American Shipper

Brooks to retire from AA Cargo

   David Brooks has elected to retire after almost 16 years as president of American Airline’s cargo division, the airline announced Tuesday.
   Under his leadership American was considered one of the best belly carriers serving U.S. freight forwarders.
   Brooks, a 29-year veteran of the airline, was replaced by Kenji Hashimoto, vice president of strategic alliances, according to a spokesman. Brooks will help with the transition through June.
   The same day American also announced the retirement of three other executives, the consolidation of several other positions and the elimination of the vice president for operations, finance and strategy planning.  
   The moves are tied to a corporate reorganization as American works under bankruptcy protection to trim costs, become a leaner carrier and fight off a takeover attempt by US Airways.
   In February, American streamlined its executive ranks through retirements and job consolidations. Among those included in the downsizing was Thomas Del Valle, senior vice president airport services and cargo, who will retire by June 30.
   During the first quarter, American lost $1.7 billion.  


   Brooks was instrumental in helping repair American’s reputation with forwarders and improving service levels, according to Brandon Fried, executive director of the Airforwarders Association.
   “Dave really, I think, switched the way American focuses on the forwarder. He helped them realize that a good portion of freight on passenger planes is managed by forwarders. And Dave made tremendous strides in reaching out, creating relations and nurturing that rapport with the freight forwarding community.
   “And for that he will be missed. We’re hoping his successor carriers that forward,” he said.
   Fried also praised Brooks for his advocacy role in Washington trying to shape cargo security legislation. Under the 9/11 Commission Recommendations Act in early 2007, airlines were required to screen 100 percent of cargo on passenger planes. The rule went into effect in stages, culminating with the full-compliance deadline in August 2010.
   As head of the Air Transport Association’s Cargo Council “he was an absolutely tireless advocate for keeping freight on passenger planes and working to create a workable solution. When others were not in Washington during the many months of Capitol Hill visits, debates and problem solving sessions, David was. He made it his business to be here, contributed to the discussion and was a constant figure in the legislative advocacy before the 9/11 legislation was passed. And for that the air freight industry owes him a tremendous debt of gratitude,” Fried said.
   Brooks, who was well respected on Capitol Hill and within the Transportation Security Administration, and other industry figures were able to steer negotiations on legislation away from some of the most draconian security proposals, he said.
   American invested millions of dollars in X-ray equipment, training and processes and was able to meet the security deadlines without any disruption of cargo shipments. — Eric Kulisch