“Huge, and we are not underestimating
or taking anything for granted,” said Dominic Kennedy, Virgin
Atlantic’s Managing Director, Cargo.
entire business model is based on giving customers more choice and flexibility,
whether this means more routes and frequencies, new products and services,
or the ability to interact with us in the way they want to do business,”
“Now Virgin Atlantic Cargo is set
to be the first airline to adopt Accenture’s cloud-enabled, end-to-end
AFLS 8.0 cargo management platform to spearhead our future digital experience
when AFLS 8.0 goes live in early 2020.
“This is doing to drive Virgin Atlantic
Cargo’s digital transformation. Once the system is fully operational,
based on the release of subsequent phases, our customers will be able
to interface directly through APIs and connect with the airline’s
new web platform for pricing, bookings, allocations, and operations, while
‘live chat’ and Chatbots will offer immediate interaction,
based on each customers’ communications preferences.
”We want our customers to continue
to experience great service, and through their channel of choice.
“In 2019 we are making positive progress
in many areas, but to modernize and future-proof our business we need
a far-reaching digitization program that allows customers to interact
with us in new and innovative ways by offering them the opportunity to
do everything they do with us today by phone and email via a digital platform.
“So, our commitment to the future
by taking a significant leap in capability is the natural next step.
“The AFLS 8.0 platform will accelerate
our digital transformation and give customers even more reasons to choose
to work with Virgin Atlantic Cargo,” Dominic Kennedy declared.
“But we are also not forgetting that
there is collateral organizational change that also goes along with this
kind of advancement.’
“The way we do our business, including
processing transactions and a raft of other activities, gets a big jolt
for the better in my view, and we are ready for it.
“We have been very well served for
the past decade by our current Mercator IT platform.
“However, our future is increasingly
benefiting from our partnerships, so the ability to interact is primary
in our thinking moving ahead.
“Virgin Atlantic Cargo has also taken
a closer look at the best way to widen our distribution model to drive
efficiencies to our customers.
Partners Up For The Future
“We are working with all our wonderful
partners to develop different strategies to take advantage of every strength
to meet or exceed any demand,” Dominic Kennedy said.
“Our partners are onboard with our
2020 IT move.
“Virgin Atlantic Cargo is in a privileged
position, with 40-plus aircraft and 180 people in our great team, which
means we are extremely flexible and responsive in changes in the market
or, to our customers’ needs,” Dominic Kennedy said.
About 2019 Business
Dominic Kennedy said that 2018 was a strong
year with great performance all around. However,
2019, which came out the gate fairly strong has, at mid-year, “seen
some softening of demand.
“But what makes us different is that
we not only meet the needs of our customers, we want to exceed their expectations.
This is a core part of the DNA of Virgin Atlantic.
“As a relatively small carrier we
cannot rely on the network as some others can, so we always need to make
sure that we are winning in service delivery.
“As an example, at Air Cargo Europe
in Munich in June, we were engaged all week long in dialogue with our
customers to find out how we are doing and what else can we bring to the
table that will make their shipping experience with us work best?
“Virgin Atlantic relies in some manner
on our traditions as we move ahead in 2019.
“We were one of the first carriers
to structurally survey our customers.
“Currently, and for the past half-decade,
a monthly survey goes out that provides us quick health check metrics
to analyze how we are doing.
“This feedback has been used during
the tenure of my time here (approaching two years) to serve as a barometer
to better apprise all of us up and down the line, of what is working;
and then it informs strategic decisions moving forward.
“As example, the feedback told us
our customer service center located in the UK that also served our customers
in the USA and South Africa was not meeting our pledge to exceed expectation.
“So we took what our customers were
telling us, and created local USA & South Africa customer service
centers to serve our customers in these very important markets.”
Dominic Kennedy is responsible for leading
and growing the commercial, financial and operational performance of Virgin
Atlantic’s Cargo division, having taken up his current post in August
2017. He is also in charge of the airline’s Transatlantic joint
venture with Delta Cargo and its long-haul international cargo sales and
management agreement with Virgin Australia.
