Virgin’s freighter future under review
31 / 01 / 2023
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.
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.”