Perishables purring for American Airlines Cargo

American Airlines Boeing 787

American Airlines (AA) Cargo is seeing strong growth in perishables, according to the carrier’s managing director for global and key accounts, interline and general sales agents, Roger Samways.

Perishable goods are central to the airline’s strategy along with increasing widebody capacity on new routes such as Dallas (US) to Beijing, and expanding services on routes like Miami (US) to Sao Paolo (Brazil) and Miami to London.

“In these growing markets we see strength in commodities such as seafood, flowers and produce that benefit from the use of our highly fuel-efficient aircraft,” Samways explains to Air Cargo Week.

This time of the year is lucrative for AA Cargo for perishables out of Latin America, according to Samways. “Our perishables traffic is really growing out of Latin America and we have recently also seen lots of other interesting moves, such as a pharmaceutical-related projects from the northeast US into Latin America, and some automotive related increases out of Europe to America.”

Cargo volumes have been holding up for American, albeit slightly down on 2014, as it focuses on growing its network and freight was a key contributor to the airline’s record financial performance.

Samways says: “Broadly, overall volumes in 2014 were a bit higher, which is reflective of the challenging economic environment in certain areas around the world, although there have been many encouraging bright spots and we are very confident in the success of the months to come.

“Our Asia-Latin America volumes have continued to be robust and our continued focus upon cold chain has driven a significant increase in activity across our network when compared to 2014.”

Samways says American is in the midst of a huge fleet renewal plan, which will result in around one widebody aircraft per month being delivered into its network for the next five-plus years. “We are also making substantial investments in ground service equipment (forklifts, warehouse equipment) and technology, all designed to further enhance our customer experience,” he adds.

With next week’s Air Cargo Americas (ACA)  show in Miami on the horizon, Samways says this event will reveal interesting insights into issues and trends in the industry, such as electronic air waybill development and reducing supply chain risks.

The show is an important date in the year for the carrier: “ACA is a really important part of our plans, allowing us to spend time with many of our customers and suppliers,” Samways says.