LIVE UPDATES: Air cargo continues fight against Covid-19

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A live roundup of air cargo companies’ efforts to meet the challenges presented to supply chains by the Covid-19 outbreak.


—————  May 18, 16:11pm BST —————————————–

Düsseldorf Airport has been handling medical equipment and other traffic-related to the coronavirus outbreak.

Gerton Hulsman, managing director of cargo operations, said: “We have had a variety of aircraft to handle, including 185 tons on 22 flights for Condor with B767 passenger aircraft, 9.1 tons from Sky Up airlines with a B737/900 passenger aircraft and 53 tons from Emirates Sky Cargo with a B777 freighter

“Over the next couple of weeks, we will receive additional flights which will include an AN124 and B777 freighters. We have always had excellent freighter handling facilities at Düsseldorf but unloading from passenger aircraft is clearly a challenge, but we are delighted to be able to do this invaluable work and help to save lives.”


—————  May 18, 16:00pm BST —————————————–

UPS has partnered with India-based Dr Reddy’s Laboratories to deliver 30 tonnes of pharma cargo to the US.

The cargo, which had to be shipped within a controlled temperature range to ensure product stability, was flown from Hyderabad in India to UPS’ hub in Cologne, Germany. The cargo was then flown to UPS’ Worldport hub in Louisville, Kentucky.

Wes Wheeler, president of UPS Healthcare, commented: “This collaboration enabled Dr. Reddy’s to replenish its stocks in US locations and provide essential medicines to meet demand.

“During this pandemic, moving critical controlled room temperature medicines requires extra planning given the air market capacity demand levels. We are providing compliant storage, transit and customs clearance expertise to help ensure products move quickly and retain their efficacy. ”

Puvvala Yugandhar, head of global supply chain, Dr. Reddy’s Laboratories, added: “Dr. Reddy’s Laboratories aims to ensure that essential medicines are within reach of patients by maintaining an uninterrupted supply globally. Our commitment to ensure accelerated access to affordable and innovative medicines to millions of patients around the world, holds significance more than ever in the present times.

“In this critical situation of the disruption caused by the Coronavirus, we connected with the UPS Healthcare team who helped ensure that critical medicines reach pharmacies and hospitals in the US on time for patients.”


—————  May 18, 2:12pm BST —————————————–

Volga-Dnepr Airlines has operated six An-124-100 charters, transporting 48 street sterilisation vehicles — eight on each flight — from China to the United Arab Emirates.

The flights transported the trucks from Shanghai to Dubai for final destination Abu Dhabi, where the vehicles will be used for a “National Disinfection Programme” in preventative action against Covid-19. All flights were in cooperation with Volga-Dnepr’s partner Maximus Air.

The Volga-Dnepr Group said that all its airlines — Volga-Dnepr Airlines, Air Bridge Cargo and Atran — have transported cargo related to the coronavirus outbreak over recent weeks.

Whilst the majority of commodities flown have been PPE, the Volga-Dnepr charter team have also been delivering oversized/heavy-lift equipment to support global health infrastructures.


—————  May 18, 11:47am BST —————————————–

Qatar Airways Cargo recently supported UNICEF by transporting 36 tonnes of medical cargo from Shanghai, China to Tehran, Iran.

The cargo, which consisted of medical supplies and personal protective equipment such as face masks, N95 masks, gowns and coveralls, was transported over several scheduled flights last week.

UNICEF in Iran will deliver these items to the Ministry of Health, Treatment and Medical Education for distribution among Iran’s brave health personnel in hospitals under universities of medical sciences admitting Covid-19 patients.

In total, UNICEF has provided 63 metric tonnes of personal protective equipment (PPE) items, part of which have been distributed among health personnel in hospitals under medical universities in different provinces including Gilan, Isfahan, Khouzestan, North Khorasan, Sistan and Balouchistan, East Azerbaijan, West Azerbaijan, Qom, Tehran and Alborz.


—————  May 18, 11:07am BST —————————————–

On May 11, Cathay Pacific Cargo transported 500,000 medical face masks to Portland International Airport (PDX) on one of its Boeing 747-8 freighter aircraft.

The masks were purchased by the US State of Oregon, procured by local vendor Tricol Biomedical and will be distributed to hospitals and health care workers in the region.

Next week, another 500,000 masks will be shipped on a Cathay Pacific flight to the US.

“As we begin to reopen our communities, it is critical that those front line workers continue to have adequate and necessary supplies of protective equipment to keep them safe,” said Oregon governor Kate Brown.

Philippe Lacamp, senior vice president of Americas at Cathay Pacific Airways, commented: “Cathay Pacific is very proud to assist in this mission to provide vital PPE supplies to the communities of the Pacific Northwest.

“The Port of Portland and Portland International Airport have been tremendous partners to Cathay Pacific since we launched a dedicated freighter service in 2016 and we remain on standby to assist with future missions.”

Keith Leavitt, chief commercial officer at the Port of Portland, added: “Cathay Pacific has been a phenomenal partner to Oregon and the Port. We are grateful for their work to continue to move products and goods to support businesses in Oregon and their expanded efforts to supply the region with critical medical supplies for hospitals and frontline workers.”


