Nelson Mandela Bridge over Johannesburg Park Station in Gauteng South Africa


The 100th scheduled cargo-only flight from Johannesburg to London touched down on Thursday 30th July, joining the likes of Hong Kong and India which have also claimed the historic cargo-only milestone.

​​With the cargo sector faced with the challenges of COVID-19, IAG Cargo worked quickly to keep global supply chains open. As much of the world entered lockdown, IAG Cargo stood up a number of scheduled cargo-only flights, including our Johannesburg route, between London and South Africa in April.

This route has also been crucial for pets and animals that are regular passengers from the country – a trend that did not stop in the pandemic. “We already have an excellent reputation for our handling of live animals,” says Cayley Buyskes, Area Commercial Manager for Southern Africa, “And our AVI business has grown, with the number of dogs passing through Johannesburg alone doubling when compared to the same period last year. Ensuring cats and dogs can return home safely has been one of the most rewarding tasks of the past four months.”

This cargo-only route has also kept supermarket shelves stocked when they were most needed. It has transported tonnes of fruit, vegetables, tropical flowers and fish to the UK and beyond.

Tania Smit, Director of dRK Logistics adds: “The COVID-19 pandemic hit South African exporters and airlines at a particularly challenging time – just before the Easter holidays, normally a peak period for local and regional travel and exports. Rising to the challenges of a crisis is nothing new to Cayley Buyskes and the rest of the IAG Team in South Africa. IAG Cargo has always put its customers first, and the COVID-19 Pandemic was no exception.

“As was the case with numerous other forwarders, dRK Logistics (Pty) Ltd was left with very limited airfreight options from South Africa overnight. IAG came to the markets’ assistance, immediately mobilising a daily northbound flight, protecting our brand and reputational value. No request was too small to handle and as usual, nothing was too much trouble for this team.”

CEO of Morgan Cargo Schalk Bruwer says: “In difficult times you need reliable partners to survive. And as long as the reliability of your partners match up to the difficulty of the situation then you will be fine. During COVID-19 we were very fortunate to have IAG Cargo as our partner – they were just as strong as the circumstances were difficult.

“Congratulations on flying your 100th cargo-only flight between JNB and LHR, you have made every flight work through careful planning, excellent operations, fair costing, accommodating flexibility and a lot of patience with clients like ourselves. Thank you for being quick to respond to the crisis, for overcoming difficulties with regulatory authorities, for believing in our plans when they were unproven and for taking the jump with us to create structure and certainty in a very chaotic world.

“You have carried a lot of South African product into the UK market and beyond and in doing so you have saved thousands of jobs in households where more often than not only one breadwinner feeds an extended family…. you are so much more than a service provider to us – your people and our people form a formidable team that can overcome any problem together.”

Find out more about IAG Cargo’s ongoing role in the fight against COVID-19.