Tag: British Airways

Got Cargo? British Airways Wants to Fly it to London

Founder of Silicon Hills News

IAG Cargo's team: (LtoR) Camilo Garcia, head of Global Key Accounts, David Shepherd, president of commercial business and Joseph LeBeau, vice president of commercial, the Americas.

IAG Cargo’s team: (LtoR) Camilo Garcia, head of Global Key Accounts, David Shepherd, president of commercial business and Joseph LeBeau, vice president of commercial, the Americas.

On any given day, IAG Cargo might be transporting computer components, chocolates, spare parts for machinery or fruits and vegetables through Austin to London.

And it might be flying in salmon, automotive and other parts into Austin Bergstrom International Airport from its hub at the Heathrow Airport.

“A market like this is great because it’s so diversified,” said David Shepherd, head of commercial business for IAG Cargo.

IAG Cargo wants to make sure Austin companies can deliver products worldwide as fast as possible, Shepherd said. They are particularly targeting the growing high-tech industry in the region.

Shepherd spoke at a press conference Friday morning at the Austin Chamber of Commerce offices in downtown Austin. Four British journalists flew to Austin to learn more about the company’s operations here. They were going to go on a tour of the city and visit Freescale Semiconductor and then have a special dinner at Salt Lick.

IAG Cargo formed in 2011, after the merger of British Airways with Iberia. The company has $1.5 billion in revenue annually and is the seventh largest cargo company in the world. It has more than 2,700 employees worldwide.

“We’re not the biggest but we believe we’re the best,” Shepherd said.

In March, IAG Cargo began offering services out of Austin when British Airlines launched its direct flights between Austin and London. The company has 380 aircraft and connects to 350 destinations worldwide through its hubs at Heathrow and Madrid.

It’s not just geeks flying from Tech City London to Austin’s bustling startup scene. It’s a lot of cargo too.

IAG Cargo transports general cargo, live animals; secure products, gold, airmail, dangerous goods, human remains and courier services.

IAG Cargo has 20 gateways in the U.S. and operates more than 45 flights per day. It already operates out of Dallas and Houston and Austin was the next logical expansion, said Joseph LeBeau, IAG Cargo’s vice president of commercial, the Americas.

“It’s been in the works for about two years,” he said.

“Texas has been very kind to IAG Cargo,” he said. “Between Dallas and Houston, for as long as I can remember, we have been 100 percent full every day.’’

The cargo flights on the Austin to London route were 88 percent full after just three weeks and now operate at 90 percent to 95 percent capacity, LeBeau said.

“It’s not all Austin. It’s being fed into by San Antonio and Laredo,” he said. “This route eases the capacity crunch at Houston and Dallas.’’

Austin is shipping high tech products from the “Silicon Hills” as well as aviation and oilfield spare parts and equipment and pharmaceuticals.

IAG Cargo has a fully functional warehouse at the Austin airport and is expected to get its constant climate accreditation shortly for its refrigerated cargo. Its transatlantic service began daily service as of May 1st and is serviced by a Boeing 787 Dreamliner that can transport up to 44,000 pounds of cargo per night.

Joseph LeBeau providing an overview of IAG Cargo's Austin and North American operations.

Joseph LeBeau providing an overview of IAG Cargo’s Austin and North American operations.

British Airways Dreamliner: The Wellness Plane

Reporter with Silicon Hills News

Jon Driscoll with Mass Relevance, Virginia Miracle with  Spredfast and Matt Curtis with HomeAway.

Jon Driscoll with Mass Relevance, Virginia Miracle with Spredfast and Matt Curtis with HomeAway.

The British Airways direct flight that just started its inaugural journeys back and forth from London to Austin isn’t your average plane ride. It has been calibrated to reduce jetlag. For example, the lighting is different from other planes. The air pressure was set for 6,000 feet rather than 8,000 feet which is supposed to reduce dryness and other stressors on the body. And the windows are much larger to connect passengers to the flying experience. Instead of passengers pulling down blinds, they can adjust the amount of light coming in electronically.

The point, said Glenn Morgan, head of service transformation for British Airways, is to “create a whole wellness experience, getting passengers there in the best shape they can be.”

Open Platform

And they’re only beginning.

