Some would claim British Airways was slow off the mark. Unlike rivals including Lufthansa, BA has been tardy in converting grounded aircraft to full passenger-cargo operation.
Two of the carrier’s B777-200s have now been converted to true passenger-cargo operation at Cardiff with all seats removed to increase space.
The inside of one of our 777-200s, G-YMMK, having just returned from Cardiff maintenance in a cargo config to support our ongoing freight-only operations for PPE etc. Keeps aircraft utilisation up whilst pax loads are non-existent. #AvGeek pic.twitter.com/imk6t01SRp
— jumpjim (@jumpjim) May 24, 2020
As confirmed on the official IAG Cargo LinkedIn page, the converted aircraft offer an additional 100 cubic metres of cargo space with their seats removed.
Meanwhile BA continues to operate some aircraft taking PPE equipment from China to UK with cargo strapped to the seats.
The carrier is operating 14 flights a week between Shanghai and London, with a daily service out of Beijing. That’s a 50 per cent increase over recent weeks.
Other examples of passenger-cargo services include:
- Delta, in common with other US carriers, awaits FAA (Federal Aviation Administration) approval to carry cargo on the passenger deck. Meanwhile it’s found a temporary solution by stowing a limited amount in the overhead lockers.
- Swiss has developed into a major player. Its cargo network continues to expand (including thrice daily to Beijing, twice daily Shanghai) and the map suggests Zurich is used as a transit point.
By including further intercontinental destinations to the SWISS route network, @SwissWorldCargo can expand its services as of 15 May. Another 160 cargo flights are planned by the end of June, also to first-ever destinations such as Toronto or Shenzhen. pic.twitter.com/S2GI36ALcj
— Swiss Intl Air Lines (@FlySWISS) May 15, 2020
- Austrian Airlines continues with B777 preighter flights to China, and has tweeted a picture of the preighter’s interior.
This is what a fully loaded "preighter" looks like from the inside. We have converted two B777 into passenger-cargo freighters increasing their load capacity by removing almost all seats. One of them, the OE-LPC, is currently returning from Shanghai with medical supplies. ✈️📦 pic.twitter.com/f08hFW1fRB
— Austrian Airlines (@_austrian) May 15, 2020
- Finnair has removed seating from two A330s to increase cargo space.
Exciting cargo news: We added cargo capacity by removing seats from two A330 wide-body aircraft. The free cabin space will be used mainly for shipping supplies needed in the coronavirus pandemic. Read more: https://t.co/OlX75tValG #cargo #feelfinnair pic.twitter.com/6ltUPk98hE
— Finnair (@Finnair) May 18, 2020
- Scandinavia’s SAS has jumped on the passenger-cargo bandwagon with a freight company booking space on the passenger deck of what’s believed to be an A340
On Sunday evening our first cargo only flight with cabin-load, chartered by @bwsglobal, landed at @CPHAirports. The aircraft carried 14 tons of face masks for the medical staff in @rsyddanmark. 💙 pic.twitter.com/kZyGnLfp5h
— SAS – Scandinavian Airlines (@SAS) May 19, 2020
- Dublin-based Aer Lingus has been operating up to five daily A330 flights to Beijing to collect medical supplies for Ireland. Some readers may wonder why the premium seating remains. Well a) it’s probably too complex to remove easily and b) it accommodates the relief crew. As shown by Icelandair below.
Read more about the behind-the-scenes efforts to get this operation up and running https://t.co/1WUrDqTsP2
— Aer Lingus (@AerLingus) April 3, 2020
Yesterday, we flew medical supplies from Shanghai to Iceland. Before landing at KEF, our flight path drew a heart over the hospitals in Reykjavik to show gratitude to our healthcare workers. Takk fyrir, to everyone who’s working hard to keep us all safe💙✈️https://t.co/8Ew7HY8Zhy pic.twitter.com/giRP2BTu3i
— Icelandair (@Icelandair) April 20, 2020
- Whatever happened to Germany’s holiday airline Condor? It was supposed to have been acquired by Poland’s LOT, but it never happened. Instead Condor turns to freight. Airliners.de reports it has converted 12 B767s for this purpose.
Condor hat zwölf 767 umgerüstet. Das war's dann aber mit den Fracht-Ambitionen. https://t.co/7V3ni4a4Tr
— airliners.de (@airliners_de) May 20, 2020
- Kenya Airways survives (it currently operates no international scheduled services) by taking cargo to London and return.
Delighted to see @KenyaAirways dreamliner in London bearing exports of 41,200 kg of vegetables and herbs. Aircraft heads back home with a load of pharmaceutical products, mining equipment, packaging materials for flowers, courier stuff @AmbMKamau @StateHouseKenya #TogetherWeCan pic.twitter.com/QP5j6b6iH7
— Manoah Esipisu MBS (@MEsipisu) April 16, 2020