The strategy of air cargo operators - About Carpet Sellers and Cargo Stars

Date: 25 April 2014

Venue: University of Antwerp - Stadscampus - Promotiezaal Grauwzusters - Lange Sint-Annastraat 7 - 2000 Antwerp

PhD candidate: Wouter Dewulf

Principal investigator: Prof E. Van de Voorde

Short description: PhD defense Wouter Dewulf - Faculty of Applied Economics

Abstract: Air cargo was traditionally considered as a by-product of passenger air transport. However, the last decade a defined strategy for air cargo has gained a key position in the strategy context which is far beyond the basic entrepreneurial framework in which an emerging and young industry tends to operate. This PhD research aims to gain an enhanced insight into the strategies of air cargo carriers.
Following the built-up of an extensive data set of a representative sample of 47 airlines, this research analyses the quantitative output of a Cluster Analysis. The output of this methodology generates a typology of seven representative clusters of air cargo operators' strategy models. The following strategy models have been identified: Carpet Sellers, Basic Cargo Operators, Strong Regional, Premium Cargo Operators, Huge Americans, Large wide-body Passenger Operators and Cargo Stars, each with their own characterizing features and similarities and differences among them. Our findings suggest the clear existence of different strategy models and the differing degree of focus on air cargo strategy development and deployment among the air cargo carriers' population.
In addition, the key success factors within the business level strategies of successful clusters in the air cargo industry are investigated. Our findings suggest the existence of superior strategy models which could be defined as 'winning strategies'.