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  June 8th, 2016 | Written by

Virgin Atlantic and Delta Move Cargo Handling Under One Roof in UK

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  • Virgin Atlantic and Delta have are collocating their cargo handling at eleven airports in the UK.
  • Airlines' agreement with dnata will provide easier cargo drop-off and collection points for customers.
  • Virgin Atlantic-Delta cargo collocation will provide faster truck turnaround times at London Heathrow.

Virgin Atlantic Cargo and Delta Cargo have signed long-term contracts with dnata to collocate their cargo handling at eleven airports in the United Kingdom.

The so-called one-roof handling strategy, which becomes effective today, is being rolled out across the UK to enhances the airlines’ joint venture and promise benefits for customers.

The airports involved in the scheme include London Heathrow, Manchester, Glasgow, Edinburgh, and London Gatwick as well as six other UK regional airports: Aberdeen, Belfast, Birmingham, East Midlands, Leeds/Bradford, and Newcastle.

The move is designed to provide easier single drop-off and collection points for customers of both airlines and faster truck turnaround times at London Heathrow and enhanced services for premium products.

For Virgin Atlantic, the new contract with dnata is a further extension of one of the longest-running cargo handling agreements in the UK, which first began in the late 1980s. The airline is dnata’s largest cargo customer in the UK, moving more than 200,000 tonnes of cargo per year, and it has handling contracts with dnata in Dubai and Australia. In 2015, Virgin also awarded the majority of its UK domestic UK trucking business to dnata.

Dnata is one of the world’s largest suppliers of air services, including aircraft ground handling and cargo, across five continents.

“Our working relationship with dnata in London has such longevity because they consistently meet our stringent service level agreement and also work with us to find other ways to deliver service improvements and efficiencies to our customers,” said John Lloyd, Senior Vice President, Cargo at Virgin Atlantic. “Our door waiting times at Heathrow, for example, are already among the best at the airport but with the new technology being developed, dnata is confident they can be reduced even further.”

“Collocating our cargo operations at Heathrow and across the UK under one roof in partnership with dnata will help realise greater synergies,” said Gareth Joyce, president of Delta Cargo, “while delivering a more seamless and efficient service to our customers. With an extensive network between the UK and North America, plus hundreds of same-day, wide-body connections via Delta’s hubs, we offer a competitive and comprehensive range of cargo services that will continue to evolve thanks to our partnership with dnata.”

Delta Cargo will join Virgin Atlantic in its dedicated 200,000 square foot Cargo Point facility, adjacent to London Heathrow’s World Cargocentre. In support of the new contracts, dnata is making a multi-million dollar phased investment which will include advanced control point technologies to further improve handling times for customers’ trucks when delivering and collecting cargo.

The new system, which uses geofencing and advance information on drivers and their vehicles, will make customer interaction with Virgin and Delta’s Heathrow cargo operations faster and more seamless. The new technology is currently being tested by dnata ahead of its planned roll-out in the first quarter of 2017. Dnata will also work proactively with both airlines to support the continued growth of their existing products for perishable, temperature-controlled, pharmaceutical, and high value cargoes.

Since the start of their joint venture in 2014, Virgin Atlantic Cargo and Delta Cargo have also co-located cargo handling at eight gateways in North America: Atlanta, Boston, Las Vegas, Miami, JFK, Newark, Orlando, and Washington Dulles.