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It used to take three hours to book air cargo. Now, it takes us five minutes.

Air Export/Import Coordinator MC Trinter
Customer Interview Logistics Technology

Digitizing air cargo provides significant advantages: Interview with Roger Samways, VP Commercial at American Airlines Cargo

Every month, WebCargo interviews an industry expert in our monthly eBooking report to explore a wide range of perspectives.

In June 2022, we spoke to Roger Samways, VP Commercial at American Airlines Cargo, to discuss how American has gained from digitizing air cargo operations, and how this helps provide stability in a volatile market. Roger shared his thoughts about airline digitization drivers, how digital air cargo helps forwarders and airlines alike, and how innovation and technology help address challenges like pandemics.

Why Air Cargo Digitization Matters

Q: What are the main challenges that American has set out to address by digitizing?

A: We value transparency and the customer experience, so digitization is becoming the foundation for how we deliver. We aim to provide more self-serve tools to meet customer needs, including making booking, shipping and recovery as seamless as possible.

Q: What advantages has digital booking introduced for American?

A: With eBookings, we’re seeing better resource utilization, data accuracy and business growth. These include increased support from our Small-Medium customer segment, opportunities with new customers, reduced booking and tracking through our contact centers (freeing up our team to focus on more complex challenges), and an increased level of booking accuracy.

Q: What advantages has digital booking introduced for your forwarder customers?

A: Having our capacity available on different channels allows our freight forwarders ease of access based on their timing, their needs and the type of shipment they are trying to book.

American Airlines is available on WebCargo for bookings

Q: What challenges had to be overcome to make digital sales and eBookings a success?

A: A new way of working always requires time to adjust – both for internal teams and for the end customer. However, we’ve been able to smooth the process both for our teams and customers through information sessions and training. We’ve also used reports detailing recent booking trends to highlight the benefits internally and help reinforce the value add to our business.

Q: How did innovation help you address volatility during the pandemic?

A: Besides launching cargo-only flights for the first time in decades, we also learned to rely on technology to break outside our norm during the pandemic, including integrating AI and bots to help with capacity forecasting, shipment confirmation and accounting. Frontline use of scanners and other resources helped us stay connected with our customers by offering self-serve shipment visibility.

The solutions we’ve provided and success we’ve had during the pandemic wouldn’t have been possible without technology.