IAG Cargo, the cargo division of International Airlines Group, is celebrating its tenth anniversary this month.
The milestone represents “a decade of transporting vital shipments safely and efficiently for customers across the world”, the company said.
IAG Cargo was created in 2011 following the merger of British Airways World Cargo and Iberia Cargo. Now one of the largest cargo operators in the world, it serves sectors of the global economy such as e-commerce, tech, manufacturing, automotive, pharmaceutical and aerospace.
Some 950,000 flights have been operated by IAG Cargo in the last decade, it estimates, serving nearly 14,000 freight forwarders and transporting millions of tonnes of cargo. More than 450 destinations have been flown to worldwide using 30 models of aircraft.
IAG Cargo operates in 60 countries today, across five continents and employing more than 2,250 professionals worldwide. The business integrated Vueling in 2013, Aer Lingus in 2015 and Level in 2016 to expand its network. Investment has been made in new facilities to increase capacity and specialist product offerings have been developed in areas like pharmaceutical, live animals and high security shipments.
“This is a major milestone for IAG Cargo. It’s been exciting to see the business grow and transform into one of the largest cargo carriers in the world today,” said IAG Cargo’s chief commercial officer John Cheetham.
“We’ve built a strong relationship with our customers across the world to understand their needs and adapted our products, as well as launched new products and routes to support them. We’re very proud of our ‘always moving’ spirit to provide some of the most flexible options for customers, helping them get their freight across the world 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year. We look forward to continuing to expand our offering in the years to come.”
IAG Cargo listed the following as highlights from its first decade:
- Covid-19 – 2020 IAG Cargo focused on the fight against Covid-19, transporting over 20,000 tonnes of PPE and large quantities of sanitiser, ventilators and Covid-19 testing kits. In 2021, Covid-19 vaccine shipments are a priority shipment, and the business had already transported over one million doses by the end of January and has joined the UNICEF Humanitarian Airfreight Initiative to support the COVAX initiative.
- Facilities – 2019 IAG Cargo opens its pharmaceutical centre in Madrid. In its first two years, it processed over 20,000 consignments of pharmaceutical cargo, including life-saving vaccines for diseases such as polio, diphtheria, and measles. The centre complements the Constant Climate centre at London Heathrow that opened in 2013.
- Customer – 2017 IAG Cargo launched a new loyalty programme named ‘FORWARD.REWARDS’ allowing businesses to earn points every time they ship, converted into commercial flights, hotel stays or cargo credit.
- Digital – 2017 IAG Cargo enhanced its e-booking portal, offering customers the chance to book shipments in under two minutes, and track shipments automatically from the start to the end of the journey.
- Product – 2016 IAG Cargo launches ‘Critical’: its premium product for urgent and emergency shipments, serviced by its own customer service team – within six months of its launch over 1,000 shipments were delivered.
- Aircraft – 2011-2020 The last ten years has seen the fleet available to IAG Cargo increase by 53 per cent from 348 in 2011 to 533 in 2020. The fleet has also seen significant upgrades, with the introduction of the A330-200 and A330-300 in 2013 and 2015 to Iberia’s metal, as well as the A350-900 in 2018. British Airways also saw the Boeing 787 enter service, with the 787-8 in 2013 and 787-9 in 2015, an extra 20 feet and offering more capacity. In 2019, the A350-1000 was brought on board for BA, while the latest iteration of the Dreamliner joined the fleet in 2020.
- HKG-LHR-UIO – 2012 Launched a seamless route for customers looking to transport cargo from Hong Kong to Quito.
- Widebody airbridge LHR-MAD – 2011 Launched a widebody ‘airbridge’ between London and Madrid, facilitating a seamless journey for cargo to any corner of the world.