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Hall of Fame 2017 - Desmond Vertannes



Des has fostered and led industry collaboration in e-freight, cargo security, and handling, initiated the Global Air Cargo Advisory Group (GACAG) and pushed to modernize the relationship between airlines and forwarders over a career spanning close to five decades.


During his tenure as Head of Cargo for the International Air Transport Association (IATA) between 2010 and 2014, Des famously 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 TIACA’s Chairman’s Council.


“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, and then joining Air Canada as General Manager, Cargo in 1991.


He was Chief Executive with Air Menzies International, Managing Director at Menzies World Cargo and was Head of Cargo at Gulf Air and then Etihad Airways before joining IATA.


A year after retiring from IATA, Des became a Strategic Advisor to cloud-based IT cargo management provider, SmartKargo.

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