“We’ve opened up the platform for APIs,” said Morgan. “A lot of companies are doing great things in the travel space, hotel finders, transportation, putting that information together. We work a lot in the valley, and we were talking to a company very much like Capital Factory and they said I bet you have no single business problem that a startup isn’t working on right now. And he’s right.”

The Boeing 787 Dreamliner’s body is made of carbon fibers rather than metal, wrapped and then baked in an autoclave until it is a very hard substance. It goes in the oven looking like a cone made of roofing asphalt and emerges shiny. The lighter substance allows for 20 percent reduction in fuel costs, 20 percent reduction in maintenance costs and a 60 percent reduction in noise.

The Dreamliner is part of a transformation British Airways is aiming for in the flying experience which includes keeping track of how regular passengers like to travel and accommodating their preferences, putting passengers with connecting flights at the front so they don’t miss their connections and texting passengers when bags missed a connection, so they don’t have to stand forever at the carousel.

Representatives from British Airways and Boeing spoke at Capital Factory Wednesday before the British Airways Inaugural Kickoff party where flight simulators and photo booths with captains outfits were available.

Move Your Company to Europe

Following the presentation on the plane, serial entrepreneur and Capital Factory partner Fred Schmidt interviewed Matt Curtis, director of government relations for HomeAway, Virginia Miracle, chief customer officer of Spredfast and Jon Driscoll, Chief revenue officer of Mass Relevance about their experiences expanding their companies into London.

It’s crucial, all three said, to understand the culture before you either try to hire someone or move someone abroad. Driscoll talked about finding it suspect when his London employee said he really needed an office, because Mass Relevance was started in a coffee shop.

“But just try to find a place to work in downtown London that’s quiet, has internet access and a bathroom you can use,” Driscoll said.

Also, things tend to take more time. English employment law doesn’t include employment at will—in which, without cause, either the employee or employer can terminate. And while in Austin someone can be hired on Wednesday and working the following Monday “as long as we get their Mac on time,” Miracle said. In London you go through the whole process of hiring and the new employee says “Great! And I can start in three months!” Driscoll reported.

And the order of operations, who to hire when is another challenge, Miracle said.

Having someone in the position who is a really adept communicator is huge. All three said it is important to hire local people. Even if you augment your staff with Americans, locals know the culture and can steer you away from big mistakes. For example, Mass Relevance puts social media on TV. But publicly owned TV is a far cry from the private stations in the U.S.

Also, Driscoll said, they launched in London with a sales focus. He wishes they’d started with a customer service focus.

Curtis said HomeAway retains a number of employees in the countries where it operates, partly because it has grown by acquiring other companies and it just creates goodwill to keep those people on.

The big question often is, when is time to go? All three responded that when you can’t serve your international customers from home any more, it’s time to take the plunge.

Hackney House Returns to Austin for SXSW 2014

BannerHackney House, a venue that showcases the talents of East London’s creative, tech and design community, will return to South by Southwest Interactive 2014.
Last year’s event garnered millions in business leads with 1,500 people visiting.
This year, more than 30 Hackney-based businesses plans to use the space to show off their companies and to meet new contacts.
“Any business based in the borough is welcome to use the Hackney House Austin venue for free and attend all of its business and networking events,” according to a news release.
Hackney House will set up in more than 6,000 square feet of space at 721 Congress Ave.
Hackney House Austin will also be a chance for eight students from Hackney Community College to learn more about the creative tech sector. They’re taking part in the Millennial Mentoring Programme and will be attending Hackney House Austin’s events culminating in an interactive workshop with companies who are seeking their creative input into developing new products and services for young people. This is a partnership scheme with Austin Community College who have 6 students taking part in the programme.
British Airways, which is launching direct flights from London to Austin on its 787 Dreamliner on March 3rd, is one of the sponsors of Hackney House. Other partners, iCITY, Dazed and COnfused, Poke, Human After All, the Victoria and Albert Museum, all will make the trip to Austin on British Airway’s inaugural startup flights.
“Over the past year the relationship between Austin and Hackney has flourished and I am thrilled to welcome Hackney House back to the heart of downtown Austin during SXSW,” Austin Mayor Lee Leffingwell said in a news release. “There are numerous collaborations underway between students, tech companies, civic leaders and more from our respective cities and I look forward to strengthening our ties and having fun with our visitors in March.”

© 2024 SiliconHills

Theme by Anders NorenUp ↑