American Airlines (AA) saw a 43% increase in cargo revenue from Ireland in 2005. In all but two months of the year, it was the second largest carrier of North Atlantic cargo out of Ireland, and averaged 4th place in the Irish export airfreight market as a whole.

American Airlines commenced online services to Ireland in May 2005; its GSSA in Ireland, IAM, had previously sold its services offline and trucked all cargo overnight to London. Now AA is increasing both its Dublin-Chicago and Shannon-Boston direct flights to daily from March 3, 2006. The airline currently operates both routes five times per week.

Says IAM MD Ian McCool, “The arrival of direct AA flights from Ireland enabled us to offer a faster transit time, but in fact did not drastically affect AA’s market share which was already strong and growing.

“Where it did make a big difference was the American Airlines Expeditefs product. Traffic from Ireland grew 24-fold in the year, beating the already impressive performance throughout Northern Europe as a whole, where shipments more than doubled to 244% of 2004 levels. This is a premium product where the benefit of direct flights really shows up.”

Expeditefs (code EPX) is a premium-rated product which guarantees space availability, priority loading and fast transfers. The service benefits from a full money-back guarantee in the event of a shipment failing to fly as booked. There is no limit to the weight of individual pieces on wide-body services, while shipments transferring to narrow-body services are restricted to 45kgs per piece. The service is fully tracked from origin to destination.

The introduction of direct flights from Dublin to Chicago and Shannon to Boston has shaved four hours off close-out times in Ireland, and a further two or more hours off transshipment times onto AA’s network of 77 Expeditefs destinations throughout the USA, Central America, South America and the Caribbean. Key destinations on the AA system such as Dallas, San Francisco, Los Angeles and Miami can all now be reached same day from Ireland.

Concludes McCool, “We believe the move to daily flights will prove very popular, as the new services are on Tuesdays and Thursdays. Now customers know that they can call AA any day of the week and move cargo the same day: that will make a significant difference.”

IAM is Ireland’s largest cargo GSSA company, representing 11 leading airlines and controlling around 20% of the Irish export airfreight market. It forms the core of an expanding group which now includes cargo handling, air cargo road transportation, aviation training and travel agency activities. It is the exclusive Irish member of EGSAC - the consortium of independent cargo GSSA companies, and Europe’s largest cargo GSSA network.