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In with the new, out with the old. Change can’t happen fast enough for delegates at IATA’s World Cargo Symposium. A lacklustre welcome for Giovanni Bisignani said it all. “But at least he turned up this year,” grumbled one delegate.
Bisignani spoke of how a Harvard professor, upon examining the industry, said of it “What a mess”. That story may have been something of an own goal for IATA, which, arguably, was in a position to prevent such a mess.
Although the word in the lobbies of a cold and snowy Istanbul is that IATA is improving, in particular by appointing Des Vertannes to head the cargo arm, the carriers can’t wait for the final regime change, when Cathay’s Tony Tyler comes to the helm.
Until then, the grumbles continue:
IATA is not a lean orgniasation (of the 900 or so delegates, 115 of them are IATA staff), it’s expensive, and it’s not transparent. Not only that but the new and old are talking different stories. Des is busy encouraging input from across the supply chain, with the help of the new Global Air Cargo Advisory Group, recognising that indstry issues can’t be solved by airlines alone. Bisignani, whose airline-defined e-freight policy alienated forwarders, told a press conference that he expected airlines just to get on with implementing e-freight .
But a new attitude from airlines, who have learned the competition rules about talking to one another, plus IATA’s new team will, finally, help the industry deal with its ills.
Interesting, though, that Des was unable to make it for his keynote speech explaining IATA’s role in secure freight. A telling signal? Or was he babysitting Bisignani? (Which, incidentally, also caused him to miss the presentation on the economic outlook.)

TSA lands in hot water
Both the panel of speakers and the delegates attending the security track gave the TSA something of a battering this afternoon. The 72-hour notice to implement new requirements, issued on Saturday when the TSA was uncontactable, wasn’t something the industry was too pleased about…Not an auspicious start for the much-touted new era of co-ordination and co-operation.

~An excitable Aaron Heslehurst from BBC World attempted to fire up the audience, after first beating his normal drum about improving the industry’s PR. And he placed BJ John Batten into the “logistics pie”, a memorable image.
Meanwhile, a (slimmed-down) Ram Menen put open skies and an end to countries protecting their own, on his wishlist for the industry. A statement surely destined to further annoy those European legacy carriers who complain bitterly about Middle Eastern rivals being protected by their governments.
More tomorrow. I hope those of you at Air Freight Asia are at least having a warmer time.

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