Acrobatics with acronyms

07 / 03 / 2014

  • Air Cargo News editor Nigel Tomkins

    Air Cargo News editor Nigel Tomkins

AIR CARGO job titles used to be pleasingly uncomplicated and therefore easy to understand. Rarely did they succumb to the world of acronyms.

Unfortunately, even though many aspects of this business grow infuriatingly complex by the day, some organisations are now intent on introducing further obfuscation by creating lofty-sounding positions with ridiculously long job titles. It’s one way of adding value without cost. 

The integrators are among the worst offenders.

A recent example is Joe Bloggs (real name withheld), deputy senior vice-president, Europe, Middle East, Indian sub-Continent and Africa, Marketing and Public Relations and Customer Services Quality Measurement.

Not so long ago, it was regional manager.

Perhaps the packaging has become more significant than the cargo? – because it seems as if job titles these days are designed to satisfy and impress customers and rivals – whilst also fulfilling search-engine key-words criteria. As with some information on the internet, simplicity has been removed from the equation.

Some jobs are even cleverly disguised by the ambiguousness of their title descriptions, to make them much more momentous. Employers lavish capital letters on them too, turning common nouns into proper nouns, thereby adding to the notion of importance.

A cargo receptionist used to be …  a receptionist. Today he or she could easily be an Office Access Control Manager (OACM); a window cleaner a Transparent Wall Technician (TWT); or a warehouse nightwatchman a Nocturnal Theft Prevention Surveillance Officer (NTPSO).

As for me, I’ve turned into a Transportation Words Information Technologist (TWIT).


ONE OF the more enjoyable parts of my job is to choose the annual recipient of the Cargo Airline of the Year Life-time Achievement award.

I already know who it is this year – and I can’t wait to make the presentation at the awards night in London on April 26. As in previous years, the recipient will be truly deserving of the accolade.

Don’t miss out.

It might be you.