Air France-KLM, Delta and Virgin Atlantic launch trans-Atlantic Joint Venture

AMSTERDAM/PARIS, ATLANTA and LONDON: Air France-KLM Cargo, Delta Air Lines Cargo and Virgin Atlantic Cargo are promising cargo customers more connections, greater shipment routing flexibility, improved trucking options, aligned services and innovative digital solutions with the launch of their expanded trans-Atlantic Joint Venture (JV).

The new partnership, which represents 23% of total trans-Atlantic cargo capacity or more than 600,000 tonnes annually, will enable the airlines to offer the best-ever customer experience, and a combined network of up to 341 peak daily trans-Atlantic services – a choice of 110 nonstop routes with onward connections to 238 cities in North America, 98 in Continental Europe and 16 in the U.K.

Customers will be able to leverage an enhanced network built around the airlines’ hubs in Amsterdam, Atlanta, Boston, Detroit, London Heathrow, Los Angeles, Minneapolis, New York-JFK, Paris, Seattle and Salt Lake City. It creates convenient nonstop or one-stop connections to every corner of North America, Europe and the U.K., giving customers the added confidence of delivery schedules being met by a wide choice of options.

The expanded JV enables greater co-operation between the airlines, focused on delivering world class customer service and reliability on both sides of the Atlantic achieved through co-located facilities, joint trucking options as well as seamless bookings and connected service recovery. The airlines already co-locate at warehouses in key U.S., U.K. and European airports, and will review opportunities to co-locate further at more airports around the globe.

Adriaan den Heijer, Executive Vice President of Air France-KLM Cargo: “We are very excited to welcome Virgin Atlantic Cargo to the successful trans-Atlantic Joint Venture between Air France-KLM Cargo and Delta Cargo. The combined network means more choices and value for our customers as we align our services to enable seamless transfers and further streamlining of transport times. This enhanced joint venture offers the most and best trans-Atlantic options ever in the cargo industry.”

The four airlines will leverage their expertise in the transportation of specialised products, including end-to-end GDP and IATA CEIV quality compliance for pharmaceuticals, supported by dedicated teams and facilities across the globe. The JV will allow the airlines to provide customers with a diversified product range to best suit their individual requirements.

“This announcement is just the first step in the journey,” said Shawn Cole, Vice President – Delta Cargo. “Our customers can expect additional benefits as we evolve our partnership further to deliver best-in class customer experience and operational reliability, with differentiated products and services that are tailored and developed to make it easier to do business with the four airlines.”

Customers will be able to book their shipments with knowledgeable local teams and by using new digital solutions designed to reduce duplication and drive efficiencies as a result of greater connectively between the airlines’ systems. Alongside the development of a growing choice of self-service technology options, customers will continue to enjoy the support of co-located customer service centres to enhance their cargo delivery experience.

Virgin Atlantic Cargo’s Managing Director, Dominic Kennedy said: “Our great partnership with Delta has already enriched the benefits we offer to our customers. With our expanded JV with Air France-KLM Cargo, we are even more excited about the benefits we will be bringing for our customers as we work with like-minded partners to deliver greater value across our outstanding trans-Atlantic network.”

The Air France-KLM Group is a global airline group with a strong European base. Its main areas of business are passenger transport, cargo transport and aeronautical maintenance.

Air France KLM Martinair Cargo is the Air France-KLM Group’s dedicated air cargo business. Our three airlines offer the industry more than 1,100 weekly frequencies to 124 long-haul destinations. In 2018, Air France KLM Martinair Cargo transported 1.1 million tonnes of cargo. In addition to the Group’s global network of passenger aircraft, we offer cargo main deck capacity on two Boeing 777 Freighters, four Boeing 747-400 Freighters and four Boeing 747-400 Combi aircraft.

In 2019, Air France KLM Martinair Cargo received Air Cargo Week’s ‘Air Cargo Industry Achievement Award’ and ‘Cargo Airline of the Year Award’.

Air France Cargo and KLM Cargo and our two main hubs (Charles de Gaulle and Schiphol) are IATA CEIV certified, providing service excellence to the pharmaceutical industry.

Air France-KLM Cargo is a member of SkyTeam Cargo ( offering an even larger network coverage. Special partnerships include China Southern Cargo, Delta Cargo and Kenya Airways Cargo.

Delta Cargo offers access to an industry-leading global network, reaching more than 310 destinations in 54 countries on six continents and carrying more than 2.2 billion cargo ton-miles each year. Whether it’s life-saving pharmaceuticals, organs for transplant, fresh flowers, asparagus or bulk shipments, Delta Cargo offers reliable shipping services with GPS, real-time tracking, same-day delivery and first/last mile delivery options . With its 24/7 Cargo Control Center for proactive shipment monitoring and IATA’s CEIV Pharma certification, Delta Cargo continues to be an industry leader. In 2019, Delta Cargo received Air Cargo World’s Air Cargo Excellence Diamond Award. Headquartered in Atlanta, Delta employs more than 80,000 employees worldwide and operates a mainline fleet of more than 800 aircraft. Delta is a member of the SkyTeam Cargo global alliance and participates in joint venture partnerships with Air France-KLM Cargo, Virgin Atlantic Cargo and Aeromexico Cargo, and in cooperation with Korean Air Cargo. Including its worldwide alliance partners, Delta offers more than 15,000 daily flights, with key hubs and markets.

Cargo has been an important part of Virgin Atlantic’s business ever since the airline was founded by entrepreneur Sir Richard Branson 34 years ago and, today, carries over 240 million kilos of cargo annually. In 2019, the airline’s strong commitment to innovation and customer service has been recognised by cargo customers with their highest ever Net Promoter Score (NPS) measuring relationship management, booking experience, price and handling performance.

Headquartered in London, Virgin Atlantic Cargo trades in 49 countries and sells services to destinations in over 66 countries worldwide. Alongside joint venture partner Delta Cargo, the airline operates a leading trans-Atlantic network, offering a choice of 43 flights a day between the U.K. and U.S. and carrying over a quarter of total trans-Atlantic air cargo volumes between the two countries. Virgin Atlantic Cargo is also the long-haul international cargo sales and management partner of Virgin Australia, connecting the airlines’ networks over Los Angeles and Hong Kong – and, from 29 March 2020, being joined by Virgin Australia’s new daily Brisbane-Tokyo Haneda flights.

In 2019, Virgin Atlantic Cargo extended its network with the launch of daily flights from London to Tel Aviv and Mumbai and announced the addition of Sao Paulo to its schedule in 2020 as well as a second daily Delhi service. Customers are also benefiting from the increased cargo payload of the airline’s new Airbus A350-1000 fleet, which will grow to a total of 12 aircraft in 2020-21. In addition to current New York JFK services, in 2020, A350 aircraft will also commence operations on Virgin Atlantic routes to Los Angeles, San Francisco, Johannesburg and Lagos.

September 2019 also saw Virgin Atlantic and Delta Cargo move into a new state-of-the-art export facility at Heathrow, part of a programme to double the size of their cargo handling operation at Heathrow. Virgin Atlantic’s investment in a new cargo management platform will also deliver greater digitisation of its cargo services and offer customers a dashboard of real-time self-service options.

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