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Airlines Switch to Cargo-Only Flights

Some airlines are quickly repurposing their passenger planes to fly cargo-only to help weather the financial storm and ease a cargo crunch.

Airlines from all around the world are canceling flights as authorities seek to contain the spread of COVID-19 (coronavirus) pandemic. Some airlines are quickly repurposing their passenger planes to fly cargo-only to help weather the financial storm and ease a cargo crunch.

Virgin Atlantic has flown its first-ever cargo-only chartered flight, loaded with pharmaceutical and medical products. Flight VS698 departed from London to New York on Sunday, March 21st with two pilots and one cabin crew member on board. Virgin Atlantic is able to fly cargo but not passengers due to the Covid-19 travel exemptions for pilots and cabin crew operating flights – it’s thanks to these that global air freight will remain functional in these incredibly trying times.

Alitalia has organized, in coordination with the Italian Department of Civil Protection, the first of a series of cargo flights from China with the purpose of transporting medical equipment necessary for Italian hospitals to manage the Covid-19 emergency.

For this first humanitarian flight, an Alitalia’s Boeing 777-300ER, the aircraft with the largest cargo capacity among the Airline’s fleet, will take off to Shanghai next Wednesday and return to Rome on Thursday 26 March with 160 cubic meters of medical supplies stowed, including approximately 3 million of protective face masks.

American Airlines announced that it would be using currently grounded widebody passenger aircrafts to move cargo between the United States and Europe. The first cargo-only flight since 1984, Dallas- Frankfurt flight departed March, 20 2020.

United Airlines is using some of its largest planes ( Boeing 777 and 787) as cargo planes to run 40 charter flights each week. 

Turkish Cargo, a division of Turkey’s national flag carrier Turkish Airlines, has started to operate cargo flights with Turkish Airlines’ passenger aircraft in addition to its flights with 25 high-capacity freighter.

Until they’re able to welcome you back onboard, airlines will continue to fly cargo to destinations around the world.

Iuliia Tore