Where PR stands for poor relation

27 / 06 / 2014

  • Nigel Tomkins, managing director

    Nigel Tomkins, managing director

THIS is my last comment after some 30 years or so of waking up every single morning and wondering what the rest of the day has in store . . for the worldwide air cargo industry! writes Nigel Tomkins.

Pathetic, I know, but on reflection, my partial retirement comes with few regrets, except perhaps the realisation of how different life might have turned out had it not been air cargo but instead was Bordeaux winetasting, or naked mud-wrestling. Apart from the former, there isn’t much of that happening in air cargo. Not officially anyway.

Surprisingly, I’ve met some wonderful people over my two spells in the editor’s chair at ACN, people who have somehow scratched a decent living out of this thing called airfreight. They’ve done so despite the insurmountable burden of living in the constant shadow of passengers.

In the 1980s, when Air Cargo News was a twinkle in the eyes of myself and my business partner Ray Crane, we discovered that cargo was clearly the airline industry’s poor, neglected orphan. And despite 30 years of ongoing wrangling with customers and suppliers, competing on price, promising the unprovidable, trying to become e-worthy and delivering disappointment . . the air cargo industry is still the poor relation. I have a strong feeling this parallax will never change.

Over 30 years there is one area in particular about which I feel well qualified to have an opinion. It is the area that journalists come into contact with every day: public relations. In a word, it’s crap (apart from one or two practitioners) – and, unlike fine wines, gets no better with age.