Feature, Freight News, Air

Virgin and Delta open high tech Heathrow hub

[ October 10, 2019   //   ]

Virgin Atlantic Cargo and Delta Cargo have opened their new joint export facility at London Heathrow – the first phase of a programme to double cargo handling capacity at the airport.

The new dnata City East facility offers18 customer delivery doors, double the amount previously; a An expanded ETV (Elevated Transfer Vehicle), capable of full automation, with 245 pallet positions, which enables the loading of flights in ‘trim order’;▪high-rise racking with 1,350 positions for storing export freight, eliminating unnecessary movements of shipments; aA dedicated pharma zone and increased capacity for temperature-controlled and perishables cargoes; special facilities for dangerous goods and live animal shipments; new X-ray technology with enhanced imaging capability, reducing the need for secondary cargo screening; and internal and external high-definition CCTV systems.

The new facility also features the Gatehouse concept, meaning drivers arriving at the facility no longer need to leave their vehicles to complete documentation processes and are then immediately assigned to a cargo door to offload their freight. Drivers also receive text message updates. Real-time acceptance using the operation’s door management system and hand-held technology also provides instant freight status update messages for customers to confirm their cargo is being handled and flown as planned. Screens inside the facility, linked directly to the airlines’ operations control centres, enable flight monitoring and the management of service level agreements.

Delta Cargo’s managing director – operations and customer experience – Rafael Figueroa said: “These world-class expanded facilities position us for success in this important market. The technology enhancements and the transparency across the export operation, with increased temperature-controlled facilities, are designed to make it easier for our customers to work with both airlines.”

Virgin Atlantic, director of cargo operations, Tania Boyes, added: “We now have an export operation at our main UK hub which is designed around the current and future needs of our business, and which will further improve customer experience. By embracing new technology and ways of working, the building gives us the capacity to grow efficiently as we enter the next exciting phase of expansion for Virgin Atlantic. We especially wish to thank dnata, our cargo handling partner, for enabling us to create this outstanding new facility and for making the move from our former export operation so seamless.”