—————  May 14, 1:13pm BST —————————————–

Delta World Charter (DWC) has chartered a Boeing 777-200 freigher from China to Germany carrying essential cargo including 5m medical face masks and protective equipment (PPE).

The flight arrived at Frankfurt Airport yesterday (May 13).

Satvir Kalsi, director of cargo at DWC, commented: “The PPE is being distributed to health and social care facilities by NHS amid ‘unprecedented demand’ from the Covid-19 pandemic.”

DWC said it is continuing to operate its air cargo charter services in order to play an important part in supporting healthcare workers during this difficult time.


—————  May 11, 3:59pm BST —————————————–

Pegasus Airlines has resumed its cargo operations, following the temporary suspension of all of its flights due to the coronavirus outbreak.

Pegasus has modified its Airbus A321 neo aircraft, enabling them to carry cargo in the cabin, as well as in the bellyhold.

Prior to the outbreak Pegasus operated cargo flights using only bellyhold capacity.

Pegasus Airlines will load the aircraft at its hubs in Turkey — Istanbul Sabiha Gökçen Airport, and Izmir and Antalya airports — for transportation to domestic and international destinations within its flight network.


—————  May 11, 3:30pm BST —————————————–

SEKO Logistics has distributed over 28,000 face masks and over 138,000 gloves to their frontline teams in North America who enable their clients’ supply chains during the coronavirus crisis. 

To ensure the health and welfare of SEKO’s consignees and shippers, they have also invested in additional MedTec Driver PPE kits to continue their support of the national and global medical relief effort with deliveries of medical devices, PPE and other related shipments into hospitals, clinics and temporary medical centers in major cities across the US.

All PPE kits were distributed to certified SEKO MedTec branches, as well as, over 50 different partner agents that perform White Glove deliveries as part of the expanded SEKO MedTec network.


—————  May 11, 12:27pm BST —————————————–

Logistics firm Agility has launched a new medical supply chain subsidiary company called Global Response Aid (GRA), based in Dubai.

GRA will procure from trusted manufacturers and distribute certified diagnostic, testing and protective products suitable for use in the fight against Covid-19 to hospitals and companies safely trying to bring their employees back to the workplace. The company will also offer services such as a virus contact-tracing with its app.

GRA-sourced products will include ventilators, thermal detection equipment, thermometers, masks, goggles, protective suits, cleaning and sanitation supplies, and test kits – all of which can be used to can take pressure off hospital emergency rooms.

The mobile app, developed by GRA, can help to stop the spread of the virus through community-driven contact tracing and alerts powered by users’ time stamps and location inputs.

GRA also is deploying mobile diagnostic testing vehicles and trained teams that can perform Covid-19 testing safely on-site at schools and in workplaces.


—————  May 4, 14:42pm BST —————————————–

UPS is transporting Edwards Lifesciences equipment for use in hospitals around the world in the global fight against the coronavirus.

Edwards’ critical care technologies are used by clinicians to screen and treat critically ill patients, including those in intensive care being treated for Covid-19.

Equipment in the Edwards’ critical care portfolio includes the HemoSphere advanced monitoring platform, which measures different vital signs that can help clinicians detect changes or problems in the health of patients battling the coronavirus. These units can help clinicians to make faster and more informed decisions when treating patients.

Katie Szyman, corporate vice president, critical care at Edwards Lifesciences, commented: “I am proud of our teams at Edwards who are working hard to meet the increase in demand for life-saving technologies that are being used to treat Covid-19 patients around the world.

“As a result of this strong collaboration with UPS, we’ve been able to overcome major shipping challenges, ensuring that our technologies are getting to healthcare workers on the front lines of this pandemic who may need them for critically ill patients.”


—————  May 4, 12:42pm BST —————————————–

Europa Air & Sea has created a dedicated team to handle personal protective equipment (PPE) products in response to growing demand as a result of the coronavirus pandemic.

The new team at Europa is working with partners in Turkey, Israel, China, Hong Kong and the USA, to ensure that PPE is dispatched swiftly to frontline workers.

Miles O’Donnell, national air and sea sales manager at Europa, said: “It is a true testament to the Air & Sea division and shows our determination and resilience in such an uncertain time.”

Angus Hind, director of Europa Air & Sea, added: “The pandemic has brought a lot of added complexities to our division. The sea freight team at Europa Air & Sea has encountered some difficulties and the market is seeing some shortages of equipment and space, particularly on the Far East to Europe trade lanes. However, as a division, we are concentrating on ensuring our continuation in service and that we remain open for business.”


—————  April 30, 3:15pm BST —————————————–

Aviation service provider Avia Solutions Group has donated $2m worth flight budget to the World Health Organization to help combat Covid-19.

“The support money shall be dedicated to transporting Covid-19 vaccines to highly infected places using the company’s aircraft fleet, Dornier 228, Boeing 747-400F, B737-400F and Airbus A321,” said Vygaudas Usackas, ambassador and member of the board of directors at Avia Solutions.

Avia Solutions currently controls the operations of Chapman Freeborn, Bluebird Nordic and Avion Express, which together achieve around 10,000 flight hours per month.

The company said up to 50% of its flights are related to humanitarian aid, and that it performs medical aid flights, repatriation and United Nations World Food Programme missions.

