IAG Cargo is celebrating its 80th year of flying to Singapore this month, with the first regular service having landed on 9thDecember, 1933. The first flights were launched with cargo at their heart, at a stroke creating a faster way of connecting British businesses with their concerns in the East. This revolution in cargo vastly reduced the time taken to send important documents and cargo between countries and set in motion what is today one of the largest cargo operations in the world.
Steve Gunning, managing director at IAG Cargo comments: “This landmark year for IAG Cargo highlights just how established our network is – growing from these innovative beginnings into the network of more than 350 destinations that we serve today.
“This region has remained an integral part of our operations and is supported by a twice daily service into Singapore. Our fleet has come a long way since our preliminary flight in 1933. We are now able to offer customers fast, direct flights, and a premium service tailored to the types of cargo being transported. I think few in 1933 could have foreseen just how integral a role air cargo would come to play in international business.”
80 years ago the journey to Singapore took 10 days – compared to just 12hrs 55mins today – and involved the loading and unloading of four different types of aircraft as well as transporting goods by train. Before landing in Singapore, the cargo made stops in eight different countries including Egypt, Palestine and India.
The final leg of the journey saw cargo being delivered into Singapore by the Armstrong Whitworth ‘Atalanta’ class aircraft, which could carry a maximum weight of 9,525kg and had a range of 400 miles. Today the route is serviced by IAG Cargo’s Boeing 777-300, which has a take-off weight of 351,500kg, 35 times that of the original aircraft from 1933. Flying at 560 miles per hour, and with a range of 9,125 miles, today’s aircraft are still designed around the concept of speed and connecting businesses.
Not only has there been a huge advance in the aircrafts used; the types of cargo being transported have also changed. The Armstrong Whitworth ‘Atalanta’ class aircraft was primarily loaded with mail shipments in and out of Singapore, whereas today aircrafts see a variety of cargo, from pharmaceutical goods travelling with IAG Cargo’s Constant Climate product, to express manufacturing shipments travelling on Prioritise.
Singapore has historically been an integral part of IAG Cargo’s network, linking the UK with both Australia and the rest of Southeast Asia. Over the years, the route has witnessed numerous pioneering developments in aviation, including being served by iconic aircraft such as the revolutionary Imperial Airways C Class flying boat and the supersonic Concorde.