Published on: 25 April 2018
Our team at Schiphol has already been through several changes in 2018, and the cargo department is looking forward to becoming more integrated within the aviation team and having more impact on business decisions.
We thought it is high time to get to know our new head of Aviation Marketing, Cargo and Customer Experience (ACC) Maaike van der Windt a little bit better…
How did you find yourself in the business of aviation?
If you’d have asked me as a child what I wanted to be when I grew up, I’d have replied “pilot”, every time. The opportunity to travel and see so many other countries was really attractive to me.
I went on to study mathematics and statistics at the University of Amsterdam and did my internship in a large telecom business in the Hague. Every day, on my way there, I passed Schiphol and it reawakened my curiosity for aviation.
Once I finished my masters, I applied for a data analyst vacancy in the Schiphol aviation department… and got the job.
In hindsight, I am so happy I ended up in the Aviation industry and in my current role; the diversity of my position especially is something I really enjoy about where I am now.
Tell us more about your role, and how you will be working with Bart Pouwels
My team is comprised of five teams, one of them being the cargo team, and as a core part of my role is to ensure that Schiphol maintains its mainport position, the Cargo Community has a huge part to play in what I do.
Maintaining our mainport position includes two things - number of direct destinations, and cargo volumes.
I am commercially responsible for making sure that airlines and passengers are equally happy at Schiphol, with Bart Pouwel's role in heading up the cargo team focusing on the cargo part of the overall objectives of ACC team.
Bart’s main focus is to maintain cargo volumes, and as one of the ways we go about this is to ensure we are the smartest cargo hub in Europe, the Smart Cargo Mainport Program has also become an important program where we work closely with many partners in the Cargo Community.
Do you think passenger and cargo services complement each other in developing the business of an airport? How?
Absolutely – as I described, it is number of routes, and cargo volumes that are important for us to maintain.
Where the two collide is in the current shift from full freight aircraft towards belly capacity – and it takes combined passenger and cargo expertise in order to best serve our airline customers who make use of Schiphol for belly cargo.
Full freighter airlines continue to be an important part of Schiphol and their contribution to the Cargo Community brings immense value to all our stakeholders.
We have developed a belly cargo tool which combines cargo and passenger data so we can identify opportunities to update which aircraft runs on which route. There are often cases where demand and capacity could be better matched – some routes are seeing an increase in belly cargo, for example.
To optimise how we manage this, we need better information, and our tool, developed in conjunction with our own analytics team together with the cargo team, analyses the combined data to make suggestions.
Next, the passenger side talks to the network planners about new routes and aircraft updates to see how we can put larger aircraft on routes which demand more belly capacity.
Once our teams had merged, it quickly became clear that cargo was influencing more of our business decisions - we are all about optimisation, and the more passengers and cargo an aircraft can carry, the better is it for our airlines.
What are you looking forward to about working closer to the cargo team?
Cargo is a new part of the Schiphol business to me and so far, I am enjoying the learning curve. It continues to surprise me that the differences and similarities do not always lie where you think. Small parcels, for example will follow the route that is most efficient and cost-effective. Passengers have a designated destination, and they can’t always budge.
I am looking forward to learning more about this important part of our business.
Plans for the future of the ACC team?
The Smart Cargo Mainport Program is being applied across the team, and we have embarked on a new initiative looking at how we can optimise the efficiency of the airport.
This looks at how we can achieve a seamless flow for passengers and eliminate checks for passports or boarding tickets. We would like something similar for cargo and continue to strive towards an efficient, paperless flow and handling.