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GSCW chat recap: Stan Wraight’s cargo advice for airlines

“Cargo is a core business now”

(Photo: Jim Allen/FreightWaves at IAH Airport)

This fireside chat recap is from Day 1 of FreightWaves’ Global Supply Chain Week. Day 1 focuses on military, aerospace and manufacturing.

FIRESIDE CHAT TOPIC: Air Cargo Market Trends & Outlook

DETAILS: Stan Wraight is a legend in the air cargo industry. He’s held leadership positions at big cargo airlines and now advises airlines, airports, logistics companies and other parties on how to manage airfreight issues. In this interview with FreightWaves Air Cargo Editor Eric Kulisch, he talks about market conditions shippers and carriers are facing, digitization initiatives, the prolific use by airlines of “preighters,” e-commerce, and pharma shipments for COVID vaccines.

SPEAKER: Stan Wraight, CEO, president and co-founder of Strategic Aviation Solutions International. 

BIO: Stanley Wraight is the co-founder of Strategic Aviation Solutions (SASI),  which provides consulting and management services for airlines, airports, international trade organizations and financial institutions. He has over 40 years of senior air cargo management experience in operations and marketing management, as well as CEO or board-level experience with four major global cargo airlines. His background includes vice president of Global Cargo Sales and Marketing for KLM Royal Dutch Airlines; senior vice president of sales and marketing for Atlas Air Worldwide Holdings; and leading the team that founded Volga Dnepr’s AirBridgeCargo in 2003, which has grown to be a global scheduled cargo operator.


“You’re not going to see a rebound in the passenger market before 2024 or 2025. … I don’t see the borders opening up for international leisure travel, other than for what we call visiting friends and relatives, and we’re going to see business travel plummet as well. In my case, I’m a 150,000- to 200,000-mile-a-year guy. I haven’t flown since last January, and that’s the first time in 50 years I can say that.”

“The bigger airplanes are going to struggle getting back into the air if they’re totally dependent on passengers, unless there is a significant contribution of cargo in the belly.”

“Airlines have to get into the business of being able to make enough money in the lower deck of their airplanes and sustain that for years to come. And that means they have to up their game and what they’re offering to the market. They have to change their attitude. You cannot survive in the future if you’re going to give cheap prices to third parties and expect the airplanes to fly again. They have to make a fantastic return on investment.”

Click here for more FreightWaves/American Shipper stories by Eric Kulisch.

F3: Future of Freight Festival


The second annual F3: Future of Freight Festival will be held in Chattanooga, “The Scenic City,” this November. F3 combines innovation and entertainment — featuring live demos, industry experts discussing freight market trends for 2024, afternoon networking events, and Grammy Award-winning musicians performing in the evenings amidst the cool Appalachian fall weather.

One Comment

  1. Santhosh

    Major shift needs to happen to reduce airlines operating costs for shifting a portion of cargo moving by sea to air. It needs to be like a step change happened in PAX business with low cost models that increased the number of people flying by leaps and bounds. This is the right time for carriers to be innovative with freight movement to be alive for another 3 or 4 years.

Comments are closed.

Eric Kulisch

Eric is the Supply Chain and Air Cargo Editor at FreightWaves. An award-winning business journalist with extensive experience covering the logistics sector, Eric spent nearly two years as the Washington, D.C., correspondent for Automotive News, where he focused on regulatory and policy issues surrounding autonomous vehicles, mobility, fuel economy and safety. He has won two regional Gold Medals and a Silver Medal from the American Society of Business Publication Editors for government and trade coverage, and news analysis. He was voted best for feature writing and commentary in the Trade/Newsletter category by the D.C. Chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists. In December 2022, he was voted runner up for Air Cargo Journalist by the Seahorse Freight Association. As associate editor at American Shipper Magazine for more than a decade, he wrote about trade, freight transportation and supply chains. Eric is based in Portland, Oregon. He can be reached for comments and tips at [email protected]