After 30 years in various roles in the passenger business, American Airlines Cargo managing director of global & key accounts, Lisa Oxentine hopes to be able to put this experience to good use in the cargo division.
She joined American Airlines in 1987 as a frontline customer service agent and has since held positions in areas including passenger service and operations, premium services, sales support operations, corporate products and passenger global sales and most recently leading the customer recovery team in the customer experience department.
She took over Roger Samways’ position following his promotion to vice president of the cargo sales division earlier this year.
Speaking to Air Cargo Week at the Air & Sea Cargo Americas conference on 2 November, Oxentine explained: “My focus has been getting out there and meeting with the accounts and participate in the all the meetings that my account managers have been preparing with their reviews in the last quarter and it’s really helped me learn the business more.”
Oxentine says the transition to cargo has been “surprisingly easy”, having spent the first 14 years at American Airlines at the airport having worked in areas including weight and balance, so she was familiar with cargo, and having worked in passenger sales, customer meetings do not phase her.
She says: “The structure of contracting is very different compared to the passenger side but the operations and sales background has been instrumental in being comfortable in this environment. I don’t have a cargo background but the airline is very similar.”
Something that has surprised Oxentine about cargo is how backwards the technology is, a long way behind the passenger division.
She says: “Over 20 years ago we went into electronic ticketing so that was a big surprise when I came into cargo that everything is still so paper driven but it did take a long time on the passenger side and we are very engaged with e-airway bills to get that piece started first.”
She describes it as “baby steps” though thinks the focus is in the right direction. American Airlines Cargo is aiming for a 75 per cent penetration rate by the end of the year, and Oxentine is confident that the airline will achieve this.
Its official global penetration rate was 69.8 per cent at the time of conducting the interview.
Oxentine says she has come into cargo at a good time, saying: “There is a good outlook for 2018 and I’m excited to be part of the team and I’m really focused on meeting all of our customers to build on the relationships to continue to be successful in 2018.”