Sales expert Roberto Gallego has his eye on the competition in an export-driven economy.
Finnair Cargo’s presence in Spain dates back several decades - the company has, for example, transported Spanish tomatoes to Finland since the 1970s. The array of export products handled by Finnair has since grown, and continued to diversify despite the economic setbacks of recent years.
In addition to food items, clothes and products from chemical and pharmaceutical industries are transported from Spain by air. Car parts, which make up nearly a fifth of the country’s exports, are another item flown out of the country.
Finnair Cargo’s sales operations in Spain are handled by Capitol Airline Services. The company’s managing director Roberto Gallego, who has collaborated with Finnair for nearly a quarter of a century, says that exports into Asia are providing a crucial injection into Spain’s economy.
“The importance of exports is demonstrated by the large amount of cargo flying from Spain to Helsinki,” he says. A majority of these products continue their way to China, South Korea and Japan.
Gallego’s career in the airline industry spans 23 years. In 1989 he started at Capitol’s accounting department, and later moved on to operations. Over the years he has worked, for example, in bookings, ramp supervision and customer service.
“I’ve had the chance to observe each aspect of the air cargo business,” he says. Gallego currently spends his days meeting with new and existing clients and keeping them updated on the status of their shipments and reservations.
According to Gallego, increased reliance on exports and economic challenges has increased competition among cargo providers in Spain. Beyond participating in promotional campaigns and communicating with clients, sales agents can give an airline a competitive edge by being able to think up custom solutions on the fly.
“Daily challenges might be similar to one another, but the exact same solution never works in two different situations. Every case and request is different,” he says.
When communicating with Finnair’s staff members in Europe and Asia, Gallego often receives a reply within minutes. “Their ability to offer solutions within a short time span is greatly appreciated by our clients,” he says.
“Clear and reliable communication is the most important aspect of this business because it helps generate strong business relationships between airlines, sales agents, brokers and companies,” Gallego adds.
To further expedite the flow of information, Capitol Airline Services has recently employed an electronic tracking process that can give clients quick updates. Finnair has also increased cargo space on its flights to and from Spain, giving GSAs the opportunity to serve more clients. “This is fantastic for us,” Gallego says.
Cities of culture
Roberto Gallego is based in Barcelona, where he has worked for seven years. He previously spent 15 years in Madrid.
In Madrid Gallego recommends Buen Retiro, a historical park known for its fountains and statues. In Barcelona, meanwhile, he sends visitors to the Gaudi-designed Sagrada Familia church and Parc Güell garden, which have both become unofficial symbols of the city.
Gallego also recommends that visitors to the region check out Bilbao and San Sebastián in Basque Country. The former city is home to one of Europe’s three Guggeinheim museums, and the latter has been slated as 2016’s European Capital of Culture.
Text by Laura Palotie
Published June 11, 2012
Finnair is the first airline in Europe and one of only two global carriers (South African Airways) to be certified as a Stage 2 operator in IATA Environmental Assessment (IEnvA) program, an environmental management system designed to independently assess and improve an airline’s environmental management.