Monday, July 15, 2024
Managing airfreight operations in a changing GSSA landscape

Managing airfreight operations in a changing GSSA landscape

Since its founding in the early 1970s, ATC Aviation has established itself as a pioneer in the ever-changing General Sales and Service Agents (GSSA) industry.

Over the decades, ATC has gone from being the first GSSA organisation to provide coverage with company-owned and dedicated officers in several European countries to having bases across the world.

ATC hasn’t just grown in scale during its time in existence, it has had to adapt its operations to meet the changing requirements from customers. While 20 years ago a GSSA was only focusing on the pure sales of airline services, nowadays it needs to cover a wider level of services.

For example, the conventional role of a GSSA is shifting as digitalisation transforms the market. Digital marketplaces are getting widely used but seen as an addition to the traditional sales channels. Customer service and after sales services performed by GSSA`s are still playing a vital role.

Today, GSSAs are scanning and discovering new markets, based on different data sources for example IATA, CASS, Seabury. With this data ATC Aviation is able to advise its airline customers about market trends and changes and react accordingly.

READ: Shipster partners with Eurora to navigate changes in cross-border trade compliance

Range of services

ATC Aviation offers a range of services, including trucking services, supervision of aircraft loads to optimise load factors, studying and evaluating new routes for airline customers and developing new products in tandem with the airline customers. In its portfolio, ATC Aviation also provides: segmented sales, traditional sales, total cargo management (TCM), onboard courier service, charters and part-charters.

The GGSA prides itself on being able to provide airline customers with individual modules based on their needs or the entire “well-being” (full service) programme. Sales, customer service functions, CASS billing, market reports and analyses, supervision of online flights and trucks complete its service portfolio.

“Our very flexible GSSA management product enables us to tailor our services to meet any needs our partners may have,” Ingo Zimmer, CEO ATC Aviation, said.

“In addition to being a crucial part of our partner’s success, our key competencies in market research, business intelligence, and airline consultancy set us apart from other GSAs. Because of our network, we may offer services to an individual countries, a whole region, or even a global contract,” he added.

Digitalisation to the max

The conventional role of a GSSA is shifting as digitalisation transforms the market, with digital marketplaces supplementary to the traditional sales channels.

The air cargo industry has faced a turbulent time in recent years. Challenges during Covid has led to a complete change of working environment. The pandemic has forced digitalisation to a very high level, decreasing office space by 40% and continuing the concept of partial homeworking of its team members.

“The initial phase was very challenging but together with our team we managed it very well. The efforts have paid off as we are on a very high level of digitalisation within our company, so that we can work digitally from anywhere in the world. During Covid we have helped our airline customers to sell pax to freighter charters, we supported vaccination initiatives from all over the world,” Zimmer explained.

“A lot of work can be digitalised, with new technologies coming up but I think, in our industry, we still need emotional intelligence to find out what your customer really wants,” he continued.

READ: AI’s emerging impact on cross-border trade revealed in new report

The next step

During the last few years, the air cargo industry has had to face changes in the global trade environment and a strong development of technology.

To stay competitive and keep up with the constantly shifting global trade scene, the GSSA sector has needed to continue to be flexible and open to change. To reorganise business processes, boost productivity, and cut costs, GSSAs must continue the digitalisation process.

With ATC Aviation a market leader in Central Europe, South America and the United States. “A white spot is still Asia where we have representations in India, Korea, Hong Kong and Thailand – so far but we are going to start up new offices in the next few years,” Zimmer said.

Picture of Edward Hardy

Edward Hardy

Having become a journalist after university, Edward Hardy has been a reporter and editor at some of the world's leading publications and news sites. In 2022, he became Air Cargo Week's Editor. Got news to share? Contact me on


Stay informed. Stay ahead. To get the latest air cargo news and industry trends delivered directly to your inbox, sign up now!

related articles

Executives from Microsoft, Maersk, and Boohoo to headline CILT UK’s 2024 Annual Conference

BIFA adds Solent Group to Young Forwarder Network

Major deal with Thai Airways gives UK businesses increased courier access to Far East markets