IAG Cargo targets perishables market in South Africa

British Airways and Iberia aircraft at Heathrow Airport

IAG Cargo is to expand its reach into South Africa by adding a new route to Cape Town later this year, to target the flourishing perishables market.

The carrier has today launched a new Boeing 777-200 route to Cape Town from London’s Gatwick Airport, which will operate three times a week.

The new Cape Town route brings total flights to the country from both IAG’s London and Madrid hubs to 27 per week by the end of the year, offering customers a weekly lift of up to 440 tonnes into South Africa.

IAG says this extra capacity will benefit the buoyant perishables market in Africa.  Over the past 12 months it has seen volumes of mangoes, avocadoes and pineapples, as well as floriculture continue to perform extremely well out of South Africa.

From 24 November 2016 the additional service will be running throughout the winter schedule. This route supplements the three times a week Airbus A330-300 Madrid- Johannesburg service, due to start 1 August and the existing Heathrow Airport to Cape Town and Johannesburg services already operated.

IAG Cargo head of commercial, David Shepherd, says: “We now offer an outstanding proposition into and out of South Africa, providing businesses with enhanced flexibility over where and when they ship their goods.

“Connecting through IAG Cargo’s Madrid hub, the forthcoming Johannesburg route will help to better link Africa with strategic markets, such as Latin America, while the new Cape Town-Gatwick route offers unrivalled access to Europe, North America and Asia Pacific.”

Figures from the Perishable Products Export Control Board (PPECB) show the Middle East, the European Union and the USA were major importers from South Africa last year.

The PPCEB 2015 annual report recorded bullish year-on-year export volume performances in avocados which increased by 26 per cent and citrus which saw 2 per cent growth.

In total, 55 per cent of South Africa’s subtropical fruit including avocados, mangoes, pineapples, and passion fruit was exported to the EU last year.

IAG Cargo supports manufacturers looking to enter these markets through Constant Fresh, the business’ fast solution for the transportation of perishable goods. This new development augments IAG Cargo’s existing route into South Africa, which helps to better connect customers to more than 350 destinations on IAG Cargo’s global network.