The first half of 2017 has posted “robust results” for IAG Cargo, and regional commercial manager for LATAM, Rodrigo Casal (pictured) believes the airline group is ideally positioned for a strong second half.
He says the Constant Climate temperature sensitive product has performed very well, helped in part by an increase in healthcare and vaccination programmes that have been rolled out in Latin America.
New routes have also helped, with London – Santiago services seeing good load factors, something that is expected to continue.
Casal says: “The combination of good capacity, broad network and diverse products has placed us in a good position to capitalise on the peak seasons for fruit growers, while continuing to deliver for our “year round” customers.”
The export commodities IAG Cargo carries from Chile and Argentina remains varied, with fish including fresh salmon and hake, blueberries and other fruits and seeds, while leather and meat remain important in Argentina.
Casal comments: “We are handling increasing volumes of pharmaceutical products travelling under our Constant Climate product. Finally, our recently launched Critical service, which offers the highest level of guaranteed capacity has seen excellent take up, particularly among forwarders looking to move autoparts.”
IAG Cargo operates a number of flights from the region, from Buenos Aires it operates two a day to Madrid, one to London Heathrow Airport and three a week to Barcelona, a new service launched in June using an Airbus A330.
Santiago’s Comodoro Arturo Merino Benitez International Airport is served by one flight a day to Madrid and four a week to London, IAG Cargo’s longest direct flight, which started in January using a British Airways Boeing 787-9.
Casal is optimistic about the future of both the Chilean and Argentinian markets, and IAG Cargo’s network plays an important role with customers looking to trade with European and Asian markets.
He says: “Greater volumes of fresh salmon and fresh fruits are being air freighted from Chile to China, a trend that we believe will continue over the coming years.”
Seasonality is a major challenge for the region, with export demand during the second and third quarter decreasing, but most varieties of fruit come into season and demand exceeds scheduled capacity in the fourth quarter of the year and first of the next.
Casal explains: “The challenge and opportunity consist in providing ad-hoc capacity or connections via other gateways across Latin America and USA during this peak time. With 59 gateways across North America, Latin America and the Caribbean this is something that IAG Cargo is well placed to deliver on.”