Virgin Atlantic’s cargo operation is preparing to play a role in handling the logistical complexities of distributing Covid-19 vaccines across its global flight network. The vaccines will represent a particularly valuable cargo, so to ensure their safe and secure transit, the airline has introduced a Pharma Secure service for all urgent, valuable and vulnerable pharmaceutical and life sciences shipments.
Virgin Atlantic Cargo is working with its potential vaccine cargo customers and has responded to their specific requirements, with the new product including a 24/7 support team, automatic live status updates, proactive service recovery and periodic integrity checks, temperature-controlled facilities for both COL and CRT, and a dedicated team for bookings, quotes and support. Recognising the significance of the cargo, the airline also offers the highest priority access to capacity, priority unloading at London Heathrow Airport (LHR), security escorts on request, and the further assurance of a money-back guarantee.
Dominic Kennedy, managing director of Virgin Atlantic Cargo commented, “This new service takes our already well-established pharmaceutical offering to the next level. We want to offer our customers peace of mind so they can book confidently with us, knowing their precious cargo will arrive safely, securely and on time. We look forward to playing a part in supporting the Covid-19 recovery by transporting crucial vaccines and pharmaceutical products to the UK and around the world on our global network, ensuring swift access to vaccines for the public as they become available.
“Since the start of the Covid-19 pandemic, Virgin Atlantic Cargo has played a vital role keeping global supply chains running and transporting essential goods around the world. They are agile and continue to innovate, bringing in new services such as Pharma Secure to respond to customer demand.
“It is a testament to the hard work of our teams that we have completely re-engineered our cargo business into a successful freight-only operation offering cargo-only services and charters for the first time in our history, enabling businesses to re-establish trade routes and transport critical supplies around the world,” added Kennedy.
Although the emergence of Covid-19 led to a decrease in passengers travelling, the airline reports that demand to transport cargo remains strong. Virgin Atlantic flew its first cargo-only flight on 21st March and has grown and evolved a programme of scheduled and charter cargo flying, averaging over 190 flights per week to new and existing destinations. In addition, the carrier has partnered with the UK’s Department of Health and Social Care and the NHS (National Health Service), operating cargo-only flights from Shanghai to London Heathrow that bring over 4 million tonnes of essential medical equipment, supplies and PPE into the UK.