Virgin Atlantic’s record air cargo load factor

VIRGIN ATLANTIC CARGO is celebrating achieving a turnover of £225.3m in 2013, along with a record load factor of 76 per cent – the highest ever in the carrier’s 30-year history.
Bucking the trend, Virgin’s tonnage was five per cent higher (224,500) in a global airfreight market that declined by 0.5 per cent overall. Revenues were down three per cent compared to the previous year, reflecting the airline’s seven per cent reduction in capacity over the year. 
John Lloyd, director of cargo for Virgin Atlantic, enthuses: “Our 2013 results show that we outperformed the market for a second consecutive year and increased our share by five per cent at a time when many of our major competitors’ businesses were in decline. 
“The excessive amount of cargo capacity that started to return to the market in 2013 continued the downward pressure on yields but we have clearly been more successful in managing this challenge than many other carriers.”   
Asia-Pacific produced Virgin’s biggest freight gains, with a 12 per cent hike in tonnage and a three per cent rise in revenues. Tonnage on its Americas network was also five per cent higher, while Europe, the Middle East and Africa region grew by three per cent. 
Craig Kreeger, chief executive of Virgin Atlantic, comments: “Our cargo business has again made a valuable contribution to the airline and demonstrated its ability to grow despite a continued stagnation in the global freight market.”  
During the course of last year, Virgin achieved particularly strong gains on its Mumbai-London route – 24 per cent and 44 per cent in November and December, respectively – indicating increased growth potential for 2014. 
Pharmaceutical and perishable shipments to and from India also grew markedly. Other strong contributors to the airline’s cargo performance were its ex Caribbean routes during the first quarter of last year and flights from Newark to the UK.
Services from London to Boston, Miami and Vancouver also reported above-average tonnage improvements, notes a statement.
Shipments of fresh salmon to destinations including New York, Shanghai, Dubai and Johannesburg and perishables exported from the US, Australia and South Africa in the first six months of the year contributed more than 16,000 tonnes of cargo towards Virgin Atlantic’s total 2013 uplift.  
The company’s key priorities for 2014 will be its e-AWB and Cargo 2000 quality programmes, as well as increasing the development of its joint venture with Delta Cargo, the statement continues.  
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