29th Annual Quest for Quality Awards: Air carriers have no pain, no gain

As if navigating the Great Recession, earthquakes, tsunamis, terrorist threats, revolutions, volcanos, and high fuel prices over the past 24 months wasn’t enough, along comes the European economic crisis to tug on the wings of world’s leading air cargo carriers.

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As Executive Editor Patrick Burnson reported in last month’s extensive State of Logistics Report, it has certainly been difficult to find a silver lining in the clouds gathering around the air cargo transport sector.

Air freight revenue dipped by 2 percent in 2011, while over capacity led to bad load factors dropping domestic revenue ton-miles more than 3 percent. However, international air freight cargo was bolstered by a record $400 billion dollars in export goods transported by air, illustrating that there was a little break in the clouds.

In the meantime, some of the world’s most successful cargo airlines are reporting that the ongoing economic uncertainly in Europe is holding them back. Tim Clark, president of Emirates Airline, told Burnson that international airlines are now clearly facing a “perfect storm” from high fuel costs, a slowing global economy, and volatile exchange rates that could see many carriers forced to downsize.

Well, even in these challenging times in the sky, our 2012 Quest for Quality survey tell us that the 14 carriers below have continued to offer world class service in the eyes of LM readers.

Air Cargo by Southwest Airlines-Same Day Cargo and FreightAs it has in at least the last five years, Southwest Airlines Cargo has posted the top score in the category (52.22) and led the way in On-time Performance (13.59) and Customer Service (10.85). Emirates SkyCargo was right on the tail of Southwest, putting up an impressive 51.56 score. Emirates also scored top marks in Value (11.14) and Information Technology (9.15).

In the hotly contested Air Express category, FedEx Express (51.16) edged UPS (49.94) this year by 1.22 points. As usual, LM readers often make this race too close to call when you break down each attribute category.

2012 Quest for Quality Winners Categories


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2012 Quest for Quality Air Carriers Sponsor

Air cargo carriers - Winner

About the Author

Michael Levans, Group Editorial Director
Michael Levans is Group Editorial Director of Peerless Media’s Supply Chain Group of publications and websites including Logistics Management, Supply Chain Management Review, Modern Materials Handling, and Material Handling Product News. He’s a 23-year publishing veteran who started out at the Pittsburgh Press as a business reporter and has spent the last 17 years in the business-to-business press. He’s been covering the logistics and supply chain markets for the past seven years. You can reach him at [email protected]

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