Thriving in a developing GSSA industry


Kales Airline Services, the independent company dedicated to selling cargo and passenger products on behalf of airlines worldwide, is riding the wave of evolution across the General Sales and Service Agent (GSSA) industry to remain at the forefront of innovation.

The company puts its success, in part, down to its focus on the use of technology and data to make the booking process leaner and more efficient, applying RPA solutions. Through this approach, as the industry has evolved, Kales has worked to optimise the revenues for its airline customers, as, at the end of the day, that is still what counts for those they work with – To have a team representing the airline like it is their own with an entrepreneurial can do attitude, acting with agility, flexibility and customer focus in mind.0

With that goal, Kales offers a full package of end-to-end solutions to its customers with total cargo management (TCM) solutions, where they are the de facto cargo department, managing everything from operations, sales, finances to the IT solutions.

“I see the GSSA becoming more like an integrated solution, being intertwined with our partner airlines, where technology plays a big role, but at the end numbers count and the most important thing for the airline is that we optimise their yields and load factor against a lower cost of sales than an insourced solution,” Sebastiaan Scholte, CEO of Kales Group, said.

With the market becoming increasingly competitive and financial pressures facing the industry, this embrace of technology could be key to the continued growth of companies like Kales. “Automation is key. We have streamlined our processes making use of RPA solutions and digital interaction with our customers,” he explained.

“Emphasis on technology, in combination with highly qualified personnel, makes the process as efficient as possible,” Scholte added.

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Customer relations remain key

The work Kales does is an important core process that airlines are outsourcing. As such, there needs to be a trust relationship. Despite all technological innovations this is still a relationship based industry.

That’s why the company engages with clients on all levels, to create an environment of collaboration and open communication that involves active listening, regular communication and flexibility. “Technology will be a key driver. However relationships and trust remain a very important factor,” Scholte stated.

“We work closely together with clients to understand their needs, and then develop a plan to meet those needs while keeping them informed throughout the process. That provides value. By implementing these strategies, we build strong relationships with your clients, leading to long-term success and growth for both parties.”

This approach of listening to customers is seen in how the company is approaching sustainability when shaping its operations, as it recognises that airlines are looking for partners with greener practices. 

“We see that sustainability is becoming a key consideration for airlines as they strive to reduce their environmental impact and respond to growing demand from consumers for greener and more sustainable practices,” Scholte said.

This is still most notable at the passenger side of the industry but is inevitably gaining momentum at the cargo side as well. By investing in fuel efficiency, exploring alternative fuels, reducing waste, offering carbon offsetting, and collaborating with partners like Kales, airlines can work towards creating a more sustainable aviation industry.

READ: Kales chosen as Venipak’s GSSA

Adapting swiftly

These are uncertain times. The Russia-Ukraine war is already causing economic disruptions. There will be geopolitical tensions affecting the supply chain. Companies are increasingly looking at multi and near sourcing but that will take time. It is however an irreversible trend that will have a negative effect on trade and therefore air cargo. Chinese labour for instance is becoming relatively more expensive than the neighbouring countries. 

These factors disrupt existing trade relationships between countries but will also open up opportunities for other countries to fill the gap. India and other South East Asian countries in that respect are becoming quickly an even more important market. “It’s about being flexible,” Scholte said, revealing that Kales is “looking at expansion in Asia and the Americas, both organically and through acquisitions.”

Looking at the opportunities available in the new model, Scholte highlighted how GSSAs can partner more with freight forwarders, shipping companies and e-commerce companies, even taking more financial commitments and offering charter solutions to the market. As a global partner, this is something Kales is targeting, helping some large e-commerce companies optimise their capacity.

“Our agility allows us to adapt to quick market changes. We have gained new customers but have also significantly generated more revenue for our existing customers,” Scholte said.