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Cargo

Leading lights - Derry Huff

Airline Cargo Management speaks with Derry Huff, Vice President, Strategic Initiatives, Amerijet International
 

Derry Huff has thirty years of international logistics experience. During this period, he has held several senior positions with Amerijet International. His current role focuses on special projects, new route development and developing ACMI contract and charter sales. Derry holds an MBA from Florida International University, as well as an undergraduate degree from Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University.

 

What does a typical day entail in your job?

 

As Vice President of Strategic Initiatives my overall responsibility is to find new opportunities, whether it is a short term charter solution for a customer in need, or fulfilling a long term requirement offering a customer the reliability and service levels they require. That’s the elevator speech answer to your question, in reality, I spend a lot of time listening to our customers and then trying to offer the best solution, which quite often is not what they originally requested. Charter customers are usually operating in a crisis mode, so we find that we often need to keep things in focus on how to solve the immediate requirement first and then how to evolve our service to ongoing non-crisis level support.

 

Miami is the base for your all-cargo operations.

 

What opportunities do you derive from this location? Miami is the transit point for everything, from agricultural products to high value pharmaceuticals and even gold and currencies. Charter operations often are created by a wrinkle in the normal logistics chain. We often think of charters as supporting disaster relief, which we also support from MIA [Miami International Airport], however everyday production or logistics interruptions also create charter opportunities. Miami offers a central point to servicing those issues both for North America as well as South and Central America and the Caribbean.

 

The 767-200/300s are the backbone of the fleet. How do you rate their performance in today’s environment and what is the fleet strategy moving forward?

 

Like all modern Boeing products, the 767 delivers reliability each and every day. Operating modern fuel-efficient aircraft capable of moving high volumes of cargo allows us to offer an economical rate per unit for our customers. For the cargo requirements within this hemisphere, the 50 tonne capability of the 767 is hard to beat. We will continue to grow with the 767.

 

Amerijet was the first all-cargo US airline to earn CEIV certification. What value does this add to the business?

 

The value is added to our customers’ products and we hope they come to us for the opportunity to secure that value. Our investment in this level of service, and the equipment to support our CEIV promise, to insure the integrity of pharmaceuticals and other temperature-controlled items is not easily replicated in the industry. We know our customers who depend on this service level value its integrity.

 

In your view, what is the single most challenging issue facing the air cargo industry in the US?

 

The global economy. It is easy to see that when the economy is going well, air freight is abundant and we are all hopefully making money. However, when the economy slows, which is often driven by rising fuel prices, air freight takes a double hit. Global production slows due to lower demands for goods, which the price per mile to move cargo rises steadily with the rising price of fuel.

 

Are there plans for transatlantic services to Europe?

 

As announced last year, we are evaluating service between the US and Europe, and we continue to do so. However, we must balance the rates the markets are willing to pay with the cost of long haul operations. We believe these variables will merge this year to create such an opportunity, but we will watch and see. Stay tuned…

 

What sets Amerijet apart from other all-cargo operators?

 

Our people. One of my roles here at Amerijet is to act as the corporate liaison with our top global customers. The compliment I hear most from our largest customers is that our teams always work to get the job done right. I also think we do a great job of communicating. In those instances when we face obstacles, as sometime happens in this industry, we keep our customers informed.


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