‘Travel is a great way to stay connected with a grown-up family’

Published: Wednesday, January 18, 2023

Glyn Hughes, the first Director General of The International Air Cargo Association (TIACA), is putting more emphasis on just how big a sustainable aviation and air cargo industries have on the planet now struggling to fight off climate change.

With about 100,000 planes flying every day across continents, aviation has huge environmental impact on the planet.

Hughes, who works from his home in Switzerland, shares he uses public transport where possible, as a conscious effort to support a sustainable planet.

“I have changed aspects of my diet and travel emissions are offset, work and private travel.  Professionally, TIACA is building a strong portfolio of activities to support the industry on its sustainability journey. We hold an annual survey to assess the whole supply chain, we produce an insights report, we have produced an industry road map, which also looks at the way we support the United Nations sustainable development goals, we hold annual Sustainability awards and recently launched the BlueSky program, very important area of activity for us,” he said.

At TIACA, he strongly promotes sustainability, saying, “Every daythere are new challenges and new opportunities. Air cargo serves the global economy so any change in patterns of consumption, production, supply chains, regulations, technology innovation etc impacts this industry.  So, we must always evolve in response.”

This, he has been doing for almost four decades now, having started early in the air cargo sector. Born in Crawley, a town in the UK very near Gatwick airport, Hughes started temporary work for a freight forwarder soon after leaving school. Then worked for British Caledonian, an airline which sadly disappeared back in the 1980s.

It’s been a long journey with too many peaks. “I would say the highest points have been related to the wonderful people I have had the opportunity to learn from, to work with and build friendships for life.  I have been very fortunate to work with many young people and help encourage them along their chosen career path which I find very rewarding.  I was also part of the team at IATA which developed the CASS Link tool which is still in use today, over 20 years later,” said Hughes.

Hughes took over as the Director General of TIACA when the pandemic was at its peak and the challenges were many, issues from PPE movements to staff restrictions, to crew operational challenges to safe movement of vaccine, to moving crucial commodities, among other tasks. TIACA also forged alliances with Pharma.Aero, UNICEF and the COVAX program.

Amidst all these activities getting the right work / life balance is always difficult.

“During my career there were times when itwasn’t well balanced but now as we all love holidays and exploring new places, travel is a great way to stay connected with a grown-up family.  As I work remotely now, I can also be more flexible where that remote location is so that also helps to stay connected.  When we are together, there is usually lots of discussions, lots of laughter, lots of games.  We enjoy escape rooms and quizzes and during the covid restrictions we had many zoom quizzes and family nights,” Hughes shared.

Hughes lives in Switzerland and loves outdoor activities, enjoying cycling downhill, less enjoyable on the way back. “I also enjoy traveling and with my kids living in different countries I like to visit them as often as possible.  Although to quote them “not too often, please!” His favourite destination is Iceland as one can experience all four seasons in a single day.