New offices and contracts help AIA grow

Airbridge International Agencies CEO, Mark Andrew

Airbridge International Agencies (AIA) has had a strong year with tonnage growing 25 per cent due to new offices and carrier contracts, says chief executive officer Mark Andrew.

The company has opened offices in Cyprus, gained Thomas Cook and Cobalt Air and existing clients have been performing well, including China Southern Airlines, which added a second daily London to Guangzhou service.

Andrew says AIA has also invested in new IT systems and online booking platforms to offer better customer service.

So far this year, tonnage is up 25 per cent and turnover by 15 per cent. Andrew is expecting a strong peak season: “We are now entering our peak period so we are expecting some good results which coupled with results so far should give us an improved performance on 2016 for both tonnage and revenue.”

New staff also help, Andrew says: “We have just taken on Jaime Salguero in our worldwide and commercial vice president role to look at ways to expand further our brand in terms of offices and mandate carriers.”

AIA plans to finish its European Union expansion in 2018, then Asia will be the focus. The UK is performing well due to the weak Pound, while key routes to the Far East and Australasia are busy, and Thomas Cook flights to New York have seen strong results along with Cobalt services to Cyprus.

Andrew feels AIA offers airlines a number of advantages including its knowledgeable staff, flexible business model and offering cost savings for carriers from having to set up their own offices, making cargo a more profitable set up and inserting a valuable revenue stream into their operation.

He says: “We are always looking for the long term relationship with a carrier, a win-win solution. AIA has seen considerable growth over the past few years and that’s down to our current airline mandates.

“I would like to think that any new carrier looking at AIA would see these results and feedback from current airlines and understand how they too can enjoy the benefits of having AIA work with them.”

Andrew says a GSSA must offer more than just sales, marketing, reservations and accounting. He says: “We offer a total solution of not just the mentioned basics but other solutions like cargo training to airlines so they understand the costs involved in carrying cargo, IT software, e-commerce solutions, audits of all stations on the airlines network, assistance with ACC3 certifications, charter work for the clients fleet, linking up SPA potentials for the airlines network, the list is never ending.”

The market is facing many challenges, not just Brexit and potential trade deals. Andrew says: “We have to be mindful of competition, rates, yields, market shifts and ensure we are in-front of these so that we can adapt accordingly.”