Vygaudas added: “Today, the demand for cargo transportation rapidly increased, followed by the prices becoming 2-3 times higher. Some areas are facing issues for cargo transportation as the waiting time for large cargo or cargo to difficult areas can be as long as 2-3 weeks. As a Group, we want to be sure that once the vaccine is invented, its transportation to areas, which need it most, will have been solved in advance.”

Avia Solutions said that more than 70 vaccines are being tested at present and that while the timeframe for approval processes is from late October 2020 to mid-2021, the vaccine transportation will most likely be needed in March to April 2021.


—————  April 30, 3:15pm BST —————————————–

Virgin Atlantic is set to deliver over 43m items of personal protective equipment (PPE) in to the UK onboard special cargo-only flights which have been chartered by the Department of Health and Social Care and the NHS throughout May, June and July.

The airline was the first British airline to resume flights to China on April 3, following special dispensation from the CAA and assistance from the British Embassy in China. Since then, Virgin Atlantic has operated nine 26-hour round trips between London Heathrow and Shanghai.

The flights are manned by seven pilots and four cabin crew who rotate duties and rest time. Each flight contains on average 16 tonnes of essential items needed to help fight the Covid-19 pandemic in the UK.

Since the first charter, more than over 150 tonnes of medical supplies and PPE have been transported, including 66 ventilators, over 2m face masks, 600,000 face shields and visors, 1m disposable gloves, 38,000 items for eye protection, 125,000 protective coveralls and isolation gowns and over 25,000 battery operated or manual ventilators.


—————  April 30, 2:50pm BST —————————————–

Bin Yousef Cargo has chartered multiple Boeing 777-200 freighter flights to transport medical supplies from China to Qatar and other destinations in Europe. Each freighter flight was loaded with more than 100 tonnes of critical medical supplies, including face masks, gloves, PPE and sanitisers in high demand to help combat the global Covid-19 outbreak.

Jiju Haneef, director of cargo operations at Bin Yousef Cargo, explained: “While many of the region’s freight forwarders have been struggling to cope with the impacts of the pandemic situation, we have been working hard to keep our operations afloat and to ensure our client’s shipments are transported to their final destinations as scheduled.

“Our team was able to consolidate cargo from various suppliers in China. We arranged for all of the export documents and coordinated these charters in record time while adhering to the safety regulations and restrictions imposed by both the Governments in China and Qatar. 

“As well as airfreight, we were able to offer value-added services at the origin such as local export collection, documentation support, licensing and dangerous goods approval.

“These successful charters are a testament to the fact that our organization is ready to meet logistics challenges of any nature and scale, with its agility and adaptive nature. An increase in the number of freighter flights has been observed globally, and this should help ease the current outbound capacity strain in China.”

Bin Yousef Cargo’s expertise also enabled the set-up of treatment centres in the Al Wakra and Al Khor regions of Qatar. It handled the logistics of the critical tent materials required for these projects. The centres are providing essential medical and nursing services for the testing and treatment of the novel coronavirus.


—————  April 30, 1:10pm BST —————————————–

KLM Cargo has started carrying cargo in the cabins of its passenger aircraft.

The move follows Air France Cargo, which has been transporting cargo in the cabin of passenger aircraft over the past two weeks.

KLM’s first flight carrying cargo in the cabin, as well as in the bellyhold, flew from Shanghai to Amsterdam utilising a Boeing 777-300. The majority of cargo onboard was essential medical supplies for the global flight against the coronavirus.

KLM pointed out that around 500 packages of equipment can be carried in the cabin on each flight. “If the trial proves successful, Beijing and Hong Kong will join Shanghai on the list of destinations for this new service,” the carrier said. “KLM deploy three Boeing 777s to operate cargo-in-cabin flights.”

KLM’s B747-400 combi aircraft, which are re-entering service, will soon be reconfigured for cargo-in-cabin operations.

KLM said that its ‘cargo-in-cabin coordinators’ will oversee each cargo-only passenger flight to ensure smooth operations.

Air France-KLM Cargo’s executive vice president, Adriaan den Heijer, commented: “Developing and implementing this concept is a particularly complex necessity. Safety plays a pivotal role. Each and every package must be bound securely to the seat to ensure it remains in place throughout the flight. But practical matters have to be taken into account too, such as swiftly and safely loading the cabin cargo without damaging the interior.

“This process is especially labour intensive; current expectations are that this will take at least four hours.”


—————  April 29, 5:20pm BST —————————————–

Emirates SkyCargo has utilised the cargo capacity on its Boeing 777 freighter and B 777-300ER passenger freighter aircraft to help maintain and replenish food supplies in the UAE during the Covid-19 pandemic.

The air cargo carrier has helped import more than 34,000 tonnes of food into the country between January and April 2020, out of which 13,000 tonnes were imported between March and April.

In the month of April, Emirates SkyCargo helped bring in food supplies into the UAE from over 35 countries around the world.

Emirates SkyCargo is currently operating flights to around 60 global destinations on a scheduled basis and to many more destinations as charter and ad hoc operations. Food bound for the UAE is loaded on these flights from markets across the world.

