On his last day in the company, Regional Commercial Manager Andy Jaye takes us on a tour of his career highlights, and how he’s seen the cargo sector evolve in his 41 years working for IAG.
Could you run us through your career trajectory with BA World Cargo and IAG Cargo?
I started working for British Airways through a government’s work experience programme in 1978 and joined full-time as a post boy in March 1979. I moved through a number of roles, as a document runner, in reservations, and then into operations. British Airways was such a different company back then. It had just come out of being nationalised, we were in the old premises which many people won’t remember, but it was a very different setting to what we are now in. I really enjoyed myself in those first few years working in a number of departments, but it wasn’t until around 1990 that I decided to really forge a career in cargo.
From then, I started working in the early phases of revenue management. During that time my team introduced for the first time workload forecasts, commercial flight plans and onload priority lists.
I then moved onto the development of Ascentis, our general freight handling centre. Eventually I took on the job managing operations on the ground and second floors before being briefly seconded as senior manager of Operations. I then secured a job in Dubai as a regional customer service manager and then returned to the UK to the role that I’m in now, as regional commercial manager in London. From start to end, that’s over 41 years with IAG.
What has kept you with the business for 41 years?
I think it was the intimacy of the organisation, the fact that you can be known around the world. I’ve always had strong relationships with colleagues at all levels within the business, regardless of what grade I’ve been at. You’re not lost in a huge organisation – that’s one of the real attractions, there’s a real opportunity to do well and be recognised. Another key factor has been the variety of roles that are available within IAG Cargo. I have been fortunate enough to work in commercial, operations, projects, customer service and worked overseas. Finally, it’s been the people I have worked with, I’ve had so many amazing colleagues.
What have been some of the defining moments for you personally during your time in the business?
A key moment was when I took on the role of yield control analyst in capacity control, later to become revenue management. This was the moment when I realised I wanted to forge a career in cargo. I eventually left revenue management to work on the latter stages of the Ascentis project. Moving in to the London operation was another key moment, where I really got to experience the challenges of managing a 24/7 operation.
Moving out to Dubai in 2006, was a defining moment for my whole family. From a work perspective, I enjoyed immensely working with overseas colleagues in Africa, Middle East and South Asia and working with our overseas customers. My final role has been as Regional Commercial Manager UK&I. The team has been fantastic and we have developed much stronger working relationships with a wider range of customers, which has helped us significantly in 2020.
How has IAG Cargo evolved during your tenure?
Incredibly so. When I was working in revenue management, we were drawing graphs. It’s hard to believe but it was all hand-drawn. During the last 20 years, the evolution has gathered pace. There has been the move to Ascentis and Carrus in 2000, the creation of IAG Cargo in 2011, the merger with Iberia and then Aer Lingus coming into the group, the launch of new premium products and investment in tools that help us to make the right commercial decisions. We now have far more data at our disposal. We’re able to analyse and communicate more quickly. It’s so much slicker now, and there’s far greater awareness of the customer. There’s also a much greater focus on premium products. Pharma, for example, has grown from very little to become such a key part of our business today.
What do you think needs to happen for the industry and business to continue to evolve?
Freight as a whole has been slow to embrace technology, so data and digital transformation will be key for the industry. At IAG Cargo, e-booking and e-freight will be key to how we grow in the future. The industry must keep up with the pace of change within the digital world.
What one piece of advice would you give your younger self?
When I look back, I regret not appreciating in those early years the key role that IAG Cargo plays in the supply chain, and ultimately, world trade. It’s so important, working for a company like ours, that you fully understand our role. It might sound obvious, but in those early years, I just saw the cargo as boxes, I didn’t focus on what was inside and the significance of what we were doing and why. There is much more of a focus on the bigger picture today, thanks to data, and what is inside those boxes. The shipment containing life-saving drugs for instance, and the patient at the other end of the journey that’s waiting for that treatment – you really start to appreciate everything we do when you drill a bit deeper.
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