Ireland’s largest airline cargo general sales agent (GSSA), IAM, is poised to celebrate its 20th birthday this year. The company has grown from 3 staff to become the core of a successful aviation services group controlling 20% of Ireland’s entire export airfreight traffic, handling airline exports and imports, linking Ireland with Europe by express trucking services, and offering training in aviation security.
IAM now represents 13 airlines, and still counts its original launch customer Air Canada among its client carriers. The combined networks of IAM’s various client airlines provide Irish freight agents with connections to virtually every major direct export destination across the globe.
The company’s founder Sean McCool already boasted a long and distinguished career in airfreight before conceiving and launching IAM in 1989, having held senior positions in Western Airlines, Brinks, Aer Lingus and Seaboard World (from the time when the latter commenced transatlantic services into Shannon Airport). Now IAM’s Chairman and in semi-retirement, McCool has handed over the company’s reins to son Ian, as Managing Director.
IAM’s headquarters are nowadays located in modern offices near Dublin’s trendy Smithfield Market and legal district – its fourth home since the early days in downtown Dublin. Airport offices are also located within service partners’ facilities in Dublin, Shannon, Cork, Belfast and London Heathrow.
IAM has spawned highly successful road transportation (ITC Trucking) and air cargo handling (ITCHandling) arms, respectively launched in 1995 and 2005. These have broadened its appeal to airlines and enabled it to handle import traffic as well as exports. In recent years, ITC Trucking has further expanded operations to include non-air cargo movements between key Irish airports and London Heathrow and Manchester airports in the UK. In 2002, the company also established Translogic, a specialist aviation security training business, now the market leader in Dangerous Goods training in Ireland. This diversification has proven vital in widening IAM’s market, so insulating it against the recent dramatic shrinkage in Ireland’s export airfreight market.
Says Ian McCool: “It has been a fascinating 20 years; the company is now a very different one to what we envisaged in the early days. We are committed to further expansion and diversification to meet the needs of our customers and the challenges of an ever-changing business environment.
“Airfreight provides a vital gateway to world markets, but Ireland has very limited direct international air services due to its market size. IAM’s success has been in helping airlines to offer a competitive, viable, high-quality service to key destinations worldwide, by eliminating the potential delays and difficulties in linking with flights departing from the UK and Europe. In recent years we have taken this concept a stage further by providing airlines with a unique import service for their inbound cargo utilizing our trucking operation, ITC.
“These initiatives have opened up a lucrative new market for airlines, enabled Irish business to compete more effectively on the international stage, and in turn have increased client airline cargo volumes and even influenced Irish employment levels.”
He concludes: “Diversification has enabled IAM to continue expanding even while Irish export trade has slowed in recent years. But when export business recovers, as we fully expect it will in due course, then IAM will be ready once again to help Irish industry regain its export impetus.”