In a keynote session at the World Cargo Symposium in Istanbul, Willie Walsh, IATA’s Director General and Mehmet Tevfik Nane, Managing Director, Pegasus Airlines, discussed air cargo’s growing importance.
The sector’s role as a key supplier of humanitarian aid was highlighted. This was most evident in the pandemic when air bridges were vital to providing medicines, equipment, and other essential goods. “Air cargo saved lives,” stressed Nane. “The industry took vaccinations from China to Brazil in one day using cold-chain requirements. It shows what can be done.”
Air cargo also played a key role following the devastating Türkiye-Syria earthquake. Many airlines were involved in supplying aid to the 13 million people affected. “We immediately came together and worked to support people under the coordination of the civil aviation authority and government,” said Nane.
He noted that a snowstorm closed roads for about 20 hours and so the air bridge was vital. Aid is still being delivered by airlines and this will continue for some time yet. Nane concluded this section of the debate by stressing that airlines must learn the lessons of a fast and proactive response to such crises.
The discussion also touched on the need for diversity in air cargo. As the industry undergoes a digital transformation and responds to new customer requirements, the need to appeal to a broader section of society becomes obvious.
The IATA 25by2025 initiative has pushed diversity up the agenda and Nane was pleased to announce that, overall, Pegasus has already achieved that 25% female workforce target. The airline also has the first female airline CEO in Türkiye. Güliz Öztürk was selected because she deserved to be selected, said Nane. There were more than 30 candidates for the role and Öztürk was the best performer.
Nane also believed that diversity would be important for sustainability. The diverse viewpoints and greater efficiency would doubtless lead to more insights and environmental, social, and governance (ESG) improvements, he suggested.