Some of the food imports that Emirates SkyCargo has facilitated since the start of the year include

  • More than 5,200 tonnes of food from Australia including chilled meat and fruits such as grapes and melons
  • Close to 2,500 tonnes of food from Egypt including fresh fruits such as strawberries, guavas and vegetables including sweet potatoes
  • More than 4,000 tonnes of food from India including fresh vegetables and fruits
  • More than 2,500 tonnes of food from Kenya including fresh fruits such as pineapples and mangoes and meat
  • Close to 1,600 tonnes of salmon from Norway
  • Over 4,500 tonnes of food from Pakistan including chilled meat, fish and vegetables


—————  April 29, 4:26pm BST —————————————–

Munich Airport has reported that it is becoming increasingly important for the transportation of relief supplies and personal protective equipment as the global fight against Covid-19 continues.

The hub noted that “there is an emphasis on the transportation of medical supplies” and gave examples of such flights.

Lufthansa will continue to operate flights to Munich from China, via Seoul, twice daily utilising Airbus A350 aircraft until mid-May.

Qatar Airways is operating a daily cargo service from Doha to Munich, utilising Boeing 777 aircraft, until the end of May, .

On behalf of logistics firm DB Schenker, Icelandair is operating a daily service from Shanghai utilising converted Boeing 767 aircraft.

Until June, Uzbekistan Airways will continue operating a Boeing 767F service carrying medical supplies from the Chinese port city of Tianjin to Munich, twice a week, organised by the shipping company Senator International.


—————  April 29, 3:48pm BST —————————————–

In recent weeks, Worldwide Flight Services’ (WFS) cargo handling team in Copenhagen has processed around 350 tonnes of medical cargo (pictured) onboard 15 flights — a combination of both freighter charters and cargo-only passenger flights.

The cargo was flown in from China on flights operated by Singapore Airlines, Etihad Airways and Star Air. Aircraft included Antonov-124, Boeing 777 and 747 freighters, as well as Boeing 767 and 777 and Airbus A350 passenger aircraft.

A number of the cargo flights flying into Denmark were part of the Maersk Bridge operation, which is coordinated by AP Moller Holding with support from AP Moller – Maersk, and involves PPE being sourced in China and transported for use in hospitals in Denmark.

Jimi Daniel Hansen, general manager of WFS – Copenhagen, said: “We are ready to provide all of the support necessary to ensure the cargo on these special flights reaches medical professionals in Denmark quickly and supports their outstanding work helping patients recovering from the coronavirus. We are especially proud to be helping the fantastic Maersk Bridge operation and will continue to meet any more special requests for additional cargo services.”

WFS expects to handle another 200 tonnes of PPE in the next two weeks.


—————  April 29, 2:48pm BST —————————————–

In the wake of the coronavirus pandemic, Saudia Cargo has carried its highest payload in its history: 65.3 tonnes of essential food supplies flown from Lahore in Pakistan to Riyadh in Saudi Arabia, in the bellyhold of a Boeing 777 passenger aircraft.

Since March 23, Saudia Cargo has expanded its airfreight capacity by operating more than 35 cargo-only flights each week utilising its passenger planes.

Chief executive Omar Hariri commented: “Saudia Cargo is committed to serving its customers and in less than a week after the airline grounded the passenger fleet due to the Covid-19 crisis, many of the aircraft were back in the air serving as cargo only flights.

“With reduced cargo capacity, it is more important than ever to maximize available cargo space to be able to serve the need for essential food, personal protective equipment (PPE), medical and pharmaceutical supplies.”

—————  April 29, 12:43pm BST —————————————–

In an operational update, Oman Air said it had flown a total of five round-trip flights to the Indian cities of Mumbai and Kochi to bring fresh fruits and vegetables to Oman, along with three round-trip flights to Guangzhou, China to collect medical supplies for the Royal Oman Police, Ministry of Health and commercial customers.

The flights, using passenger planes’ cargo capacity, have delivered over 190,000 kg of food and supplies to Oman.


—————  April 29, 11:50am BST —————————————–

SEKO Logistics and Alexandra Workwear have supported the donation 380,000 medical items — including personal protective equipment (PPE), including protective gloves, face masks and aprons — for frontline staff working at The Orders of St John Care Trust, a British care home group.

Graham Ward, group forwarding director at SEKO Logistics, commented: “St John Care Trust approached Alexandra for support with PPE and we wanted to respond to this too with both a financial donation, as well as logistical expertise to ensure equipment reached the Trust’s care homes as quickly as possible.

“The staff in these homes are doing an outstanding job caring for people in the later stages of their lives and who are separated from their families during the current coronavirus lockdown. We hope this equipment will support the care they are receiving.”

Martin Lyne, managing director of Alexandra Workwear, added: “Alexandra is delighted to have teamed up with SEKO and their group initiative in support of this critical need.

“As an essential supplier of healthcare uniforms, Alexandra has remained fully focussed on assuring the continuity of supply for frontline healthcare workers during the crisis.”

—————  April 29, 11:19am BST —————————————–

As part of the global fight against the coronavirus, FedEx Express is providing shipping as part of its ‘FedEx Cares, Delivering for Good’ initiative. FedEx’s efforts in this initiative include:

● Collaborating with Direct Relief to transport surgical masks and face shields from China to the US, Mexico, Ecuador and Peru.

