Air cargo veteran Desmond Vertannes has been inducted to The International Air Cargo Association’s Hall of Fame.
According to TIACA, Vertannes has fostered and led industry collaboration in e-freight, cargo security and handling, initiated the Global Air Cargo Advisory Group and pushed to modernize the relationship between airlines and forwarders over a career spanning almost five decades.
During his tenure as head of cargo at the International Air Transport Association between 2010 and 2014, he set the industry the challenge of reducing transit times by 48 hours to “ensure customers paying the premium air transport price consistently received a premium service.”
“The chairman’s council selected Des for his unwavering commitment to the development and recognition of the air cargo industry and its impact on global trade,” said Oliver Evans, chair of the chairman’s council at TIACA. “His dedication, perseverance, visionary thinking and inspiring leadership have made a profound and lasting impact on our industry. Des is also known for forging and growing friendships right across the industry that last to this day.”
Des began his career with British Airways in 1970, holding several management positions before setting up his own forwarding business in 1984. He then joined Air Canada as general manager of cargo in 1991. He has also held the roles of chief executive of Air Menzies International, managing director of Menzies World Cargo and was head of cargo at Gulf Air and then at Etihad Airways before joining IATA. A year after retiring from IATA, Vertannes became a strategic advisor to cloud-based IT cargo management provider, SmartKargo.
“It is wonderful to know Des in his professional capacity and even more pleasant to have him as a friend,” said Vladimir Zubkov, secretary general of TIACA. “I met Des shortly after he joined IATA when he responded to an invitation from Volga-Dnepr to come to the first air cargo conference in Moscow. His statements were very professional and his vision inspired. His ability to speak clearly about complicated problems, trends and requirements was really impressive and his soft and reassuring manners made him very approachable. He made many friends then and continued doing so all over the world. Des has a wonderful ability to make friends. I am delighted that the air cargo industry, through its senior and most respected representatives, bestowed this prestigious award on Des and congratulate my friend warmly.”
The TIACA Hall of Fame honours air cargo professionals who have played a role in the progress of aviation and have helped to shape and grow the industry. Past winners have included James Jackson, a driving force behind the standardization of unit load devices, and Peter Masefield, former managing director of British European Airways and chairman of the British Airports Authority and London Transport.
“Des is truly deserving of this prestigious award,” said Sanjiv Edward, chairman of TIACA. I have known him for many years, his ability to cast a vision and get people to rally behind it has been commendable. The air cargo industry needs leaders with an unstinted commitment to promote air cargo and Des is one of the few leaders who have passionately pursued this cause. My sincere congratulations to Des; it is a pleasure to have him join TIACA’s Hall of Fame.”