Virgin Atlantic have announced that the have completed their first ever cargo-only charter. The flight took off from London Heathrow for New York JFK, creating history for the airline as it departed with two pilots, one cabin crew member and a hold filled with 12490 kilograms of pharmaceutical and medical supplies.
Although the emergence of Covid-19 has led to a decrease in passengers travelling, Virgin Atlantic says demand to transport cargo remains strong. Special exemptions from the imposed travel restrictions for pilots and cabin crew – whose health and wellbeing remains top priority – mean that cargo operations can continue, ensuring the airline can continue to support vital supply chains across the globe.
A flight with no passengers is technically not an unusual sight, with training, positioning and maintenance sectors happening regularly amongst Virgin Atlantic’s fleet. However, a pure cargo charter flight like VS698 had never been operated before by the British network carrier. With further cargo only operated services scheduled in for this week, Virgin Atlantic is expected to continue its cargo offering to destinations from the US to the far east.
Dominic Kennedy, Managing Director of Virgin Atlantic Cargo said: “Watching Virgin Atlantic’s inaugural cargo-only charter take off yesterday at London Heathrow added to a feeling of immense pride towards the herculean effort of our Cargo team. Making the flight happen, in such short notice and in such challenging times, reaffirms the fact that we have one of the best teams in the sky supporting supply chains across the globe.”