● Teaming up with Heart to Heart International to deliver 170,000 surgical masks from China to the US.

● Donating free shipping services to Direct Relief, International Medical Corps, Heart to Heart International, and other nonprofit organisations to transport humanitarian aid.

Since the outbreak, FedEx has shipped essential medical cargo — such as masks and PPE — and humanitarian aid weighing more than 175 tonnes. The supplies included more than 4,449,230 masks, and more than a million pieces of personal protective equipment such as gowns and gloves.

FedEx has also been providing continuous support to its customers in the Asia Pacific region, as production resumes in China.

Karen Reddington, president, Asia Pacific, FedEx Express, explained: “At FedEx, we have been supporting essential and critical medical shipments to and from impacted areas since the Covid-19 outbreak began while adhering to local conditions and guidelines.

“As restrictions lift and China looks forward to return to normalcy, we are helping businesses and supply chains, facilitating trade and lifting local economies.”


—————  April 28, 11:37am BST —————————————–

SWISS has conducted a total of seven charter cargo flights from Shanghai (China) to Switzerland on behalf of the Swiss Red Cross.

The flights, which brought medical equipment and testing materials to Switzerland, were performed with the close support of the company’s Swiss WorldCargo division.

In total, the flights brought in over 20m protective face masks and 300 000 protective overalls. The flights were performed with Airbus A340 and Boeing 777 aircraft. To make maximum use of the space available, the cargo was carried not only in the hold but also in the passenger cabin.


—————  April 28, 11:28am BST —————————————–

SkyCell, KLM and UPS recently teamed up on behalf of an American pharma company’s vaccines division to transport potentially life-saving vaccines from Japan to Frankfurt.

The Covid-19 pandemic has dramatically increased the global demand for pneumococcal vaccines, which prevent against a potentially life-threatening complication of the virus.

The German Federal Ministry of Health (FMH) recently officially announced a shortage of pneumococcal vaccines and under these special circumstances, a short-notice import from third-countries was permitted.

The vaccine manufacturer acted immediately and coordinated with its cross-divisional team to repurpose 326,000 vaccine doses stocked in Japan. The challenge was to ensure the product was delivered within regulatory compliance while maintaining time and temperature requirements to ensure efficacy, to ensure immediate product release to patients.

The first patients received the vaccination within days after the vaccine shortage was announced. The SkyCell containers secured the products at a constant 4.6 degrees Celsius to ensure their safe arrival in Frankfurt.


—————  April 28, 10:55am BST —————————————–

A second cargo flight carrying much-needed medical supplies for the Federal Emergency Management Agency touched down at Pittsburgh International Airport, as shippers look to respond to the need for medical supplies in US during the Covid-19 pandemic.

The first National Airlines plane arrived Saturday from South Korea after a brief stop in Anchorage, Alaska. The repurposed passenger Boeing 757 jet carried nearly 150,000 N95 masks, which were offloaded and placed onto a truck just over an hour after landing.

The masks will be distributed through the federal government nationally to hospitals, nursing homes and other high-risk facilities. The second flight arrived Monday morning.

Airline officials said their fleet of cargo Boeing 747s have completed numerous flights in recent weeks, bringing supplies to destinations across North America. With the current high demand, they also dispatched their passenger Boeing 757s to carry critical cargo to the US.

Cargo has increasingly become part of Pittsburgh International Airport’s business plan as officials look to build the airport into an international logistics center

Plans for cargo expansion at Pittsburgh International received a major boost last year when the US Department of Transportation announced an $18.7m grant to support the construction of a 75,000 sq ft cargo processing facility and an adjacent surface parking lot to expand air cargo operations.


—————  April 28, 9:49am BST —————————————–

Logistics firm Dimerco Express has supported the donation of 80,000 personal protective equipment (PPE) masks from China to help combat the Covid-19 epidemic in Italy, assisting donors in collecting the masks from across China and successfully coordinating delivery of the PPE safely to its destination in Italy.

The masks, which were gathered in China by donors, including anti-epidemic volunteers and the parents of overseas students, have arrived in five towns in Sicily and Sardinia, in the south of Italy.

The team at Dimerco Zhongjing International Express, a subsidiary of Dimerco Express Group, provided the integrated logistics solution, coordinating with its strategic partner in Italy to guarantee on-time delivery to the Italian government.


—————  April 27, 5:18pm BST —————————————–

American Airlines Cargo is operating a twice-weekly cargo-only service between Amsterdam (AMS) and Dallas/Fort Worth (DFW), utilising Boeing 777-300ER aircraft.

Without passengers onboard, the aircraft can carry approximately 54,000 kilograms of cargo in the bellyhold.

American’s flights from AMS carry essential telecommunications equipment and electronics, vital for keeping the world connected and informed during the coronavirus pandemic.

In addition, across American’s cargo network, life-saving medical supplies, personal protective equipment and pharmaceuticals are being transported to support the global coronavirus relief effort, as well as essential goods including manufacturing and automotive equipment, mail, fresh fruit, vegetables and fish.

Tim Isik, director of cargo sales – Europe, Middle East and Africa, commented: “Amsterdam’s Schiphol Airport is an important European cargo hub.

