38 years of evolution in air cargo management 

Singapore freight forwarders – Star Concord
18-Oct-2023

In an industry known for its constant change, Network Aviation Group has stood the test of time, celebrating 38 years of growth and success. Founded in 1985 as a UK-based cargo management company representing a single airline, Network Aviation Group has since transformed into a global player, managing its own freighter fleet and operating across five continents.

A journey of milestones 

“Network Aviation Group has evolved over the last 38 years from a UK-based cargo management company representing a single airline, to a company operating across five continents and managing its leased B747 freighter fleet,” John Gilfeather, Network Airline Services Sales Director, said.

“Starting from the UK in 1985, the company was based on a philosophy of providing the right quality and quantity of human resources to the carriers we represent.”

Key milestones in the group’s journey include the establishment of GSA (General Sales Agent) offices across Europe and the United States in the 1990s, followed by expansion into the Middle East, Africa, and Asia from 2000.

Today, Network Aviation Group operates in 35 countries globally. Notably, the company ventured into scheduled services two decades ago, utilising a leased DC 10 freighter to operate flights from Belgium to various African destinations.

Over time, this operation has grown significantly, now boasting a fleet of three B747 freighters that conduct scheduled and charter services from the hub in Liege, Belgium, to destinations worldwide.

READ: Network Aviation Group appoints new CEO

Adapting to the current climate 

In the face of the ever-changing aviation landscape, Network Aviation Group demonstrates its adaptability and resilience. The current climate has presented unique challenges, with traditional volumes on scheduled lanes experiencing reductions.

To overcome this, the group has introduced new routes and increased the utilsation of part charters to alternative destinations. Additionally, conflicts in certain regions have led to airspace closures along scheduled routes, prompting freighter and passenger planes to navigate diversions and alternative paths.

“Traditional volumes on our scheduled lanes have reduced in the current climate. Network manages this challenge by introducing new routes and increasing the amount of part charters to alternative destinations,” Gilfeather stated.

The COVID-19 pandemic presented both unprecedented challenges and opportunities for Network Aviation Group. The need for remote work and the suspension of scheduled services impacted operations directly.

However, this situation spurred the managed fleet of Network Airline Management to expand its scheduled and charter operations to Asia and North America. Moreover, the pandemic prompted the company to play a critical role in operating passenger aircraft as cargo-only flights, supporting global efforts to combat the pandemic.

As Network Aviation Group continues its journey, marked by resilience, innovation, and adaptability, their advice to new airlines looking to expand their cargo operations is rooted in a customer-centric philosophy.

“Network Aviation Group prides itself on being easy to do business with,” John Gilfeather, emphasised. By listening to customer needs and developing products and services around those needs, Network Aviation Group remains a stalwart in the aviation cargo sector.

Innovations and e-commerce 

One of the group’s distinguishing factors is its innovative approach to cargo loading and transportation. “Network’s philosophy has been always to build up an extensive database of how out-of-gauge cargo can be loaded safely and securely onto the aircraft,” John Gilfeather noted.

This meticulous approach gives Network Aviation Group a commercial advantage, enabling them to accept certain cargo sizes that other airlines might not be aware can be loaded safely.

“The combination of our cargo management system together with an experienced and proactive team allows the team to view the volumes of the cargo delivered and ensure we can fly cargo as scheduled but also be able to take advantage of full and part charter opportunities as they arise. Key to this is the experience and trust between the commercial and operational teams,” Gilfeather explained.

With the rise of e-commerce and online shopping, Network Aviation Group has adjusted its cargo services to cater to the growing demand for efficient shipping solutions. The company has adapted its cargo reservation system to accommodate mail documents, offering real-time tracking information to retain business from this increasingly significant market segment.

Sustainability is also at the forefront of Network Aviation Group’s priorities. “The group is committed towards Net Zero emissions,”  John Gilfeather affirmed. This commitment encompasses strategies related to fuel supply and leased aircraft, reflecting the company’s dedication to environmentally responsible practices.

READ: Network Aviation Group welcomes Andy Bentley

Future ready  

To stay ahead in the fast-paced aviation industry, Network Aviation Group leverages advancements in technology through its in-house system and dedicated IT department. This unique combination enables the company to swiftly incorporate new developments within the industry into its operations.

“Network Aviation Group prides itself on being easy to do business with, we listen to our customer’s needs, the freight forwarders and develop our product service offering solely around their ever-changing needs,” Gilfeather said.

By fostering a strong relationship between their commercial and operational teams, Network Aviation Group ensures reliability in their scheduled and charter services, even in the face of supply chain disruptions.

“Strategies to navigate through potential future challenges need to remain dynamic and flexible to meet any and all future challenges, pandemic or otherwise,” Gilfeather added.

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Author: Edward Hardy