(23 Mar 2021)
Since Emirates SkyCargo started operating cargo only
flights on passenger aircraft, the airline has since operated more
than 27,800 such flights in just the
Coming just four days after COVID19 was
declared a pandemic by the World Health Organisation, EK
2503 was the first flight in Emirates’ history of operations to
fly a cargo only flight on a passenger aircraft, delivering about
34 tonnes of bellyhold cargo that was urgently required from Dubai
to Kuwait on 16 March 2020.
Nabil Sultan, Emirates Divisional Senior Vice
President, Cargo said, “It has been exactly one year since what
was considered impossible in the air cargo industry became not
just a reality but a strong operational pillar for Emirates
SkyCargo. Prior to the pandemic, nearly two thirds of our total
cargo was transported in the bellyhold of our passenger flights.
With increasing flight suspensions and restrictions on passenger
travel imposed due to COVID19 in early March 2020, we could
foresee a situation where there would no longer be adequate cargo
capacity available in the market to transport essential supplies.
“Our passenger freighter strategy has been the
backbone of our operations during the pandemic transporting cargo
to more than 125 destinations across six continents. It has
showcased our resilience as a global facilitator of trade and
supply chains. With resumption and growth in passenger operations,
we have started gradually moving towards our traditional model but
our passenger freighters continue to remain a strong component of
the COVID19 pandemic response.”
To meet the global demand for transport of PPE and
essential supplies, Emirates SkyCargo followed up on the
introduction of passenger freighter services with further
innovations including the loading of cargo on passenger seats and
in overhead bins inside the passenger cabin and introducing ‘mini
freighters’ which were Boeing 777-300ER aircraft with seats
removed from Economy Class
to make more room for transporting cargo. Emirates SkyCargo
currently has 16 Boeing 777-300ER mini-freighters for cargo
Emirates SkyCargo has operated more than 27,800
cargo only flights on passenger aircraft during the last year.
Those flights have helped transport more than 100,000 tonnes of
essential supplies including PPE, COVID19 testing kits,
ventilators, pharmaceuticals, vaccines and food. This is the
equivalent of cargo carried over 1000 full flights on the Boeing
777 freighter aircraft.
Emirates SkyCargo’s flights helped maintain food
security in a number of import reliant markets while also providing an
income stream to communities dependent on agricultural exports.
The carrier also operated a record number of charter
flights using passenger aircraft exclusively to transport cargo.
Emirates SkyCargo has set up a dedicated GDP
certified airside hub in Dubai for COVID19 vaccines and has also
partnered with leading Dubai based entities and with UNICEF for
the rapid transport of COVID19 vaccines to developing nations
through Dubai. Emirates SkyCargo’s passenger freighters have also
played a key role in the transport of COVID19 vaccines.
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