“American’s new cargo-only service between Amsterdam and our biggest hub in the United States, Dallas/ Fort Worth, enables us to transport essential communications equipment to connect communities, and to keep the economies of the Netherlands and the United States moving.”

American is also expanding its cargo-only service to multiple destinations including DFW and Dublin (DUB); between New York (JFK) and London Heathrow (LHR), and between Miami (MIA) and Buenos Aires (EZE).


—————  April 27, 2:22pm BST —————————————–

Network Aviation Group, working together with Allied Air Cargo, Scan Global Logistics and various UN organisations, has successfully delivered vital emergency supplies into Abuja to help Nigeria beat the Covid-19 pandemic crisis.

Almost 50 tons of lifesaving cargo was recently flown on B747-400F aircraft, including equipment such as testing kits, breathing ventilators and personal protective equipment (PPE).

These vital supplies will support health workers and families to prevent and respond to the escalating coronavirus pandemic in affected states across Nigeria.

This flight is one of many that Network Aviation Group are deploying daily to the African continent, with tons more vital equipment to be despatched in the coming days.

—————  April 27, 12:14am BST —————————————–

Digital airfreight charter platform CharterSync, on March 30, coordinated the movement of an Antonov-124 aircraft to Italy, which carried millions of face masks and medical supplies from China.

This flight was the first of a number of charters that CharterSync coordinated on behalf of the Italian government.

Commenting on the relief effort, CharterSync’s customer, Modus Operations, acting on behalf of the Italian government, explained: “From the start the CharterSync team worked tirelessly to secure the fastest charter solutions available to us. Using our technology combined with our expert operations team, we knew we could rely on them to deliver the best options in the market”.

Ed Gillett, co-founder of CharterSync, added: “As a young company, our ability to quickly adapt in a changing market has worked in our favour. We have been able to enter the oversized market quickly and find solutions for governments worldwide when they are needed most.”

—————  April 27, 11:28am BST —————————————–

As the coronavirus cargo capacity crunch continues, All Nippon Airways (ANA) has become the latest airline to operate cargo-only flights utilising passenger aircraft — and the first Japanese airline to carry cargo in the overhead bins.

ANA announced that it is operating flights carrying vital medical supplies, such as masks, hazmat suits and test kits, on passenger seats and in the overhead bins.

By utilising the cabin space to carry cargo, ANA said it can transport approximately 1.4 times more cargo, compared with only using bellyhold capacity.

Toshiaki Toyama, president of ANA Cargo Inc and executive vice president of ANA, commented: “ANA is honored to help relief efforts in Japan and help deliver these vital medical supplies. We are excited to use ANA Group’s resources in a creative way to deliver goods to people in need.”

ANA has been operating cargo-only passenger aircraft flights since April 10. It also operated 86 charter freighter flights in March and expects to have run 297 by the end of April.


—————  April 24, 5:24pm BST —————————————–

British Airways is increasing its cargo-only flights from China to the UK, from 13 to 21 per week.

The flights will be operated in partnership with the UK Government and British Airways parent company IAG Cargo. The British Embassy in China is working with the Department of Health to procure medical equipment from China and deliver it to NHS hospitals all over the UK.

The flights, which will depart form Shanghai and Beijing, will carry up to 770 tonnes of cargo — including PPE and ventilators — in the hold and, where possible, in the cabin too.

Alex Cruz, British Airways chairman and chief executive, said: “As an airline we are in a unique position to help in the global response to Covid-19, whether it is through carrying UK residents back home, transporting vital cargo back to the NHS, or through our colleagues who are offering their skills to volunteer. We’re proud to be playing our part, and I’m grateful to everyone who is working to make these flights happen.”


—————  April 24, 4:37pm BST —————————————–

From May 6, Virgin Atlantic will relaunch scheduled cargo-only flights from London to Tel Aviv.

The twice-weekly overnight services, utilising Virgin Atlantic’s Boeing 787-9 aircraft, will offer up to 35 tonnes of bellyhold cargo capacity.

The flights’ early morning arrival at London Heathrow will enable cargo customers to same-day transfers for shipments to and from New York JFK, Los Angeles, Hong Kong, Shanghai and Johannesburg.

Dominic Kennedy, managing director of Virgin Atlantic Cargo, said: “We are getting great support from our customers for our cargo-only scheduled services and charters and we’re constantly looking at opportunities to help them get the capacity they need.

“Restarting cargo-only services to Tel Aviv is another positive step for our cargo business and our customers and follows the resumption of our Shanghai flights earlier this month. Prior to the outbreak of Covid-19, our share of the Tel Aviv market was growing ahead of our expectations and, combined with the connections we can offer, we expect to see positive demand once again, especially to and from the US, Israel’s biggest trading partner.”


—————  April 24, 4:24pm BST —————————————–

Air Menzies International has has teamed up with United Airlines to charter a Boeing 787 on a Los Angeles—Sydney route, each Sunday until the end of May. The Sunday flights will operate in addition to the Saturday Los Angeles—Sydney service.

Richard Marquez, head of sales and business development, Americas, at Air Menzies International, said: “There remains a considerable demand to keep this key trade lane moving and we tried something different in response to our business challenges brought on by Covid-19.

“Our road feeder service has proved invaluable and allowed us to connect with freight forwarders across the US. It’s proving to be successful and we fully intend to continue providing solutions to our customers and the market in general.”