Dominic joined Virgin Atlantic in March
2005 in Fleet and Network Planning, providing analysis on all aspects
of capacity and revenue, including aircraft acquisition, new route studies,
configuration changes and product investment. In 2008, he joined Cargo
to create and manage its Price and Product team and, later, Revenue Management
and Capacity Control.
In 2014, as Director, Commercial Planning,
he led a team responsible for Virgin Atlantic Cargo’s commercial
activities, covering revenue management, capacity control, pricing, commercial
insight, revenue integrity and joint venture activities – helping
the airline to maximize the business potential of its global cargo network.
You ask Dominic about himself and there
is a hush.
He does not brag about himself, and for
what it’s worth, it’s refreshing.
The question is, how about a self-report
card after two years and the answer?
“I’m more than delighted with
my team and the way we tell our story and deliver our service, and that
in 2019, everyone at Virgin Atlantic is now, more than ever, acutely aware
of the value air cargo brings to our overall business.
“It’s absolutely fair to say
that the investment we are making as outlined earlier would not have been
possible today without the positive contribution and heart of cargo at
“The leadership team has thought a
lot about how this business is changing, and what we must do to position
ourselves to continue in the years ahead.
“The technology piece we spoke of
earlier has been a long time coming and galvanizes our thinking as to
what is required.
Getting It On With Delta
have been quite fortunate working together with Delta.
“For us with Delta, as they are a
shareholder in Virgin Atlantic, we have gained knowledge, based on their
experience and expertise.
“We are benefiting from the diversity
and interaction with Shawn Cole’s Delta Cargo team. This is a major
plus for us and we are for them. It’s all about working together.
“Undoubtedly there are great things
we can do together.
“Our long-standing decade-long partnership
with Virgin Australia for long-haul international cargo capacity is an
agreement that also continues to deliver mutual value.
“We are really pleased, especially
during the past 24 months, about how that agreement has developed as Virgin
Australia has expanded into Asia, which has had the net result of offering
the customers more options.
Someone to Admire
“I came into an aviation career because
my uncle’s brother was a RAF pilot.
“Later he lived in Hong Kong, whilst
serving as a Cathay Pacific Captain.
“That inspired me to work in aviation
as well as my Dad teaching geography and sharing his love of far-away
“When I graduated from school, I saw
an ad offering a job teaching English in a small town in Japan, and the
deal was done.
“I knew . . . travel and moving from
the familiar to places yet to be discovered were in my DNA.
I was first employed at Virgin and worked in fleet optimization for three
years, I didn’t really know that we had a cargo division.
“I was offered a position in cargo
where I met and went to work for Dan Parker for eight years.
“Dan Parker was an exceptional mentor,
not only for me, but for everyone.
“Dan Parker is not only someone to
admire, he was also such a nurturing force at Virgin, and we still stay
in touch,” Dominic Kennedy said.
When we asked Dominic to deliver his worldview
in a couple of sentences that we might share with you, dear reader the
answer was immediate:
“Customers are not transactional.
I want to thank them for being partners and giving us the opportunity
to establish long term, meaningful relationships. We never take their
business for granted.
“We want to support our forwarder
partners, so they can support their customers and with all the exciting
developments we’re working on, we want to ensure there will never
have been a better time to be a customer of Virgin Atlantic Cargo. We
have a very exciting future ahead of us,” Dominic Kennedy said.
a fantastic growth opportunity in Israel and have chosen two respected
partners who are a perfect fit for Virgin Atlantic,” said
Claire Fallon, Regional Sales Manager as VS inked a pact with WTA
Aviation and Swissport in Israel to support launch of daily A330-300
flights from London Heathrow to Tel Aviv September 25.
WTA gets the nod to filling 20 tons of
daily cargo capacity onboard Virgin Atlantic’s Airbus A330-300
Swissport will provide cargo handling services
at its 21,000 sq. mt. warehouse terminal at Ben Gurion International
Fully equipped with temperature controlled
cold and chill rooms as well as dedicated areas for valuable goods,
DGR and live animals, and able to deliver real-time technologies
to optimize cargo build and for shipment tracking, Swissport matches
up Virgin Cargo in Tel Aviv with JV partner, Delta Cargo, extending
the airlines’ co-location program.
Let’s sing the new partnership into
the best of luck and success all around.