Impact Publications : Aircargo_235
AirCArgo AsiA-PACifiC • FEBRUARY-MARCH 2015 • Page 17 grow our share of the high value mar- ket this year and our customers should be confident that whatever we offer will come with the guarantee of a high class service they can rely on. You pulled out of Mumbai in india at the end of January, despite the country being tipped to deliver solid growth going forward. What was the rationale? India has been a very important market for Virgin Atlantic for nearly 15 years but the passenger and cargo yields ex Mumbai are very different to the level from Delhi and we could not see any signs that this was going to im- prove. We never like to pull off a route because we work hard to build relation- ships with customers and appreciate the support they give us but the harsh reality is that we have an expensive aircraft asset that we have to make the most of, because airlines have to make money. Our customers in India appreciate the commercial realities of business and they understand that we are still very committed to India with our daily Delhi flights. Virgin will have a major transatlantic focus in 2015 but you have talked be- fore about the levels of excess capacity on these routes. How is this going to impact your cargo business and how can you succeed when other carriers are struggling? We know the market very well be- cause it has been our biggest market for over 30 years. There’s no question that it is extremely competitive, but we are adding capacity on routes where we are already well established as a high quality carrier or in new markets like Atlanta and Detroit where we can see good cargo potential. Customers that choose to fly their cargo with Virgin across the Atlantic are very positive about these opportunities to use us more. Delta acquired a 49 per cent stake in Virgin Atlantic and you now share a transatlantic joint venture. What does that mean in real terms for the cargo customers of both airlines? What are you already doing together and what might we see in the future? It means that in terms of frequencies and destinations, we will have a very substantial offering for our customers covering 245 departures a week to and from 19 destinations. Our big focus now is to get our systems talking to each other so we can book directly into each airline’s capacity. In support of this, we have already co-located our handling in a lot of stations to ensure a fast and seamless service for the customers of both airlines. People often forget that Virgin is not a big airline in terms of its fleet and route network because you have arguably punched about your weight thanks to the Virgin brand and your high customer service – but how difficult is it to main- tain this? is a strong brand and great service enough when competing against today’s handful of big global carriers? We have a strong brand and a rep- utation for high class service and so sometimes we are perceived to be a bigger airline that we actually are. We have a good network of routes in and out of the UK and serve some important trade lanes but we do often stop and ask ourselves ‘why do customers need to use us?’ If you take the need to be price competitive as a given, I believe customers choose to fly their cargo with Virgin Atlantic because we look after our customers, we always try to be flexible to meet their requirements, we’re both proactive and approachable, and if something goes wrong at any point, we fix it quickly. Our load factors suggest we are getting the balance right. We also run a lean and efficient cargo operation and we have extremely effec- tive capacity and revenue management processes that ensure we make the right decisions about the business we carry and deliver reliable service. Sometimes the bigger the compe- tition is, the easier it is to compete against because they can’t always do what we can do. We work hard on our customer relationships and continue to target those customers we know place a higher value on service. What are your biggest concerns for the air cargo industry in 2015? The security environment given the world we live in today. The key to daily news in the airfreight industry www.impactpub.com.au/aircargo ON LINE, ON TARGET, ON US.