Published On 5 Apr, 2018

 

guest-of-month

Mr. Walter Jones

It is our duty bound to sustain, promote and build African logistics industry. In this edition, African Cargo News was able to track down the General Manager, Etihad Airlines Mr. Walter Jones as our April 2018 Guest of the Month to give our reading audience an update on their activities and to inundate us with their future plans for Africa and the global aviation community. The Editorial team led by BayoOgumupe will always keep the records of getting those that matters in the global logistics industry.Happy reading.

Introduction of self and ETIHAD airline.

I am a cargo and logistics professional with over 20 years of experience in the aviation industry, having spent six years in cargo operations management and eight in a commercial management role. My passion lies in the developing of global networks and leveraging strong and mutually beneficial client relationship to achieve this. Through my various roles I have travelled extensively across Africa and have also spent a year living in, and overseeing cargo operations, in Namibia.  I joined Etihad in 2014 as the Country Cargo Manager for South Africa, however in the past two years my responsibilities have also extended to various other countries in the region.

Established in 2004, Etihad Cargo offers a full range of specialised products and services covering general and premium freight and valuable cargo across an international route network in Abu Dhabi. Complementing the bellyhold capacity on Etihad Airways’ 110-strong passenger fleet, Etihad Cargo operates five Boeing 777 freighters on both scheduled and charter services.

Can you describe the ownership structure of Etihad Airline?

Etihad Aviation Group is a diversified global aviation and travel group comprising five business divisions – Etihad Airways, the national airline of the United Arab Emirates, Etihad Airways Engineering, Etihad Airport Services, Hala Group and Airline Equity Partners.

How old is Etihad Airline and how many destinations do you have across Africa?

Etihad Airways was established in 2003. We serve 10 destinations across Africa.

How many destinations is your Airline covering presently?

100 destinations around the world.

Can you evaluate your operations in Africa and predict the future of your company in Africa?

Africa represents a good growth area for Etihad Cargo. In fact, we recently relaunched a freighter service to Johannesburg. We also operate three freighters a week to Nairobi. These services are in addition to our passenger services, which carry cargo in the belly of the aircraft.

Knowing full well that your operations are made possible with co-operation of freight forwarders; do you work with this class of professionals on individual basis or as a group?

Etihad Cargo works almost entirely with freight forwarders and our relationship with this sector of the industry is absolutely crucial to our success.

Etihad has passion for sports; does it reflect the passion of the airline management or that of the owners?

Etihad Airways believesin the spirit of global connectivity through sports.

In your own view, which area has your organization accomplished it’s co-operate social responsibility to its host countries?

One dirham from every ticket booked was donated to charity – and other noble initiatives that touched the lives of those in need around the world.

Last year, 2017, was officially declared as the Year of Giving by UAE President His Highness Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan. In support of this national initiative, Etihad Aviation Group launched a strategy based on the government’s three Year of Giving pillars: Corporate Social Responsibility, Volunteering and Serving the Nation.

A number of activities supported Syrian refugees, including a welfare trip to Lebanon where more than 3,550 Syrian refugees received winter clothes, shoes, mattresses, dry food parcels and blankets; and a trip to the UAE-Jordan Mrajeeb Al Fhood refugee camp in Jordan where EAG staff and senior management distributed school bags, stationery sets, blankets and garments to more than 2,500 children.

In Greece, vital school and home supplies were donated to more than 1,000 Syrians at the Ritsona refugee camp near Athens. The event coincided with the United Nations Universal Children’s Day and supported the global education initiative to help underprivileged students pursue their studies.

‘Sharing Your Blessing During Ramadan’ was also kicked off by executing many initiatives, including hosting the Al Ghadeer UAE Crafts fundraising day to support autism in the Etihad headquarters.

The donation drive continued with the donation of nearly 40 pallets of catering supplies to Emirates Red Crescent to support charity projects during the Holy Month of Ramadan.

