IAG Cargo, the cargo division of International Airlines Group, comprising British Airways, Iberia, Aer Lingus, Vueling and bmi, reported record financial results in 2021, with annual revenues up 30% over 2020 of €1,673 million for the year to 31 December. The carrier said it reflected surging demand for air cargo capacity as global trade rebounds. Overall yield for 2021 was up 11.3% at constant currency versus 2020 and sold tonnes were up 21.4%.
Demand for air cargo exceeded 2019 levels throughout 2021 and the business continued to align its network to customer demand with cargo-led flying, increased frequencies on important trade routes and implementing an active charter programme of 745 rotations.
The year ended very strongly with quarterly record revenue of €499 million in the fourth quarter, up from €389 million in Q4 of 2020 thanks to ecommerce and hi-tech flows from South East Asia into North America and automotive parts from the UK and Europe. Hong Kong demand remained very buoyant and from mid-December the business directed volumes to flow via Bangkok as crew quarantine restrictions limited direct flights. IAG Cargo also moved large volumes of what are typically seen as non-airfreight commodities as shippers favoured shorter delivery times and volumes shifted from sea to air against a background of supply chain disruption, port congestion and low inventories.
IAG Cargo managing director David Shepherd said: “Since joining the business in August 2021 I’ve been extremely impressed by the way in which the talented team at IAG Cargo have optimised the opportunities which the market has presented. In 2021 the role of air cargo remained very much in the spotlight. Our people went above and beyond to find solutions to the global capacity crunch and airfreight restrictions. These results are a reflection of their determination and creativity.
“I’m also proud of our work in the fight against Covid-19. In 2021 our cold chain, Constant Climate, service was responsible for shipping millions of doses of life-saving COVID-19 vaccines to almost every corner of the world.
He added that IAG also improved its website and expanded partnerships with third party platform providers.