Q&A: Qatar Cargo’s Kirsten de Bruijn

Earlier this week, Qatar Airways Cargo appointed Kirsten de Bruijn into the role of senior vice president, cargo sales and network planning. Air Cargo News caught up with her to find out how she is settling in and what attracted her to the new role.

Firstly, congratulations on the new role, when did you start at Qatar Cargo?

Thank you for the congratulations. I am very excited to join Qatar Cargo. I started in this role just a few days ago on September 27.

What role will you occupy at Qatar Cargo and what will that position entail at a strategic and a day-to-day level?

In my new position I am the senior vice president of cargo sales and network planning. In this position I have global commercial accountability for the cargo sales and network planning organisation. I am responsible for developing the strategic goals and objectives to ensure revenue growth and drive digitisation in my field of responsibilities. Of course there is a day-to-day element whilst still ensuring empowering and enabling my team. But I am very hands on.

What attracted you to the role and Qatar Cargo in general?

Working for the biggest global air cargo carrier in the world is an attraction on its own. In addition, working under the leadership of chief officer cargo, Guillaume Halleux, further developing the air cargo side of Qatar airways is something I look very much forward to. Being able to be part of the Qatar Cargo team is something I am very proud of.

How do you think your role will help drive the business forward?

Qatar Cargo is the leader in the air cargo industry. With being responsible for sales and the freighter network management, this team is a lead example for the industry and for setting the right example. We have the responsibility to continuously innovate the industry while keeping a prime focus on our customer service.

How has it been changing jobs during the Covid-19 pandemic?

Not being able to meet your new colleagues face-to-face before starting a new position is definitely not ideal and of course moving to a country where I have never been is an exciting journey. Luckily the modern technology of today has helped in e-meeting some of the team members.

Do you think we have reached a turning point in terms of women in more of the senior roles in air cargo?

I think the airline industry is coming of age where it’s about results. Although I of course welcome more females to the air cargo industry, as it’s an existing business, in the end it’s about execution, delivery and accountability.

In other words, profitability is the building block of our trade and it’s the details that count regardless of who one is, male or female. Qatar Cargo is a global change agent and as part of the team I am excited to challenge mind-sets and boundaries to deliver results.

Research also shows that gender diversity brings value to organisations and I am thrilled to join a diverse management team which already includes great women at key positions like Sinead O’Neal, our vice president cargo operations and Stephanie Penarete, our head of global sales.      

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