volumes grew 6% in 2018 to their highest level since 2010 and we
know customers would give us a bigger share of their business if they
had the choice.”
Dominic Kennedy, Managing Director, Cargo
at Virgin Atlantic is animated as VS unveiled an ambitious plan to challenge
IAG’s dominance at London Heathrow.
Virgin Cargo said its master plan moving
forward will significantly increase its long-haul route network and launch
a new comprehensive variety of short haul domestic and European routes
when the airport expands.
Virgin is promising the travelling public
more choices and for cargo customers more value whilst exporting and importing
goods through the UK’s biggest air cargo gateway.
“At this pivotal moment for the UK
economy,” Dom Kennedy continued, “it is vital that our cargo
customers as well as manufacturers, importers and exporters have access
to the widest choice of routes and services and enjoy all the benefits
that fair competition brings.
“The changes we are calling for will
deliver this,” Mr. Kennedy assures.
Change Is In The Air
Future Virgin Atlantic route maps shows
an explosive, no holds barred intention to serve up to 84 new destinations
in the UK, Europe, and across the globe when the third LHR runway is completed,
or a fourfold increase on its 19 long haul destinations from Heathrow
Lookout For Number Two
Heathrow currently sees over 70% of the
UK’s air cargo trade, totalling 1.7 million tonnes annually, a figure
projected to grow to 3m tons by 2040.
“By value, over 30% of British trade
flies through the airport, worth more than £100 billion a year,
with 95% carried in the bellies of passenger aircraft,” Virgin declared.
Step Change Lifts Cargo & PAX
Virgin Atlantic’s new route maps illustrate
how the airline’s flying program could grow to deliver a step change
in choice for passengers and cargo customers, but only if the Government
reforms the way new Heathrow slots are allocated to enable the creation
of a second flag carrier at the airport.New Horizons
The Virgin plan represents a fourfold increase
on Virgin Atlantic’s current international network and includes
exciting unserved destinations such as Kolkata (India), Jakarta (Indonesia)
and Panama City, (Panama), as well as offering more choice on prime cargo
routes such as Accra, Austin, Buenos Aires, Cape Town, Osaka, Raleigh
Durham and San Diego.
In total, Virgin Atlantic plans to serve
103 domestic, European and long-haul destinations. Of the 84 new destinations
planned, 12 are domestic, 37 are European and 35 are global.
Virgin Spells Relief
Shai Weiss, CEO Virgin Atlantic, puts it
“Never has the need for effective
competition and choice at Heathrow Airport been more evident than during
this summer of disruption, which has brought misery for tens thousands
of travellers and impacted cargo supply chains.
“Britain, and those who travel and
trade with it, deserve better than this.
“Air passengers and cargo customers
need a choice and Virgin Atlantic is ready to deliver when Heathrow expands,”
Shai Weiss added.
High Road To Tel Aviv
In a related development Dom Kennedy said:
“We are delighted to welcome Tel Aviv
to our network. It is an important cargo route and we have been extremely
encouraged by the level of interest and bookings for both our direct services
between London and Tel Aviv and the U.S. connections we now offer over
our London hub.”
Virgin Atlantic’s first flight to
Tel Aviv touched down at Ben Gurion International Airport September 25.
From now on Virgin Atlantic’s daily
Airbus A330-300 flights offers 20 tons of cargo capacity to and from London
“Fast connections with Virgin Atlantic’s
network serving major gateways in the United States, Israel’s biggest
trading partner, and strong support expected from freight forwarders,
we are confident, will gain a healthy share of the high volumes of pharmaceutical,
e-commerce, express and valuable shipments as well as high-tech products,
fresh produce and other general cargo,” the carrier said.
Dominic Kennedy concluded:
“Virgin Atlantic’s cargo capacity
ex Israel is being marketed by its GSSA partner, WTA Aviation, while Swissport
is providing cargo handling services in Tel Aviv.”
Later this month (October) will see further
expansion of Virgin Atlantic’s long-haul cargo network when it recommences
daily London-Mumbai services and, in early 2020, the airline will begin
its first operation in South America with a new daily London-São