West Lothian-based Eagle Couriers seeing baggage repatriation arm spreading wings
The firm, which says it is Scotland’s leading independent courier company, states that its Eagle Aviation arm is now the UK and Northern Ireland’s top baggage repatriation company, and has landed global clients including Emirates, Jet2, Virgin Atlantic, Loganair, Etihad, and Ryanair.
The Bathgate-based business now handles and returns more than 350,000 bags a year, providing a daily service to 33 airports and 120 airline groups, to most of the main Scottish and English regional airports, including Inverness, plus London Heathrow and Gatwick as well as Belfast and Dublin.
Eagle Couriers said the growth of the airport-focused division came about after the business, which has 45 employees, pivoted into new revenue streams during the pandemic.
It explained that as major travel resumed, it spotted the opportunity to fill a UK-wide gap in the baggage repatriation space after rival firms had halted operations.
The firm added that Eagle Aviation was able to quickly build on the network of THS Couriers, a Paisley-based business acquired by Eagle Couriers before the pandemic but wound down as air travel virtually stopped.
It quickly secured contracts to return lost luggage across the UK with Aer Lingus, Swiss and Austrian Airlines, alongside awards from British Airways, Iberia, KLM, Air France and Lufthansa. Additional local London contracts were brought in to land with the likes of Ethiopian Airlines and Scandinavian Airlines.
Eagle Aviation operations manager Samuel Milne said the firm’s creation and growth is a prime example of adversity fostering opportunity. “We were monitoring the situation carefully and put a plan in place that could be swiftly executed if and when the travel restrictions were eased and inward UK flights started to increase.
“We continued to provide a reduced service for airlines during the pandemic when passengers were being repatriated globally following lockdown restrictions.
“The launch of Eagle Aviation allowed us to maintain some existing baggage repatriation contracts we held under the THS brand, and when another provider left the market, it opened up new opportunities for us. We are looking at a number of ways in which we can grow the business and work in partnership with other global airline groups.”
Eagle Couriers MD Fiona Deas said she was pleased at how the company, whose fleet numbers more than 120 vehicles, had weathered the pandemic and adapted to changing demands.
In January 2021, it recruited another 70 drivers and added several office-based staff to the payroll after winning a major contract with National Services Scotland to collect staff PCR tests from every care home in Scotland for onward delivery to labs for testing.
Ms Deas also said: “During the first Covid-19 wave in March 2020, there was a huge demand from local authorities, justice agencies, government departments and private companies to deliver tens of thousands of laptops, desks, chairs and other equipment, as working from home became a normal part of lockdown life.
“Our work on behalf of the NHS remained consistent and, in fact, we picked up additional work delivering anti-viral prescriptions to Covid-positive households, and we were involved in flying Covid-related items between the Scottish islands on a daily basis.”
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