AMI has also been asked to join a new network of 15 airfreight service providers and freight forwarders, established by the Australian Government, to accelerate the delivery of agricultural and fish produce into key overseas markets.


—————  April 24, 4:00pm BST —————————————–

In the first three weeks of April, DHL Global Forwarding South Korea transported more than 1.3m Covid-19 test kits to Brazil, Ecuador, India, Lithuania, Poland, and Russia.

South Korea has seen demand from more than 110 countries for its test kits with analysts in Seoul estimating global demand to come in at about 700,000 a day.Producing 1m units a week, the country is currently one of the world’s biggest manufacturers of Covid-19 test kits.

SP Song, managing director, DHL Global Forwarding Korea, said: “In addition to test kits, we have also been sending personal protective equipment such as facial masks and protective suits.

“South Korea has also been identified as a key supplier of PPE to India, and these products are equally needed in countries where the virus is still virulent. We are trying to do our part to support the global community and the frontline workers in combating this epidemic.”

—————  April 24, 3:44pm BST —————————————–

Delta Cargo has announced that it has gained approval from the US Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) to transport cargo in the overhead bins of its widebody aircraft.

Delta said that by using the overhead bin space for cargo, it will be able to maximise capacity on its cargo-only charters to better meet customer demand.

Earlier this month, Delta began operating cargo-only flights utilising passenger aircraft to transport essential goods and medical supplies, among other items.

Shawn Cole, vice president of Delta Cargo, commented: “We thank the FAA for their cooperation in allowing us to increase our cargo capacity. This really has been a joint effort across our business and will enable us to utilize the overhead bin space to move even more vital medical and protective equipment on each flight for the Covid-19 pandemic efforts.”

Delta will continue to explore solutions for cargo-only transport, including options to carry more goods in the passenger cabin by utilizing and removing seats.


—————  April 24, 1:10pm BST —————————————–

Upcargo has coordinated the transportation of 182,000 Covid-19 testing kits, which were carried on a Legacy 600 aircraft in Panama.

The testing kits, which had to be transported at -20°c, were distributed to six countries in the Central American and Caribbean regions.

An Upcargo spokesperson explained: “Panama’s ‘logistics humanitarian hub’ is working day and night to give Panama and all countries in the Latin American region access to the greatest number of medical supplies and food during this time of crisis.

“On April 6, the quick coordination for the one-day reception and dispatch of the Legacy 600 aircraft from the Honduran Air Force was done in coordination with the Central American Bank for Economic Integration (BCIE), the Governments of Honduras and Panama, and Upcargo Logistics.”

“All Upcargo management and staff are proud to be able to contribute their grain of expertise in coordinating humanitarian shipments like these as they are so important to the lives of many Latin Americans.”

—————  April 23, 2:14pm BST —————————————–

Etihad Cargo has partnered with the Australian Government to provide critical international airfreight assistance to Australia. Under an agreement with the Australian Trade and Investment Commission (Austrade), Etihad Cargo will provide dedicated cargo services between Abu Dhabi and Australia.

The carrier will utilise the bellyhold capacity of its fleet of Etihad Airways passenger aircraft to deliver essential supplies into the Australian market, and facilitate bi-directional trade to further ensure continuity of fresh imports to the UAE from Australia including meat, fish and seafood, fruits, and vegetables.

The initiative has been established by the Australian Government to accelerate delivery of agricultural and fisheries exports into key overseas markets, with over 560 Australian businesses already registering their interest in utilising the International Freight Assistance Mechanism.

Federal Trade Minister Simon Birmingham said: “Around 90% of our airfreight, usually goes out in the bellies of passenger aircraft. With very few international passenger flights leaving Australia at present, our exporters are facing major hurdles.

“Through the better coordination of freight out of Australia, we can restore key freight routes and establish more frequent flights to our key markets so our agricultural and fisheries exporters can deliver their products to customers on time.

“We’ve moved quickly to establish this network and are now getting on with the job of supporting our exporters to get their products flowing again. With a network of some of the world’s largest airlines and most reputable freight forwarders in place, we’re injecting more reliability into the system that will also help our smaller exporters to aggregate their freight into volumes so they don’t miss out on export opportunities.”


—————  April 23, 10:38pm BST —————————————–

Munich Airport has issued a summary of its current cargo activity. The German hub said that Qatar Airways has increased its Munich operation to 11 cargo flights per week, Lufthansa Cargo is operating daily flights to Shanghai and Beijing using A350s and Uzbekistan Airways has started a twice a week B767F charter operation on behalf of Senator International.


—————  April 23, 6:20am BST —————————————–

Qatar Airways Cargo has partnered with the Australian Government to restore critical global supply chains through the International Freight Assistance Mechanism (IFAM).

The IFAM is an initiative by the Australian Government that has been launched to help restorecritical global supply chains for high-value Australian agricultural and fisheries producers, which have been heavily impacted by Covid-19 containment measures around the world.

Through this initiative, the Australian Government is partially offsetting the cost of airfreight – reducing airfreight and freight forwarding costs for exporters and ensuring businesses and exporters in the country can swiftly transport their produce on flights and to international customers.

