Virgin Atlantic Cargo has appointed Alliance Ground International (AGI) as its cargo handler in San Francisco to support its growing operations at the US West Coast gateway.
The airline operates twice-daily services connecting London Heathrow and San Francisco and added another three direct flights a week from Manchester at the end of March.
Virgin Atlantic Cargo says it has seen high cargo volumes on nearly all of its routes from the UK to the US since the start of 2017. Following an 18 per cent increase in tonnage from London-San Francisco in 2016, volumes for the first half of 2017 rose a further 15.5 per cent year-on-year, boosted by shipments such as fresh salmon.
Customer support has also been strong for the new Manchester-San Francisco route with the first month of operations seeing tonnage 34 per cent above budget from the UK.
AGI already handles cargo for the airline in Miami, Newark and Orlando. The San Francisco facility incorporates a dedicated location to handle ‘active’ cargo containers for temperature-controlled pharmaceutical shipments as well as a security cage/vault for valuable cargoes and a cooler for perishables.
Fresh produce accounts for nearly half of shipments from San Francisco to the UK and includes blueberries, fresh fruits, lettuce and peas.
Virgin Atlantic director of cargo operations and business development, Paul Fallon says: “San Francisco has been an important and growing West Coast cargo gateway for Virgin for 23 years, with strong support from our customers on both sides of the Atlantic.
“Based on our experience of working with AGI at other airports in the US we are confident they will also deliver the high quality of services we expect for our customers in San Francisco.”
AGI chief operating officer, Jared Azcuy adds the latest expansion at San Francisco represents a validation of its “mutual commitment to cargo handling service quality”.