Coronavirus: Virgin Atlantic operates first ever cargo-only charter

Virgin Atlantic

Virgin Atlantic operated its first ever cargo-only charter on Saturday 21 March, with New York as its destination.

Flight VS698 was the first ever cargo-only charter for Virgin Atlantic, the airline’s senior manager of corporate communications, Michael Oakes said in the company blog.

He revealed that the flight’s captain Steve Wrigley and first officer James Bennett were joined by just one other person, cabin service supervisor Katie Lang, and the aircraft carried 11 pallets of cargo in its cargo hold. The goods were sent to the US by a UK-based pharmaceutical company. Oakes explained the aircraft was then flying back to the UK full of inbound cargo.

Virgin Atlantic Cargo managing director, Dominic Kennedy, commented in the blog: “I must say, standing out on the ramp at an eerily quiet Heathrow today really brought home to me the scale of what’s happening here – and added to my feeling of immense pride as I watched our inaugural cargo-only charter get airborne, knowing the aircraft would have otherwise been sat on the ground if not for the herculean effort by our cargo team in making this happen, especially at such short notice and in these challenging times.”

New territory for Virgin

Oakes notes that, as cargo charters are virgin territory for the airline, the operations will take some getting used to. He noted that the operation was possible thanks to the efforts of many people at Virgin Atlantic, including the airline’s commercial, engineering, airports and operations teams.

Virgin Atlantic Cargo is planning to open a new route to India starting 26 October 2020. The route will see Virgin Atlantic fly to Delhi from Manchester for the first time.

The airline is planning to operate three Airbus A330-200 flights every Monday, Thursday and Saturday as part of its growing commitment to the Indian market.

You can read the Virgin Atlantic blog in full here.

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