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A short chat with Lufthansa Cargo CEO Ashwin Bhat

“We are united by a focus on quality and reliability”

cargo-partner and Lufthansa Cargo are united by a long-standing collaboration. Out of this close collaboration emerged an excellent relationship with Ashwin Bhat, CEO of Lufthansa Cargo. We took this opportunity and invited him to talk to us about sustainable aviaition fuel (SAF), respectful relationships and a very clever African proverb...

“If you want to go fast, go alone. If you want to go far, go together.”

The Lufthansa Cargo CEO sums up the longstanding and reliable cooperation between the two companies.

Lufthansa Cargo, a wholly owned subsidiary of the Lufthansa Group, and international transport and logistics provider cargo-partner have been working together successfully for over a decade. “The cooperation started before 2010 and intensified in 2016 when we launched our Premium Partner Program,” reports Ashwin Bhat, Lufthansa Cargo’s newly appointed CEO, in our interview. In this program, cargo-partner is among the top 10. “There are local, regional and global companies among our Premium Partners. Lufthansa Cargo is very happy to work with mid-sized forwarders, like cargo-partner”, Bhat adds.

What makes the Austrian company so interesting for the Lufthansa subsidiary is that “they are not only one of the largest forwarders in Austria, but also have a strong presence in Eastern European countries, such as Hungary, the Czech Republic, Romania, Slovakia, Poland and Slovenia, in addition to the Far East, including Vietnam. I was in Hanoi in November 2022 and also met a cargo-partner representative there,” Bhat shares.

“The logistics business is a very personal one. We have a very respectful relationship. But cargo-partner is also very professional. The company is always open when it comes to trying out new things,” the Lufthansa Cargo CEO emphasizes.

This applies, among other things, to the whole area of sustainability, especially when it comes to the use of sustainable aviation fuel (SAF). The eco-friendly alternative fuel is produced primarily from biomass waste, for instance, from used vegetable and cooking oils. Therefore, burning it in the engine only releases CO₂ which was previously removed from the atmosphere when the plants were growing.

“In December, we launched an eco-friendly air connection with cargo-partner between Vienna and Dallas in the US state of Texas,” reports Bhat. The air freight shipment was carried out on behalf of a customer from the cosmetics industry and amounted to a volume weight of 340 kilograms. It was the first shipment to depart from Vienna under SAF criteria.

“The cargo-partner group is not as big as others, but it has other important qualities. We share a similar DNA, a focus on quality, reliability and trust,” Bhat explains. When looking for business partners, Lufthansa Cargo acts according to the old African proverb: “If you want to go fast, go alone. If you want to go far, go together.”

Ashwin Bhat, born in 1969, studied chemistry at the University of Mumbai, India. Bhat began his career with Airline Financial Support Services in India. In 1999, he joined what was then Swisscargo and held various management positions, including Revenue Management, Transport Management and Global Area Management. From 2015, Bhat headed the cargo business unit at Swiss International Air Lines.

In 2021, he was appointed to the Executive Board of Lufthansa Cargo as CCO. He has been its Chairman since April 15 2023.

Offering a Wide Range of Air Cargo Services

cargo-partner started as an airfreight specialist at Vienna Airport in 1983. Since its beginnings, the company has not only grown considerably, but also forged many lasting partnerships which have significantly contributed to the international logistics provider’s success. One of these is the close and reliable partnership with Lufthansa Cargo. This is why cargo-partner was particularly delighted when the cooperation was awarded with the Lufthansa Performance Awards in 2016, where cargo-partner was able to achieve the first place out of 38 participants.