Virgin’s freighter future under review

Phil Wardlaw. Photo: Virgin Cargo

Virgin’s Atlantic Cargo’s freighter operations are under review as the airline reveals its last all cargo aircraft isn’t currently active.

Speaking exclusively to Air Cargo News, Virgin Atlantic Cargo’s managing director Phil Wardlaw said the airline’s London-Brussels service operated by Titan Airways utilising an Airbus A321P2F was running up until Christmas but the aircraft is now under maintenance and the airline is in discussion with Titan about the future of the service.

The service began in May and ran until October, after which it began operating on an ad hoc basis.

What happens next depends on how air cargo demand looks going forward. IATA statistics showed November was the ninth month of demand decline in a row, although the trade association said the outlook was mixed.

Wardlaw explained: “The aircraft has been in for planned maintenance during January. We’re not flying any Brussels cargo throughout January.

“We’re continuing to discuss with Titan the viability of bringing the aircraft back into service with Virgin Atlantic Cargo.

“But it will depend on aircraft availability and the market demand from February onwards. So, it remains under evaluation and there are no firm plans as it stands.”

From August to October 2 last year, Virgin Atlantic Cargo also ran a service that operated three times a week between Denmark’s Billund Airport and Heathrow Airport in London,using an Airbus A321F operated by Titan Airways.

The service was planned as a temporary operation and ended on schedule, but had demand been sustained the service could have been extended, confirms Wardlaw.

“We saw the demand we were projecting. There was a very defined volume of business that we knew we would pick up during that time.”

He added: “Had we seen demand exceed our forecast we would have kept it going – we had an option to keep it going. But that didn’t happen. We specifically got the piece of business that we were projecting. At the point that this (demand) ended, then we decided to end service.”

Virgin Atlantic Cargo confirms it will continue freighter flights

Virgin Atlantic Cargo cuts back freighter services

Virgin Atlantic expands freighter flights with Billund service

Engineering a future flight path for Virgin Atlantic Cargo

Virgin Atlantic Cargo temporarily delves into freighter operations

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Rebecca Jeffrey

Rebecca Jeffrey
New to aviation journalism, I joined Air Cargo News in late 2021 as deputy editor. I previously worked for Mercator Media’s six maritime sector magazines as a reporter, heading up news for Port Strategy. Prior to this, I was editor for Recruitment International (now TALiNT International). Contact me on: [email protected]