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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

Why airlines are going digital: Interview with Peter Roberts, Head of Distribution at IAG Cargo

Every month, WebCargo interviews someone from the industry to hear a wide range of perspectives. In March 2022, we asked Peter Roberts, Head of Distribution at IAG Cargo, to get the airline perspective on drivers for digital air cargo in the present and future. The benefits of digital air cargo benefits forwarders are many, and a game changer – but what is driving airlines to modernize their cargo systems and go digital?

Q: What was the main motivation to develop digital sales and eBooking capabilities at IAG Cargo?

A: We wanted to make air cargo accessible and easy for our forwarder customers. 

Since its introduction, eBooking has greatly improved the customer experience for our large, existing customers, making it easy to book on their standard routes, but also enabling them to find and book on other parts of our network they might not have discovered otherwise. 

Digital sales also enabled many smaller forwarders to discover and access our services for the first time, and in an always-on, low touch way. The value to our customers is not just the instant confirmation of a booking linked to actual capacity, but also the flexibility to easily make changes to that booking, when necessary.

Q: What advantages has digital booking introduced for IAG Cargo?

A:In addition to improving customer satisfaction, extending business to new lanes, and improving our reach, the data unlocked through eBooking has improved our business intelligence. It allows us to develop a data-driven strategy, and improve our offering by region or customer type, and our communication as well.

Since launching eBookings, not only has the number of online bookings climbed, but the average weight per booking has grown too. To us, this means that customer trust in this product is continuing to grow. 

Q: COVID introduced major stressors to the freight ecosystem; how did innovation and digitization help? 

A: The pandemic accelerated eBooking growth that had already begun prior. When passenger services began to pause at the start of the pandemic, we looked to find solutions for our customers, adapting our network. Online channels were crucial to letting customers see where capacity is in real time, and have confidence in securing a booking.