Dates packages were distributed to more than 1,800 ramp loaders at Abu Dhabi International Airport, as well as in Hong Kong, India, Sri Lanka and Lebanon.

More than 3,000 Iftar meal boxes and water were distributed to labourers residing at Tafseer Camp in Reem Island, Abu Dhabi, by more than 120 EAG volunteers. A campaign ‘For Your Sake, Somalia’ targeting famine in the African nation was also planned by Etihad Guest members.

Members of Etihad Airways’ award-winning loyalty programme Etihad Guest donated 750 Etihad Guest Miles to the emergency response in the African country, with providing one meal.

Can you give a little insight on why Abu-Dhabi – Dallas route was cancelled?

Etihad Airways announced the suspension of its Abu Dhabi–Dallas/Fort Worth (DFW) route effective 25 March 2018, as it will become commercially unsustainable following American Airlines’ unilateral decision to terminate its codeshare agreement with the airline.

Peter Baumgartner, Etihad Airways Chief Executive Officer, said: “The unfortunate decision by American Airlines to terminate a commercial relationship that benefited both carriers has left Etihad with no choice but to suspend flights between our Abu Dhabi home and Dallas/Fort Worth.

“We are open to American Airlines reversing its decision to cancel our codeshare agreement so that Etihad Airways can continue the route and together protect and support American national interests and global connectivity while driving commercial value for both airlines.”

Etihad Airways has invested heavily in the DFW route since its launch in December 2014. The route commenced with three flights a week and was upgraded to a daily service in February 2017, providing travellers in the US and across the airline’s network with access to more US cities through American Airlines’ primary hub. More than 235,000 travellers have flown on the route since its launch. Almost half of Etihad Airways’ DFW customers connect on US codeshare flights operated by American Airlines.

Mr Baumgartner added, “The cancellation of the Dallas route is one of several adjustments that we are making to our US network in 2018 in order to improve system profitability. Further changes are possible as we monitor the full impact of the American Airlines codeshare cancellation on summer 2018 bookings.

“Etihad Airways is grateful to the state of Texas, its authorities, including the Mayor’s offices in Dallas and Fort Worth, DFW International Airport, local businesses, the travel trade, and the travelling public for their partnership throughout the years of our operation.”

According to independent research by Oxford Economics, in 2016 Etihad Airways contributed US$3.8 billion to the US economy, supported more than 30,000 American jobs, and brought 280,000 additional visitors to the United States. These visitors, who travelled from growing markets historically ignored by US carriers and partners, contributed US$1.9 billion to the US economy and supported an additional 22,000 American jobs.

Etihad Airways is also a major customer of widebody aircraft built by the Boeing Company, with firm orders for 71 GE-powered Boeing 787s and 25 Boeing 777Xs, both of which will support the airline’s fleet renewal programme. All of the airline’s First Class seating, as well as The Residence on the Airbus A380, is built by US based aircraft cabin interior manufacturer B/E Aerospace, now part of Rockwell Collins. In 2012, Etihad Airways also signed a deal valued at more than a billion US dollars with aviation computer technology provider Sabre Airline Solutions.

Etihad Airways currently operates 42 non-stop flights a week to five US gateways – Chicago, Dallas/Fort Worth, Los Angeles, New York and Washington. Additionally, Etihad Cargo operates twice weekly Boeing 777F freighter services to and from Rickenbacker International Airport in Columbus, Ohio, and Tucson, Arizona.

As the regional manager for Africa, what are your greatest strengths in your career?

Partnerships, consistency and relationships! My years in the industry have taught me that a business relationship in which there is trust, transparency and a keen focus on service delivery will dictate its success or failure.

Do you have any regrets?

No – Africa is an exciting and ever-evolving region which creates innumerable opportunities to grow and learn.

How do you relax after a hard day’s work?

I enjoy time with my family, doing things such as playing squash, mountain-biking and supporting their school sports activities.

 

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