Second cargo-only service launched at Heathrow

Heathrow will welcome its second cargo-only service, AirBridgeCargo Airlines (ABC), to the airport this week.

The service will offer 100 tonnes of additional cargo capacity per week to Heathrow, which is already the country’s biggest port by value.

The news will be welcomed by British exporters who face a shortage of space in aircraft holds going to long-haul destinations. The squeeze is most pronounced on routes to Asia, a region where consumer spend is expected to reach $32 trillion by 2030.

Having recently received Government backing for its expansion, Heathrow said it will be investing £180 million over the next 15 years to improve its cargo infrastructure and processes. The investments will fund a specialist pharmaceutical storage area, as well as better infrastructure to reduce congestion and halve process time from today’s 8-9 hours to four hours.  

The new ABC service will operate an ad-hoc weekly service utilising slots not popular with passenger airlines.

Nick Platts, Head of Cargo at Heathrow Airport said: “We are pleased to welcome AirBridgeCargo Airlines to Heathrow. Cargo is a little-known but huge part of our operations -  in fact, Heathrow is responsible for 29% of all UK non-EU exports, virtually all of which goes in the belly-hold of passenger aircraft, making us Britain’s largest port. New cargo partners like ABC, along with our plans for expansion at Heathrow, will allow us to increase our cargo capacity and keep the UK open to business around the world.”

ABC’s Heathrow service is the 14th European service destination for ABC who hope to leverage growing market demand for British goods with mainland Europe and South East Asia. 

Robert van de Weg, Senior Vice President of sales and marketing, Volga-Dnepr Group, said: “Introduction of a Heathrow service right now is an important step for us while increasing the number of delivery solutions worldwide. Europe, together with China, has been our prime and anchored market since the very first day of our operations, showing stable results and supporting ABC’s performance, 2016 being no exception with 22% year-on-year growth of tonnage out of Europe during the nine months of the year.”

Heathrow cargo value has been growing by an average of 9.5% between 2010 and 2015.

AirBridgeCargo has already launched flights to the US (Houston and Seattle) and South East Asia (Phnom Penh) this year, as well as offering more diversified services via its Moscow hub.