Virgin Atlantic is to increase its cargo-only flights by 35 per cent to nearly 600 in June with the launch of new routes, including Beijing and Brussels.

    This month will see a total of 601 flights, including 597 cargo-only services and four repatriation flights for the UK’s Foreign & Commonwealth Office (FCO).

    This move comes following the success of Virgin Atlantic’s May programme, which saw 446 cargo-only flights operated, including 66 charters for customers, averaging 52 weekly departures from the UK.

    The airline carried 4.4 million kilos of cargo into the UK and 5.3 million kilos of exports, reportedly producing the highest monthly cargo revenues in its 36-year history.

    This airline’s schedule highlights for June include:

    • The launch of daily flights connecting London Heathrow and Beijing
    • Virgin Atlantic’s first-ever flights to Brussels, arriving from New York JFK before connecting directly to London twice-a-week
    • Three flights a week to Chicago, starting on 4 June
    • Increased Mumbai services to three a week, with UK departures every Monday, Wednesday and Saturday from 6 June
    • Three-times weekly London-Atlanta flights from 9 June
    • A return to Nigeria with weekly Lagos flights to and from London
    • Increase to daily flights to and from Hong Kong

    The airline’s growing schedule means cargo customers now have access to direct cargo capacity connecting London, New York JFK, Los Angeles, Chicago, Miami, Atlanta, Johannesburg, Tel Aviv, Lagos, Mumbai, Shanghai, Hong Kong, Beijing and Brussels. Kales Airline Services, Virgin general sales agency in Brussels will market its increased direct capacity in Belgium.

    Virgin Atlantic CEO, Shai Weiss, said: “I want to personally thank all of our cargo customers who have supported our cargo-only flying. We’re proud to be increasing the number of frequencies and routes we can offer in June as international trade steps us its recovery and lockdowns are eased around the world.

    “While the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic continues to restrict passenger flying, our cargo operation has never been more important both to our business and in keeping vital global supply chains running.”

    Virgin Atlantic Cargo managing director, Dominic Kennedy, added: “May was an historic month for our cargo business, which is a quite remarkable achievement given the current trading environment.

    “As well as demonstrating our customers’ confidence in Virgin Atlantic, this is a tribute to everyone in the airline who remains so committed to maintaining our customer offering despite the uncertainties which persist in the market.

    “June will see this offering grow again and we are hoping for similar customer support now we have proven the resilience of our cargo-only flying programme.”

    Visit virginatlanticcargo.com for more information.