Following another year of success, HAE Group will move into larger offices at East Midlands Airport and take on additional facilities, UK & Ireland director John Ward tells Air Cargo Week.
He says 2018 was a strong year with new airline representation and significant solutions and handling business growth. HAE started representing Oman Air in the Midlands, North, Scotland and Northern Ireland. The solutions business grew 50% year-on-year while the handling sector doubled due to e-commerce growth at East Midlands.
HAE has kicked off 2019 with sustained growth in all sectors. Ward comments: “Once we are over the current uncertainty we believe any backlog of pent up demand will be released into the market, on both imports and exports.”
Yes, the current uncertainty, Britain will be leaving the European Union in a few short weeks and Prime Minister Theresa May has been busy meeting European leaders to try and win concessions to make her deal acceptable back home.
Having flown around Europe, racking up air miles and getting her proposals rejected by various men, British industry and businesses are getting on with their jobs, ensuring whether it is deal or no deal, business will continue.
Ward admits that it is difficult to forecast how imports and exports will be affected, but says: “Change presents opportunity, if you are able to adapt”.
He adds: “We offer services within, from, and to the EU; however, we also control cross-trade cargo from the UK which doesn’t touch EU territory and we deliver all of this through our overseas offices, and the excellent partners we work with in global locations.”
Planning for Brexit
HAE has invested in additional customs personnel “should they be required at our UK facilities to assist if required”.
Ward says: “There has been a lot of planning to ensure that the impact of Brexit can be positive. Our Solutions team have diversified operations to ensure that in event of border issues we can convert ground based product onto aircraft.”
HAE has invested in its Customs Compliance and increased headcount by 100% and upgraded technology. Ward explains: “Within our technology strategy by incorporating geo-compliance elements into our in-house GSSA portal, and we have sourced external software which helps our internal systems interact with the new customs CDS system in the UK.”
Whatever happens in the coming weeks and months, the multi-platform service provider is in a strong position, offering customers a “one-stop shop” where they can use blue-chip carriers. HAE can also provide assistance with customs formalities at origin, destination and transit point, and collection and delivery of cargo.
Ward says: “We can provide these services in a modular fashion if that is what the customer needs, or we can integrate them into an end-to-end service offering if they prefer that too. The customer has complete control of their choices.”
Looking to the future, Ward sees growth in emerging markets such as Africa and South America. He says: “We also see our unique technology led services be of use in the cross border e-commerce sector where we can dovetail a number of our products GSA, Solutions and Handling to facilitate the market.”
The UK is a mature market, but Ward sees the main opportunities coming from investments in areas such as IT, sales and customer service functions.
Ward says: “The drive for efficiency and profitability in our partner airlines is creating this demand for people to reach out where maybe they have been content to continue as is up until now.”