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Virgin Atlantic Cargo gains big in Asia Pacific

By Staff Reports on April 24, 2014

Virgin Atlantic Cargo had its highest-ever average load factor of 76 percent in 2013, up 6 percent year over year.

Asia Pacific produced Virgin Atlantic’s biggest cargo gains in 2013 with a 12 percent increase in tonnage and a 3 percent rise in revenues. Tonnage on its Americas network was 5 percent higher, and the Europe, Middle East and Africa regions grew 3 percent.

Virgin Atlantic Cargo reported a turnover of 225.3 million pounds (US$378.3) for 2013. Tonnage carried by Virgin Atlantic was 5 percent higher at 224,500 tonnes. Revenues were down 3 percent compared to the previous year, reflecting the airline’s 7 percent reduction in capacity over the year.

“Our 2013 results show that we outperformed the market for a second consecutive year and increased our share by 5 percent at a time when many of our major competitors’ businesses were in decline,” John Lloyd, director of cargo for Virgin Atlantic, said. “The excessive amount of cargo capacity that started to return to the market in 2013 continued the downward pressure on yields, but we have clearly been more successful in managing this challenge than many other carriers.”

During 2013, Virgin Atlantic achieved particularly strong gains on its Mumbai-London route with year-over-year gains of 24 percent in November and 44 percent in December, indicating increased growth potential for 2014. Garment shipments were higher, and the airline saw increased pharmaceutical and perishable shipments to and from India.

“Virgin Atlantic has made good progress in 2013,” Craig Kreeger, Virgin Atlantic chief executive, said. “Our cargo business has again made a valuable contribution to the airline and demonstrated its ability to grow despite a continued stagnation in the global freight market.”

Other strong contributors to the airline’s cargo performance were its ex-Caribbean routes during the first quarter of the year and flights from Newark to the UK. Services from London to Boston, Miami and Vancouver also reported above-average tonnage improvements.

Shipments of fresh salmon to destinations including New York, Shanghai, Dubai and Johannesburg and the carriage of perishables from the U.S., Australia and South Africa in the first six months of the year contributed over 16,000 tonnes of cargo toward Virgin Atlantic’s total 2013 uplift.

Virgin Atlantic says its key priorities for 2014 will be its e-air waybill and Cargo 2000 programs, as well as increasing the development of its joint venture with Delta Cargo.

“In the future, we hope our customers will be able to benefit from enhanced frequencies on some of the most popular routes, new destinations, new products and services and more convenient joint drop-off and collection points,” Lloyd said.