IAG Cargo | 10 minutes with...

IAG Cargo’s Partnership and Interline Manager Toby Hillier

Could you describe your career history?

I graduated with a BSc degree in Air Transport from City, University of London before joining Monarch Airlines as an Economic Planning Analyst and then Senior Economic Planning Analyst, primarily supporting the charter sales division, revenue management and network planning.

I made the move to IAG Cargo’s Alliances team in 2015 as a Partner Airline Executive responsible for growing the Partner Plus programme and a number of key interline relationships, as well as improving the profile and utilisation of interline within the organisation. In my current role, I’m responsible for driving the strategic development of partnerships activity, delivering the widest possible interline network and providing the highest product standards for customers.

What is interline and what kind of destinations does it serve?

Interline is the process of transferring cargo (or passengers) between two airlines. We work with over 100 airlines from around the world to deliver a comprehensive network solution, securing additional capacity on constrained routes or to new destinations as and when our customers require.

This means that our customers have immediate access to more than 430 additional destinations beyond the network served by IAG Cargo’s operating carriers and trucking network. For ad-hoc shipments, these contacts enable us to extend the IAG Cargo reach even further.

We have recently sent cargo to far-flung destinations as diverse as Bolivia, Mali, Congo, Latvia, Siberia, Indonesia, Papua New Guinea and even to Kiribati! We put our geography skills to the test every day in order to deliver a “yes we can” answer to all requests, and we love a challenge!

What kind of commodities can you ship on interline?

We only work with airline partners who deliver the same high product standards as we do. Interline can move express cargo, general cargo, perishables, dangerous goods, human remains, valuable products, live animals, temperature-sensitive products, Air Mail and even radioactive products on some flights, and our aim is to grow this list in line with customer demand.

What makes IAG’s network a cut above the rest?

We regularly demonstrate an ability to secure customer solutions where other air cargo providers cannot. This ultimately comes down to the combined force of our network (5 operating companies, 100+ partners and trucking network beyond flown capacity) and sales team who deliver a marketing-leading solution to any destination which is constantly exceeding expectations.

Together, we are able to respond quickly to meet customer’s requirements in their hour of need, whether that be getting helicopter spares to a remote part of Africa, repatriating a deceased loved one to their ancestral home on a small Pacific island for burial, or returning rescued lion cubs to a safe reserve in coastal South Africa.

Tell us about a time when interline saved the day

In recent years we have been able to deliver ongoing aid and vaccines to Haiti following the devastating earthquake in 2010, and aid to the Philippines after recent devastating typhoons.

Where has work taken you lately?

2019 was fantastic, Air Cargo Africa in Johannesburg, Air Cargo Europe in Munich and Air Cargo Americas in Miami presenting great opportunities to catch up with colleagues and counterparts from airlines around the world. I also had the opportunity to meet with our commercial and operational teams at key interline transit points in the Middle East and the USA, to support new digital developments at working groups in Spain, and travelled to meet with key airline partners at their head offices or at one our hubs.

And for pleasure?

I was able to spend 10 amazing days experiencing Japan during the Rugby World Cup in October before Typhoon Hagibis prompted a return home! I also managed a weekend trip to Vancouver in August for a vintage aircraft fly-in to the Abbotsford Airshow.

Read more about IAG Cargo’s extensive global network, including more than 100 interline partners to help get your freight where it needs to be. Speak to your sales representative to find out more about booking interline.