Trans-Atlantic Joint Venture for cargo launched

Virgin Atlantic Cargo, Delta Air Lines Cargo and Air France-KLM Cargo, are promising cargo customers more connections, greater shipment routing flexibility, improved trucking options, aligned services and innovative digital solutions with today's launch of their expanded trans-Atlantic Joint Venture (JV).
Courtesy Virgin Atlantic
The new partnership, which represents 23% of total trans-Atlantic cargo capacity or more than 600,000 tonnes annually, will enable the airlines to offer the best-ever customer experience, and a combined network of up to 341 peak daily trans-Atlantic services - a choice of 110 nonstop routes with onward connections to 238 cities in North America, 98 in Continental Europe and 16 in the UK.

Customers will be able to leverage an enhanced network built around the airlines' hubs in Amsterdam, Atlanta, Boston, Detroit, London Heathrow, Los Angeles, Minneapolis, New York-JFK, Paris, Seattle and Salt Lake City. It creates convenient nonstop or one-stop connections to every corner of North America, Europe and the UK, giving customers the added confidence of delivery schedules being met by a wide choice of options. The expanded JV enables greater co-operation between the airlines, focused on delivering world class customer service and reliability on both sides of the Atlantic achieved through co-located facilities, joint trucking options as well as seamless bookings and connected service recovery.

The airlines already co-locate at warehouses in key US, UK and European airports, and will review opportunities to co-locate further at more airports around the globe. Adriaan den Heijer, Executive Vice President of Air France-KLM Cargo: "We are very excited to welcome Virgin Atlantic Cargo to the successful trans-Atlantic Joint Venture between Air France-KLM Cargo and Delta Cargo. The combined network means more choices and value for our customers as we align our services to enable seamless transfers and further streamlining of transport times.

This enhanced joint venture offers the most and best trans-Atlantic options ever in the cargo industry." The four airlines will leverage their expertise in the transportation of specialised products, including end-to-end GDP and IATA CEIV quality compliance for pharmaceuticals, supported by dedicated teams and facilities across the globe. The JV will allow the airlines to provide customers with a diversified product range to best suit their individual requirements.

"This announcement is just the first step in the journey," said Shawn Cole, Vice President - Delta Cargo. "Our customers can expect additional benefits as we evolve our partnership further to deliver best-in class customer experience and operational reliability, with differentiated products and services that are tailored and developed to make it easier to do business with the four airlines." Customers will be able to book their shipments with knowledgeable local teams and by using new digital solutions designed to reduce duplication and drive efficiencies as a result of greater connectively between the airlines' systems. Alongside the development of a growing choice of self-service technology options, customers will continue to enjoy the support of co-located customer service centres to enhance their cargo delivery experience.

Virgin Atlantic Cargo's Managing Director, Dominic Kennedy said: "Our great partnership with Delta has already enriched the benefits we offer to our customers. With our expanded JV with Air France-KLM Cargo, we are even more excited about the benefits we will be bringing for our customers as we work with like-minded partners to deliver greater value across our outstanding trans-Atlantic network." Cargo has been an important part of Virgin Atlantic's business ever since the airline was founded by entrepreneur Sir Richard Branson 34 years ago and, today, carries over 240 million kilos of cargo annually.

In 2019, the airline's strong commitment to innovation and customer service has been recognised by cargo customers with their highest ever Net Promoter Score (NPS) measuring relationship management, booking experience, price and handling performance. Headquartered in London, Virgin Atlantic Cargo trades in 49 countries and sells services to destinations in over 66 countries worldwide. Alongside joint venture partner Delta Cargo, the airline operates a leading trans-Atlantic network, offering a choice of 43 flights a day between the UK and US and carrying over a quarter of total trans-Atlantic air cargo volumes between the two countries.

Virgin Atlantic Cargo is also the long-haul international cargo sales and management partner of Virgin Australia, connecting the airlines' networks over Los Angeles and Hong Kong - and, from 29th March 2020, being joined by Virgin Australia's new daily Brisbane-Tokyo Haneda flights. In 2019, Virgin Atlantic Cargo extended its network with the launch of daily flights from London to Tel Aviv and Mumbai and announced the addition of Sao Paulo to its schedule in 2020 as well as a second daily Delhi service. Customers are also benefiting from the increased cargo payload of the airline's new Airbus A350-1000 fleet, which will grow to a total of 12 aircraft in 2020-21.

In addition to current New York JFK services, in 2020, A350 aircraft will also commence operations on Virgin Atlantic routes to Los Angeles, San Francisco, Johannesburg and Lagos.

September 2019 also saw Virgin Atlantic and Delta Cargo move into a new state-of-the-art export facility at Heathrow, part of a programme to double the size of their cargo handling operation at Heathrow.

Virgin Atlantic's investment in a new cargo management platform will also deliver greater digitisation of its cargo services and offer customers a dashboard of real-time self-service options.

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