in the ongoing pandemic that creativity and adaptability alone prevail above all else when it comes to making rapid progress.  Partnerships, digitization and staying close to our customers’ changing needs will be the guidepost for us as we evolve our operations. This year, we are focused on moving in the direction of real-time data, seamless connectivity, and transparency in pricing and capacity thus making it easier for customers to do business with us and better equip our team so that they can serve our customers well.

Share with us digital/physical infra for storage, handling, and transportation of cold chain products and bulk cargo?

We offer a variety of products to the customers to tailor the handling of shipments to their needs. From the launch of our re-branded pet programme, American PetEmbark, to our recently announced Life Sciences and Healthcare dedicated product suite, we are now looking at how to improve products, and offer the customers more resources to make their experiences with us as easy as possible. We strive for excellence in handling and procedures for our products and facilities, exemplified by our CEIV Pharma certification in DFW, PHL, and MIA with more stations this year.

Sustainability and digitization are the buzzwords in air cargo sector. Share with us the initiatives taken in this regard?

Our mission is to increase fuel efficiency, reduce greenhouse gas emissions and plan low-carbon future. We are the first US airline with a clear path to net zero carbon emissions by 2050, and committed to develop a science-based target by 2035. To reach this goal, we have invested in newer, fuel-efficient aircraft and sustainable fuel, among others. In 2020, we had introduced a programme for customers to calculate emissions, manage their own carbon footprint through a partnership with Cool Effect. We believe it is critical to take responsibility as a company and take action at an individual level with our customers.

Although the industry has made rapid progress over the years, we still have a long way to go. It is a daily commitment to uncover efficiencies and greener best practices, doing our best to care for this world and the generations to come.

Could you explain what makes you better than your competitors? How do you ensure efficient customer service and supply chain operations?

Our goal is to be an airline our customers can count on. To achieve this, we are laser-focused on recovering better than anyone when things do not go as planned (a regular part of airline operations). The safety of our team and the customers comes first and our business comes second. The best brands you interact with do what they do better than anyone else. Focus and a desire to keep doing better are the keys to navigate forward.

Apart from a rise in freight rates and restricted ocean trade, what other blockages is the industry facing of late?

The capacity crunch the industry is experiencing due to the delayed return in long haul global passenger travel and infrastructure challenges at airports and other modes of cargo experience various bottlenecks at ports and borders for a variety of reasons. Entry curbs for crew and passengers have been streamlined and are travel-friendly, which is crucial to rebuilding global networks. They, in turn, will create efficiencies and reliability in the supply chain. This will correct the imbalance between supply and demand. The best we can do as an air cargo industry and supply chain is to work together to extend the capacity, where we can be as efficient as possible.