Virgin Atlantic Cargo increases cargo-only PAX flights by 33%

By Rachelle Harry

This month, following the success of its cargo-only passenger aircraft flights programme in May, Virgin Atlantic Cargo has announced that it is increasing the frequency of its PAX flights by 33%.

Virgin Atlantic said the extra cargo-only passenger flights — bringing the total to 587 in June — would “support demand for export and import cargoes as UK and international businesses continue their recovery from the Covid-19 outbreak”.

The carrier’s growing cargo schedule will enable its airfreight customers to have access to cargo capacity on routes to and from London, New York JFK, Los Angeles, Chicago, Miami, Atlanta, Johannesburg, Tel Aviv, Lagos, Mumbai, Shanghai, Hong Kong, Beijing and Brussels.

Shai Weiss, chief executive of Virgin Atlantic, commented: “While the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic continues to restrict passenger flying, our cargo operation has never been more important both to our business and in keeping vital global supply chains running.”

Highlights of the new flight schedule include: the launch of daily flights connecting London Heathrow and Beijing; twice-weekly flights to Brussels (marketed by Belgium-based GSA Kales Airline Services) from New York with onward services to London; thrice-weekly flights to Chicago, commencing June 4; increased Mumbai services from the UK; increased Hong Kong services from the UK; weekly flights to and from Nigeria and Lagos fro London.

Weiss added: “I want to personally thank all of our cargo customers who have supported our cargo-only flying. We’re proud to be increasing the number of frequencies and routes we can offer in June as international trade steps us its recovery and lockdowns are eased around the world.”

In May, Virgin Atlantic operated 446 cargo-only flights, including 66 charters for customers, averaging 52 weekly departures from the UK.

The airline carried 4.4m kgs of cargo into the UK and 5.3m kgs of exports — producing the highest monthly cargo revenues in the airline’s 36-year history.

Dominic Kennedy, managing director of Virgin Atlantic Cargo, said: “May was a historic month for our cargo business, which is a quite remarkable achievement given the current trading environment. 

“June will see this offering grow again and we are hoping for similar customer support now we have proven the resilience of our cargo-only flying programme.”

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