GUILLAUME HALLEUX

Qatar 2020 | TRANSPORT | INTERVIEW

A customer-centric strategy is one of the major reasons behind QR Cargo's success as the largest air cargo carrier in the world.

Guillaume Halleux
BIOGRAPHY

Guillaume Halleux started his career with Air France in 1997, holding various positions in the logistics and business development department. He later joined SkyTeam Cargo USJV as sales director for northeastern US before being promoted to regional director for Hong Kong and South China at Air France KLM. In 2012, he worked with Bolloré Logistics as general manager of sales and business development in Vietnam and later Singapore. Bringing 20 years of experience and knowledge of the air cargo business, he joined Qatar Airways Cargo as vice president of Asia Pacific in 2016 before joining the senior leadership team at Qatar Airways Cargo's Doha head office in 2017. He studied economics in France and holds a master's in business administration from ICN Business School in Nancy.

What has been the impact of global trade wars on QR Cargo?
Compared to 2018, we have continued to grow, despite global trade shrinking by 4-5%. There is much uncertainty in Europe right now due to Brexit, which is a major factor. Another major cause is the trade war between China and the US, which is really shifting the equilibrium. There has been a massive drop in exports from China to the US, and a number of Southeast Asian countries are now exporting more to the US to fill the gap. Fortunately, we are well represented in these countries, such as Vietnam, Singapore, Indonesia, Thailand, Malaysia, Myanmar, Cambodia, and the Philippines. Overall, global trade is down, and airlines are among the first to suffer. With our network, we are present globally in all regions and that is the way to mitigate any of the risks and impacts of global trade wars. It is also one of the reasons we continue with our growth strategy despite the challenges with global air freight demand that we have seen throughout 2019. We remain resilient due to our flexibility and extensive network.

What were the main reasons behind the growth of your company?
Qatar Airways has managed to sustain its growth and is now the largest air cargo carrier in the world with a market share of 6.8%. We grew for two reasons. First is added capacity, as we received five additional Boeing 777 freighters in 2019. We now operate a fleet of 28 freighters, which makes us one of the largest freighter operators in the world. 2019 was extremely interesting, because we have managed to continue growing in a declining market. We have also grown because of the addition of our passenger fleet, which represents 50% of our tonnage. There is no notable change compared to 2018 in the distribution of volumes, meaning that Doha, our hub, represents 15-17% of our business. Cargo gets broken down here and repacked in full containers for the final destination. Innovation and digitalization are key factors to our growth as well. Through our digital initiatives such as e-freight and e-AWB, we are looking for ways to enhance and modernize our relationship with clients. Through understanding our customers' needs and adapting our offering to exceed their expectations, we are able to build our brand and business.

How did QR Cargo increase its international operations?
2019 was a year of tremendous expansion for us. We commenced freighter operations to Guadalajara, Almaty, and Singapore while also opening up belly-hold cargo operations in eight destinations globally and increasing capacity on several routes. As part of our transpacific freighter route expansion, we have added Hanoi as a new stop in 2019. The transpacific route benefits our customers greatly as it results in time and cost savings. The new order for five additional Boeing 777 freighters that we signed at the Paris Air Show in June 2019 will start arriving from April 2020 onward. We are currently handling 2.3 million tons with a number of workarounds at Hamad International Airport. This is higher than the actual cargo capacity that the airport was designed to handle, which is 1.4 million tons. Recently, we kicked off the expansion project, namely Cargo Terminal 2, which will boost the combined cargo capacity of both terminals to 3.27 million tons.

What makes QR Cargo such a good cargo company?
We are a customer-centric organization where each employee is focused on customer centricity and driven by the values of passion, compassion, and discipline. Additionally, we are extremely lean. This means that decisions are made extremely quickly compared to other organizations. All airlines fly similar routes, utilize mostly the same aircraft, and operate on similar schedules. So, the difference really is the people, and when you call Qatar Airways Cargo, you discover that the person who serves you is motivated to do good from the bottom of their hearts. We are in the people industry, and this is something we always remember.