Virgin and Delta open new export facility at LHR

Written by: Felicity Stredder |
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Virgin Atlantic Cargo and Delta Cargo have opened a state-of-the-art export facility at London Heathrow airport.

The new facility is the first phase of Virgin Atlantic Cargo and Delta Cargo’s expansion programme to double cargo handling capacity at Heathrow to meet projected growth.

The new dnata City East facility offers:

- 18 customer delivery doors, double the previous
- An expanded ETV (Elevated Transfer Vehicle), capable of full automation, with 245 pallet positions, up 20%, which enables the loading of flights in ‘trim order’
- High-rise racking with 1,350 positions for storing export freight
- A dedicated Pharma Zone and increased capacity for temperature-controlled cargoes
- Special facilities for Dangerous Goods and Live Animals
- New X-ray technology with enhanced imaging capability
- Advanced internal and external high-definition CCTV systems to ensure a safe and secure working environment

“These world-class expanded facilities position us for success in this important market,” said Rafael Figueroa, Delta Cargo’s Managing Director – Operations and Customer Experience. “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.”

The new facility also features the Gatehouse concept, meaning drivers are immediately assigned to a cargo door to offload their freight without the need to exit the vehicle beforehand. Drivers also receive text message updates to expedite deliveries. Instant freight status update messages will also be sent to customers to confirm their cargo is being handled and flown as planned. Screens inside the facility connect with the airlines’ operations control centres to enable flight monitoring and the management of SLAs.

Tania Boyes, Director - Cargo Operations at Virgin Atlantic, thanked the airline’s cargo handling partner, dnata, for enabling the new facility and making the move so seamless. “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,” she said.

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