Virgin Australia has upscaled its Melbourne-Hong Kong service to a daily flight from 12 November which bodes well for cargo as volumes have been steadily increasing in both directions since Virgin Australia commenced five-times a week A330-200 flights in July.
The extra capacity provided by the new daily service with 14 tonne belly-hold capacity, will support the peak perishables season ex Australia, as well as thriving e-commerce and courier business from Hong Kong, according to Virgin Atlantic Cargo, which provides long-haul international cargo sales and management for Virgin Australia.
Virgin Atlantic Cargo has generated over 1,200 tonnes of freight and courier traffic since the route began. Other regular shipments have included garments, shoes, electronics goods, vitamins, milk powder and meat.
Virgin Atlantic Cargo also says the appointment in August of Jarrod Paterson as account manager, Melbourne, has also helped the airline develop other lines of business, such as shipments of fresh lobster, Abalone and chilled salmon from Tasmania to Hong Kong.
Continued inward business investment in Melbourne is also expected to help sustain long-term cargo demand. Amazon is one of the latest global brands to announce fresh investment in the state of Victoria with its plans for a 24,000 sqm e-commerce fulfilment centre in Melbourne.
Phillippa Palmer, Virgin Atlantic’s regional sales manager, Australia and New Zealand, said: “Our freight forwarder and courier customers are absolutely delighted that Virgin Australia is increasing its commitment to the Melbourne-Hong Kong route. Cargo volumes to and from Melbourne have exceeded our expectations so far.
“There are a series of positive business indicators that show not only a consistent level of demand from our current customers but also opportunities for new traffic like we have started to generate from Tasmania,” Palmer added.
Virgin Atlantic, which has provided long-haul international sales for Virgin Australia since 2009, also sells capacity on Virgin Australia’s operations from Sydney, Brisbane and Melbourne to Los Angeles. Shipments to and from Australia can also connect with Virgin Atlantic’s global network over both Los Angeles and Hong Kong.
In early-July Virgin Australia initiated a five-times-weekly service using A330-200 aircraft with 14 tonne belly-hold capacity and kicked off with nearly full payload.