Tiaca – which is advertising for a director general –  has denied reports that its events partner is “blackballing” companies that want to cancel their participation in November’s Air Cargo Forum, refusing them admission to any other Messe Munchen event.

Messe Munchen has vastly increased its presence in the air cargo market in the past two years, and is now its dominant events organiser. It acquired the STAT Times events in India and Africa and also runs Air Cargo Europe in Munich and Air Cargo China.

Companies have in the past told The Loadstar that a condition of exhibiting at Munich was that they must also sign up to Air Cargo China.

But Tiaca chair Steven Polmans has said allegations of blackballing were “not true”.

“All exhibitors are long-term partners of both Tiaca and Messe. So, no, there is no blackmail.

“We are in discussions about refunds, yes, there are certain consequences for us and exhibitors by cancelling at the moment. But there are ongoing communications and we are looking at it in the interests of everybody.”

There have been concerns that Tiaca’s biennual Air Cargo Forum cashcow, planned for Miami in November, will struggle with companies not wishing to send staff to the US, which has failed to slow the spread of the virus, or that travel restrictions will impact attendees.

But Mr Polmans said it would not be realistic to move the show to a country less affected by the virus, calling it only “a partial solution”.

“We are aware of what is happening in the world and are not blind to reality. The world has changed a lot in recent months, and will change a lot in the next few months as well. It is really difficult to look forward and make projections with any certainty.

“While there are indeed some concerns, we get many more comments supporting us and telling us not to give up too early. In due time, we will take a decision, taking all elements into account, as any company would do.

“We are working closely with local and international authorities and following WHO advice before making the decision on whether the ACF will be taking place this year.

“Delaying to next year is not an option, as there is Air Cargo Europe. Two such big events in one year would not be interesting, and for most participants, financially not that appealing.

“Talking about cancellation is easy, doing it at this stage is not as easy as it might look, taking into account all the elements and contractual obligations.”

Messe Munchen issued a statement to The Loadstar.

“It is neither the policy, the attitude nor the terms and conditions of Messe München GmbH that companies that cancel their participation in the air cargo forum Miami are not welcome at other events of Messe München in Germany and abroad.

 “Likewise, it is not in accordance with the policy, attitude or terms and conditions of Messe München that companies participating in air cargo Europe have to participate also in air cargo China.

 “The refund conditions of the event air cargo forum Miami are part of our official terms and conditions. These GTCs will be handed out to each exhibitor together with the registration documents for the air cargo forum Miami. If an exhibitor cancels participation in air cargo forum Miami after registration, a refund of the participation fee is unfortunately not possible. Every exhibitor accepts this condition with its registration for the air cargo Forum Miami. These refund conditions are common in the event industry. Further, in case we have to cancel the air cargo forum Miami event the exhibitors will get back their participation fee.”

Meanwhile, Tiaca yesterday published a job advert for the new role of director general, replacing its existing top job of secretary general.

The new role will essentially be that of a chief executive, it said, who would “lead the modernised association and realise its new vision for a safe, profitable and united air cargo industry, that embraces modern technologies and practices to sustainably and fairly serve trade and social development worldwide”.

The successful candidate will report to the board, and while not expected to live in Miami, Tiaca’s headquarters, will need to commit to “substantial time onsite”.

“Once its transformation is complete, the new Tiaca will be a more agile association, able to respond to industry needs. Tiaca will need a strong and equally agile leader to raise its profile, expand and deliver the new agenda to increase member satisfaction,” said Mr Polmans.

“I am confident, with the right person in charge, the association will be able to represent the interests of the whole air cargo community, with strong industry programmes, effective global and regional partnerships and expanded membership base.”

Applications will be accepted via email to Tiaca’s selection committee from 15 July to 31 August. You can find the full details here.

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