A global player from the United Kingdom


HAE Group, a prominent GSSA in the airfreight industry, proudly traces its roots back to the United Kingdom. Established in 1997 at East Midlands Airport, HAE began as a purchaser of fixed capacity and has since grown to become a global player with operations in various countries.

While HAE Group now operates in key regions worldwide, including the Americas, Ireland, Italy, the Middle East, Africa, and China, the UK remains a vital market for the company, serving as its headquarters. “It’s where it all began and it’s still HQ,” Richard Thackeray, COO of HAE Group, said.

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Operational range

In the UK, HAE Aircraft & Cargo Handling provides a range of services. The company operates as a licensed ground handler, with warehouse operations at Belfast International Airport and a dedicated Cargo Handling and Operations company at East Midlands Airport.

At Belfast International Airport, HAE offers full-service handling for airlines, freight forwarders, express, e-commerce, and domestic parcel carriers.

At East Midlands Airport, the focus is on specialist e-commerce and domestic parcel cargo handling, including customs brokerage.

“HAE is a full service GSA being able to offer CSA, GSA, TCM and even BPO services to the industry, we have a variety of contracts we perform for clients with combinations of field sales, inside sales, marketing, bookings, operations, customer service, finance using out IT systems,” Thackeray highlighted.

While the role of GSA has evolved amidst market disruptions, HAE Group recognises the continued importance of “boots on the ground”. Local market knowledge and personalised service remain crucial in serving airline partners and clients.

“Strong, professional airline relationships and a track record of being entrepreneurial have meant many long term airline partners have asked us to expand out network to mutual benefit,” he stated.

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Future focus

Operating in the UK market presents both challenges and opportunities for HAE Group. Declining yields and rising costs pose significant hurdles, particularly on traditional routes with limited cargo demand. “However, the challenge is also an opportunity to embrace technology and bring some new thinking to our marketplace,” Thackeray was swift to add.

HAE Group sees the worldwide market and the diversification of commodities as significant opportunities. “This means opportunities are there you just need to be innovative, solutions driven for your customers and engage with your carrier partners,” Thackeray explained.

While the current economic cycle presents its difficulties, the company remains optimistic about the future, driven by their commitment to excellence, adaptability, and embracing new thinking. “We are in a tough part of the economic cycle and we look forward to a stronger second half of the year,” Thackeray said.