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Virgin Atlantic Cargo begins operations between UK and Pakistan

VIRGIN Atlantic Cargo flights between the UK and Pakistan will commence from December after creditors voted in favour of its restructuring plan, reports London's Air Cargo News

31 August 2020 - 19:00

VIRGIN Atlantic Cargo flights between the UK and Pakistan will commence from December after creditors voted in favour of its restructuring plan, reports London's Air Cargo News.

Three new routes include London Heathrow to Lahore, London Heathrow to Islamabad and Manchester to Islamabad.



'Trade in goods and services between the UK and Pakistan is worth some GBP3.3 billion (US$4.4 billion) a year, rising 4.7 per cent year on year in 2019, with high volumes of goods such as textiles, apparel, and machinery. The UK is the third biggest global market for Pakistani exporters after the US and China and their main trade lane in Europe,' said the company.



'Pakistan is an extremely exciting opportunity for us - it boasts one of the largest foreign-born populations in both the UK and the US and as people start to travel to visit loved ones, we're anticipating the demand to visit friends and relatives will increase post Covid-19,' said Virgin chief commercial officer Juha Jarvinen.



'Both Lahore and Islamabad are popular year-round destinations and we look forward to welcoming travellers onboard as demand for leisure and business travel gradually increases to the region. The growth in trade between both countries also offers great potential for our cargo customers too.' said Mr Jarvinen.



'The import and export market for goods between the UK and Pakistan is extremely healthy, so we're delighted to be offering our cargo customers another prime route with such positive growth opportunities. This is supported by our fast connections over London to Europe, the US, and Africa, and this potential will become even greater as Virgin Atlantic continues to reintroduce more routes and frequencies as part of our Covid recovery plan.' said Virgin cargo chief Dominic Kennedy.



Previously, the company announced a proposal for a privately funded solvent recapitalisation from a court-sanctioned ordeal in the UK. The business plan plans to execute US$1.6 billion in refinancing over the next 18 months.



Without the capital injection, the carrier has warned that it'll run out of funds by September 28. Fortunately for them, Virgin Atlantic achieved the support of its creditors, and 99 per cent support from trade creditors and vote in favour of the plan.



'We remain confident that the plan represents the best possible outcome for Virgin Atlantic and all its creditors and believe that the court will exercise its power to sanction the Restructuring Plan, at a hearing scheduled on September 2.' said the company.



Shareholders are implementing around $600 million in support over the life of the plan, with investments from Virgin Group and Davidson Kempner Capital Management.



Meanwhile, Virgin Atlantic restarted passenger flying on July 20 after a three-month hiatus because of the Covid-19 pandemic.



The airlines are operating flights to New York, Los Angeles, Hong Kong, Shanghai, Barbados, and Miami while further routes are expected to be added throughout September and October.



The company is also offering cargo-only flights to Atlanta, Brussels, Chicago, Delhi, Dublin, Johannesburg, Lagos, Milan, Mumbai and Tel Aviv.


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