Virgin Atlantic Cargo has signed a new multi-year contract with dnata for air cargo handling in the UK, extending the partnership between the two companies to well over 25 years.
The new agreement covers all cargo handling for the airline at London’s Heathrow and Gatwick Airports and at Manchester and Glasgow Airports. Virgin Atlantic Cargo currently carries some 200,000 tonnes of freight per annum through the three airports.
Neil Ferdinando, General Manager, Cargo Operations at Virgin Atlantic, said: “We are delighted to have reached an agreement that keeps this long lasting partnership at the centre of our global hub operations. This relationship has seen many changes over the years in regulatory compliance and how we interact and do business with our customers. At the heart of it is a joint understanding and desire to do the simple things well and we pride ourselves on being easy to deal with. Our ability to support our customers’ needs and provide a flexible and reliable service in a no-nonsense way is as much a reflection on dnata as it is the Virgin team that works alongside them.”
The business relationship between the two companies dates back to 1987 when Virgin Atlantic was the launch customer for Plane Trucking’s handling operation in the UK, which later became Plane Handling. dnata acquired Plane Handling in 2010. Over the last 25 years, the two companies have been instrumental in each other’s growth in the UK.
dnata opened its 125,000 square foot Cargopoint freight centre at Heathrow Airport to serve Virgin Atlantic’s fast-growing cargo business. When this single location was full to capacity, a new 80,000 square foot facility, Westpoint, was built to provide a dedicated cargo operation for Virgin Atlantic’s import traffic. Since then, dnata has invested £2.8 million in a new ETV system at Cargopoint with 240 pallet positions, including a 12 pallet chiller.
Paul Williams, dnata’s Commercial Director in the UK, said: “Virgin Atlantic Cargo is in our DNA. We have grown together, made investments to support the airline’s expansion and ensured its vital cargo business at its biggest international hub is supported by a future-proof handling operation. Today, we have over 200 people dedicated to Virgin Atlantic Cargo, helping to deliver the outstanding customer service for which the airline is known worldwide. We are proud to have been awarded a further contract extension by the airline and see Virgin Atlantic’s confidence as a reward for the commitment shown by our staff and the company overall.”