Virgin Atlantic Cargo has awarded contracts to WTA Aviation and Swissport in Israel to support the launch and growth of the airline’s new daily flights between London Heathrow (LHR) and Tel Aviv (TLV), which commence on 25 September.
As one of Israel’s leading air cargo general sales agents, WTA will be responsible for selling the 20 tonnes of daily cargo capacity onboard Virgin Atlantic’s A330-300 flights. The direct service to London, as well as fast daily connections to major cities across North America are expected to attract high volumes of pharmaceutical, e-commerce, express and valuable shipments as well as high-tech products, fresh produce and other general cargo.
Swissport will provide cargo handling services for the airline at its modern 21,000 sqm warehouse terminal at Ben Gurion International Airport (TLV). The facility is fully equipped with temperature-controlled cold and chill rooms, as well as dedicated areas for valuable goods, DGR and live animals, and provides real-time technologies to optimise cargo build and for shipment tracking.
Swissport already provides cargo handling in Tel Aviv for Virgin Atlantic’s JV partner, Delta Cargo, extending the airlines’ co-location programme.
Claire Fallon, Virgin Atlantic’s regional sales manager, says: “We see a fantastic growth opportunity in Israel and have chosen two respected partners who are a perfect fit for Virgin Atlantic.
“We are confident WTA Aviation and Swissport will help us realise the potential of this exciting new route and deliver the high quality of service every Virgin Atlantic customer deserves and expects.
“Our extensive network to the US – Israel’s biggest export market – and expertise in handling cargoes such as pharmaceuticals, valuable and express shipments means we have a very strong proposition to offer customers in Israel,” Fallon adds.
David Zelnik, CEO & owner of WTA Aviation, comments: “The UK and US are such important and growing markets for companies in Israel so there is already great excitement about the connections Virgin Atlantic is going to offer, as well as for the great customer service the airline is so well-known for.
“The Israeli economy is extremely buoyant and exporters are continually looking for new opportunities so the timing of Virgin Atlantic’s new daily services is perfect. We already have customers wanting to use this additional cargo capacity,” he adds.
Kevin Hillyard, the Virgin Atlantic’s head of Regional Cargo Operations International, noted that Swissport was chosen because of their modern facility and use of technologies which support real-time tracking of shipments and flight build, as well as the ability to fully support Virgin Atlantic’s product range.
“The opportunity to co-locate with Delta Cargo was another significant factor because it further enhances the strength of our JV network partnership,” Hillyard adds.
“It is an honour to be chosen by Virgin Atlantic Cargo to provide cargo handling services in Tel Aviv and we are committed to high quality, service and success,” says Uri Shochat, CEO of Swissport Israel. “We are looking forward to a long and successful relationship and hoping to contribute and strive for great results in the coming years.”