With no end in sight for the growing Asia-Pacific e-commerce business, Virgin Atlantic Cargo said it will launch a new Melbourne-Hong Kong route on July 5, in partnership with Virgin Australia, bringing total capacity up to five A330-200 flights per week on the route. Each flight will offer 14 tonnes of cargo capacity.
The carrier is betting that the new service can fill the additional bellyhold space, with Virgin Australia Cargo’s chief executive, Merren McArthur, noting that the carrier expected, “a good level of growth this year with the addition of our new routes from Melbourne to Los Angeles and Hong Kong.”
Virgin Atlantic Cargo will handle all cargo sales, extending its long-haul international sales contract with Virgin Australia. In addition to general cargo and e-commerce, perishables will make up a sizeable portion of traffic departing Melbourne.
“This is great news for our customers, because it really opens up the Australia-Hong Kong-Australia market in addition to the services we already offer with Virgin Australia that connect Australia and the U.S West Coast,” said John Lloyd, managing director of Virgin Atlantic Cargo. Lloyd added that Hong Kong is an important market for Australia, with more than 2,150 tonnes of air cargo moving from Melbourne to Hong Kong in 2016.
Virgin Atlantic has been responsible for all cargo revenues on Virgin Australia’s international long-haul flights since the two airlines began working together in 2009.