Following a record year in 2017, Virgin Atlantic Cargo has grown by three per cent in the first half of 2018.
The airline carried 116.3 million kilos to the end of June 2018, building on the strong performance in 2017 when volumes reached a five-year high. The cargo business also continued to benefit from close alignment with its trans-Atlantic joint venture partner, Delta Cargo.
Pharma grew by more than 50 per cent helped by opening the airline’s Pharma Zone at Heathrow Airport in the fourth quarter of 2017 and confirmation of its Good Distribution Practice Compliance in April this year. There was double-digit growth in bookings from its top pharma freight forwarding customers.
The booming e-commerce market continued to boost express shipments while car parts for manufacture and sale have increased Virgin’s share of the automotive market.
Virgin Atlantic Cargo managing director, Dominic Kennedy says: “We continue to see benefits from our strategic focus on pharma as well as other core products and services, including express, high value cargoes and automotive.
“Exchange rates and other external factors may slow some parts of the air cargo market in the second half of 2018 but with the momentum we have built, alongside the benefits of our partnerships with Delta Cargo and Virgin Australia, our expectations for the rest of the year remain positive.”
Growth in load factors was helped by high demand from the UK to the US as well as to Delhi, Johannesburg, Dubai, Shanghai and the Caribbean. Volumes out of Australia were 22 per cent above target with routes to Los Angeles from Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane all recording growth, coupled with strong demand on Virgin Australia services from Melbourne to Hong Kong.