Revenues take-off at Virgin Atlantic Cargo in 2018

Dominic Kennedy, managing director of Virgin Atlantic Cargo

Virgin Atlantic Cargo saw revenues increase by 13% year on year in 2018 as it achieved its strongest revenue performance in the last five years.

In total, the airlines registered cargo revenues of £222m on the back of a 6% increase in volumes to more than 244,000 tonnes, the airline’s best result since 2010, while industry-wide rates were ahead of 2017 levels.

The airline said that 2018 had seen “a succession of best-ever monthly and route performances, with growth achieved across the majority of commodities flown, with high value segments such as pharmaceuticals seeing a 50% year-on-year increase in volume”.

During the year, the airline achieved new records for tonnage from the UK and the US, as well as on direct services from cities including Delhi and Los Angeles. December also saw Virgin Atlantic’s highest-ever daily import and export volumes through London Heathrow.

Virgin Atlantic also continued to develop its transatlantic partnership with Delta Cargo and benefited from extra revenues and volumes generated for Virgin Australia’s expanding long-haul international network as a result of the airlines’ sales and management agreement.

In 2018, Virgin Australia extended its network with the launch of daily Sydney-Hong Kong services, which benefited from rising demand for e-commerce.

The introduction of double daily Johannesburg services by Virgin Atlantic at the end of October also contributed to a 15% increase in volumes and 22% boost in revenues on the route.

Dominic Kennedy, managing director, cargo, at Virgin Atlantic, said: “2018 was an amazing year for us in terms of growth. We achieved particularly strong growth from June onwards, resulting in the best Q4 performance in our 34-year history, with positive contributions from across our network and partnerships.

“As an airline that is passionate about customer service, it is also a tribute to our entire cargo team that, during such a busy year for volumes, we achieved our highest-ever score for customer experience.

“This was helped by the opening of our new Service Centres in Atlanta and Johannesburg, improved flown-as-booked performance, and closer engagement with our handling and joint venture partners. This result gives us the momentum we need to deliver a game-changing year for our cargo business in 2019.”

looking ahead, the airline outlined a series of new investments, including additional capacity provided by the arrival of the airline’s first four Airbus A350-1000 aircraft, a prime new route for cargo to Tel Aviv – and, just announced for 2020, São Paulo, Brazil, the move to a new state-of-the-art facility at Heathrow with partner Delta Cargo – doubling the size of the joint cargo operation at the airport to 335,000 sq ft – and, investments in new digital technologies.

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