We interviewed Chris Notter of Saudia Cargo to discuss their progress in the Air Cargo industry.
Saudia Airlines Cargo is a leading freight and mail carrier based in the Middle East but with a worldwide network. The company operates a fleet of wide bodied freighters as well as an extensive range of modern passenger aircraft. The cargo’s division strategy is to provide a high quality but simple service with the emphasis on reliability. Their motto is we fly anything-anywhere anytime.
Saudia Cargo is one of the biggest freight carriers in the industry. They’re based in the Middle East and have a world-wide network. Chris, who joins me today, heads up their Cargo Operations.
Chris, thanks so much for joining me, again, today. It’s really lovely to see you.
It’s a pleasure, always nice to see you.
So, what’s been happening since we met in Paris?
Yeah, it’s roughly a year ago, so we’ve continued with addressing all of the issues that we covered in the last interview, and the good thing is, internally, everybody is seeing the positivity, the enthusiasm, the energy, and that’s rolling across, now, to more parts of the business, and I’m pretty confident that our customers are also seeing the benefit of those initiatives.
Okay, great. And, what are your main objectives over the next couple of years?
The main objectives is to have a more quality-orientated product and to make people realise that Saudia is a very reliable option and we know that we’re one of many. So, it’s important that every time they experience something special, we can keep repeating that and keep moving forward all the time.
And, would you say that the cargo sector, in general, is slower to uptake technologies than, say, the passenger sector?
I would say if you put our industry, including the passenger side, against other industries, we haven’t been as quick as we should have been, and, then, if you put cargo with passenger, because of the differentials in the product, obviously one’s dealing with people, one’s dealing with trade and with cargo, we’re a little bit slower. So, yes, we could improve and we should improve. And, internally, we’re addressing those issues, as well.
What is it that we can do, or can the industry do? – It’s all to do with the speed of communication, information transparency, tracking. There’s things that customers, irrespective of what products or what services, they want to know exactly what’s going on, and we have to keep up with that demand. Otherwise, our customers won’t be as impressed as they should be.
And you said that Saudia is already on the road to doing that? Have you got…
We’re addressing all areas of improvement, all areas of opportunity, as most carriers are in the industry, and social media, and technology is one that has to be addressed by everybody. We’ve seen a huge rise, actually, in social media in recent years.
Has this helped you guys?
Yeah, it’s helped because people are more aware. So, people are aware of their options. They’re aware of alternatives. They’re aware of how things work. So, yes, that helps us because, you know, we’re seen as a logistics provider and a solutions provider.
And, what challenges can you foresee for the future for the industry, in general, and yourselves?
There’s always challenges in this industry, and, at the moment, it’s obviously capacity. There’s huge amounts of capacity on the market, that brings the obvious challenges, and if we don’t start to address a balance, then we’re always going to be going in peaks and troughs and we need a little consistent area, now, in moving forward. We also make things a little bit too complex, at times, as an industry. So, the more focus we have on simplicity and repeatability, continuity, access to information, that’ll make things a lot better for all of the customers in the entire industry.
Absolutely. And, finally, getting younger people into this industry, how do you feel about that?
This is one of the most important things that we have to do because you come to conferences, like this, and you see lots of regular, old faces and you see lots of characters, and I, myself, a little bit older than I wish I was, and we’re losing a little bit of the relay race principle, who we’re handing the baton on to, and if we don’t pass and utilise some of the experience in the industry, and give that opportunity to younger people, who maybe are not even aware of how interesting and how many opportunities you can get in this industry, then we’re not doing what we should be doing. So, we have to pass that baton on, from training, from focus, from letting people know what a great industry this is, from working with initiatives with IATA, with all the different carriers, the GHAs, trucking companies. The spectrum is huge, and all we have to do now is make it interesting for good people to come in, and if we have good people coming in, the industry will be great one day.
And is this something that you promote in Saudia?
We promote, yeah. We’re doing… We’ve got our own internal programme which is developing local Saudis and giving them an internationalised approach to business, letting them know how tough it is, getting them prepared, and we want Saudis to be at the forefront of our business in our entire network.
Excellent, well thank you so much for your comments and good luck with the rest of the show.
It’s a pleasure. Yeah, always a pleasure, and I’m glad to see you’ve been busy, as well. Thank you.
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