Roland Quah: “We’ll ride this out and come back stronger”

Roland Quah, WAG

ACW spoke to Roland Quah, executive director of World Alliance GSA about the Asian airfreight market, diversifying business and the year ahead.

The past year was a rollercoaster. How has the Asian market changed?

The greatest impact was the grounding of airlines across the world resulting in unhinging normal supply chain links.

This brought about changes to the multi-model transportation line hauls as shippers seek alternatives to move their exports. With our major principal LOT Polish Airlines suspending scheduled flights into Singapore and Vietnam, WAG was severely tested.

How did WAG adapt to these changes?

From April 2020, WAG created sea-air transhipment programs through our own network, for cargo generating from Vietnam, Malaysia and Myanmar to Europe and Japan. During the same period, we had also actively promoted and handled a couple of LOT Polish Airlines cargo only charters. We also worked with a couple of regional carriers on their regular limited flights into Singapore during this period.

WAG started to sell cargo charters in 2020, how is this going?

WAG started to sell cargo only charters from Singapore. We handled a few Polish Government charters and LOT cargo only charters to Europe during 2020. As part of our general business development, WAG had been working closely with other regional airlines in Asia and also global charter brokers to develop our cargo charter initiatives to support our customers in SE Asia.

Cargo charters will remain part of our new and future business initiatives regardless of post Covid.

What will 2021 look like for WAG?

Much of the initiatives started in 2020 will continue as we are constantly being invited to tender in cargo GSA RFP contracts. WAG recently concluded an Off-line GSA contract to represent Mercury Air Cargo for Singapore, Thailand and Indonesia. This project gives us impetus to work hard to succeed given the current market conditions. Although challenging, there are opportunities for us to create a new line haul from SE Asia into South America.

We are also transitioning our business to include Passenger GSA representation in our business objectives and mission. The new initiatives does not dilute our current resources as WAG had formed a “passenger” division to develop and secure passenger GSA contracts. We are seeking airlines that are currently restructuring their business models to include passenger GSA representation.

Some airlines are looking for opportunities to reduce their overseas operating costs during this pandemic period. The future of WAG will evolve to manage both passenger and cargo services contracts.

How are you feeling for the year ahead?

The worse is not over yet but we are more prepared now and our team are constantly reviewing new business opportunities for 2021. WAG will ride this out and come back stronger.