Airlines add extra UK capacity to help ease cargo backlog

By Damian Brett

Credit: Lufthansa

Air France KLM (AF KLM) Cargo and Lufthansa Cargo are adding extra cargo capacity between continental Europe and the UK as they look to cater for a freight backlog created by the closure of the UK-France border.

The Franco-Dutch airline group said that it would operate four additional KLM Airbus A330 flights between Schiphol and Heathrow on December 25 and December 26.

“Recent developments have seriously disrupted the normal flow of goods between mainland Europe and the UK,” the carrier said.

“In order to meet the demand from our customers, shippers and, ultimately, the citizens of the UK, we will be operating additional wide body belly (WBB) capacity during the festive season. WBB capacity makes it specifically possible to transport urgent, critical shipments.”

GertJan Roelands, senior vice president sales & distribution Air France KLM Martinair Cargo, added: “Air France KLM Martinair Cargo aims to keep supply chains moving in order to meet the demands and wishes of our customers. We are especially pleased with the additional wide body belly capacity to/from LHR during this critical period, because the UK is a strategic market for us.”

Meanwhile, Lufthansa Cargo operated a Boeing B777 freighter from Frankfurt to Doncaster Sheffield airport carrying 80 tons of fruit and vegetables on December 23.

The carrier said it was currently examining whether additional special cargo flights can be offered over the coming days.

France has now reopened its border with the UK but supply chain backlogs are expected to continue as trucks take time to clear.

Yesterday evening the French government eased its travel ban, allowing hauliers – among others – to travel to France if they have proof of a negative Covid test in the last 72 hours.

The ban was put in place over concerns of a new variant of the Covid-19 virus.

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