IAG Cargo announced it was restarting freight-only services between London Heathrow and Hong Kong and restarted freight-only service between London Heathrow and Bangkok as consumer spending continues to accelerate.
Cargo-only flights can operate with significantly fewer crew on board. Photo: IAG Cargo.
IAG Cargo strengthens its Asian operations
The resumption of cargo-only flights comes as Asia sees a strong rebound in demand for air travel and cargo outside of China.
Daniel Byrne, Regional Sales Manager UK and Ireland at IAG Cargo, said:
“I am really delighted that we have been able to add these services, Hong Kong and Bangkok are an important part of our network with products made in the Far East popular with consumers around the world. As the summer is shaping up to be a busy time for IAG Cargo and our customers, this airlift is vital for the movement of e-commerce and perishables, which are in high demand throughout the year.
The flights will be serviced by a Boeing 787-9 and will carry essential e-commerce goods, pharmaceuticals and perishables. Services from London Heathrow to Bangkok already operate four times a week, and daily flights to Hong Kong will resume on June 1.
IAG Cargo’s resumption of flights to Hong Kong builds on the presence it has established there during the pandemic. Since the start of the pandemic, IAG Cargo has operated more than 250 cargo flights between London Heathrow and Hong Kong alone. The first cargo-only flights in April 2020 mainly carried vital PPE, such as hand sanitizer, gloves, masks, etc. home technology setups.
In 2021, IAG Cargo saw a 32% increase for its “Prioritise service”, which was acclaimed by e-commerce customers. IAG Cargo expects e-commerce to continue to be a major growth area for the company through 2022 and beyond. The pandemic has accelerated an existing trend of buying goods and services online. The resumption of cargo-only flights will likely only reinforce this trend.
The company posted a strong financial performance in 2021. Photo: Jake Hardiman.
The history of IAG Cargo
IAG Cargo was created in 2011 following the merger of British Airways World Cargo and Iberia Cargo. After integrating additional airlines into the business, including Aer Lingus and Vueling, IAG Cargo now covers a global network.
In 2021, IAG Cargo achieved commercial revenue of €1,673 million and a combined workforce of over 2,250 people. The company said cargo has been essential in supporting the return of large-scale passenger flights, providing additional revenue to major passenger routes.
Speaking after IAG Cargo’s 2021 Financial Report, IAG Cargo Managing Director David Shepherd said:
“In 2021, we also invested in improving our website functionality and expanding our partnerships with third-party platform providers. Both actions, supporting online channel switching and digital bookings while providing more flexibility to our customers. It was also great to see a massive expansion of our Forward Rewards loyalty program last year with 700 additional customers signing up for free flights, hotel stays and cargo credits.
The company said it was full of ambition and optimism for 2022.
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