Virgin pushes up air cargo yields

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Rising demand for air cargo enabled Virgin Atlantic Cargo to push up yields in the first quarter. Sales rose by 36 per cent, driven by a 25 per cent increase in tonnage.

However, John Lloyd, director of Virgin Cargo, warned however that the recovery could be destabilised by excess capacity in the market.

“The challenge now, with capacity rising again in many markets, is to ensure the industry maintains and builds upon this demand by taking sensible decisions on capacity.”

Virgin Atlantic Cargo expects a series of factors to contribute to growth in 2010/11, including V Australia’s increased flying programme, an upturn in volume and yields to and from its markets in the Americas and Caribbean, Africa, India, the UAE, Asia and Australia, and improvements in revenue management operations.

For the 2009/10 financial year Virgin reported cargo sales of £161m from the carriage of 194,000 tons of airfreight on the Virgin Atlantic Airlines and V Australia networks.

“The air cargo industry has never seen a dip like the one experienced in 2008/9,” said Lloyd. “We were quick to take action and as a result, although our revenues and tonnage declined 19 per cent and 6 per cent respectively, we managed our way through the downturn far better than most other carriers and suffered considerably less impact.

“This result was achieved by undertaking difficult but necessary cost control measures, the rationalisation of capacity in the marketplace, and improved conditions in quarters three and four, particularly pre-Christmas and from the Far East.”

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