Qatar Airways Cargo will offer block space capacity and charters for Australian exports like seafood, meat, dairy and horticulture such as premium fruits, packaged salads and vegetables on flights from Melbourne, Sydney and Perth with more departure points to be added based on demand and freight optimisation. For other Australian destinations like Brisbane and Adelaide, trucking options are available to the online points.

The exports will be transported on Qatar Airways network to the Middle East including Qatar and many destinations in Europe. On the import side, the flights will bring in medicines, medical supplies and equipment to support Australia’s fight against Covid-19.

The carrier currently operates two Boeing 777 freighters, nine Boeing 777 freight-only passenger flights and 18 Airbus A350 belly-hold cargo flights each week to and from Australia, offering a combined cargo capacity of more than 750 tonnes each way.


—————  April 22, 4:18pm BST —————————————–

On behalf of Geneva University Hospital (HUG) and the Canton of Geneva, SWISS transported medical supplies from China to Switzerland, supported by its Swiss WorldCargo airfreight division. This operation was conducted in collaboration with Swiss Centers China. It was SWISS’s first cargo-only flight to Geneva.

The Boeing 777 carried syringes and several million surgical masks. The supplies were transported in the aircraft’s cargo hold and passenger cabin. The flight from Shanghai landed at Geneva airport at 7:45pm on 21 April.

To date, SWISS has already operated approximately 30 cargo flights from Shanghai, Beijing and Hong Kong to Switzerland. Further cargo flights to and from China and other countries are being planned to ensure the functioning of supply chains between Switzerland and the world.


—————  April 22, 2:54pm BST —————————————–

On April 18, the first commercial flight operated on Air Canada’s newly-remodeled Boeing 777-300ER aircraft, transporting 20 tonnes of masks in its cabin, as well as other PPE supplies like gowns in its cargo hold.

In all, the aircraft carried approximately 29,491 kg of cargo, including more than 1,000 boxes of supplies like masks in the cabin. 

“It is an amazing testimony to employees throughout all of Air Canada that we have gone from a conceptual idea two weeks ago, to converting a Boeing 777 for cargo,” said Tim Strauss, vice president of cargo.  “This includes the regulatory oversight of Transport Canada, the engineering work of Avianor and the incredible work of the Air Canada Maintenance organisation to ready the aircraft, as well as developing procedures and training for the operational and safety aspects of the newly converted aircraft.”

A cross-sectional team including employees from Air Canada’s Airport, Cabin and Cargo groups took a little over an hour to unload the boxes from the cabin, using high lifts, gravity loaders and a PTV (passenger transport vehicle) supplied by Aéroport de Montréal.

Strauss added: “We now have three of the Boeing 777C aircraft in the new configuration and flying active routes and will add more aircraft to this fleet in the coming weeks.”

Air Canada B777

Air Canada B777


—————  April 22, 12:10pm BST —————————————–

CEVA Logistics has been selected by General Motors (GM) to manage its ventilator production supply chain.

Under GM’s contract with the US Department of Health and Human Services, CEVA Logistics will be responsible for delivering the parts that will be used in the making of Ventec Life Systems V+Pro critical care ventilators at General Motors’ factory in Indiana, US.

CEVA Logistics chief executive, Mathieu Friedberg, commented: “CEVA Logistics is proud to support the production of this critically important equipment that will save lives and support healthcare professionals throughout the US. Being entrusted with this role by General Motors in the current crisis is a tremendous proof of our reliability and expertise.

“We have ensured on-time deliveries from multiple locations around the world in record time with tracking of all transportation milestones so that these vital ventilators can be produced as quickly as possible and start saving lives across the US”.

—————  April 22, 9:30am BST —————————————–

As part of ongoing fight against Covid-19, Ethiopian Airlines has shipped more essential medical cargo — for the second time — donated by Jack Ma, to various destinations in Africa. 

Ethiopian Airlines group chief executive, Tewolde GebreMariam, commented: “It is a special honour for the entire Ethiopian Airlines family to be selected as the logistics partner and distribution hub for Africa by the Jack Ma foundation, our Prime Minster, WFP [World Food Programme] and the African CDC.”

The carrier also said in a statement: “As a truly and indigenous pan African airline which has been serving Africa by Africans, there is nothing more pleasing for the 17,000 strong work force at Ethiopian Airlines than coming to the rescue of our African people specially in delivering lifesaving Covid-19 medical supplies.”

Thanks to Ethiopian Cargo’s dedicated staff and capable fleet, Addis Abba Airport was recently designated the established capacity of Ethiopian Cargo & Logistics Services in terms of dedicated staff, state-of-the art facilities and young fleet, Addis Ababa has recently been designated as Humanitarian Air Hub by the WFP and WHO to dispatch critical supplies across Africa.

—————  April 21, 3:32pm BST —————————————–

Qatar Airways Cargo has released its latest operational update, which says it is running almost 100 flights per day. During the past month the cargo operator said it had worked closely with governments and NGOs to transport over 70,000 tonnes of medical and aid supplies to impacted regions around the world on both scheduled and charter services — the equivalent of roughly 500 fully loaded Boeing 777 freighters.

To continue to fulfil demand the carrier’s cargo division is also utilising passenger aircraft to carry freight-only to destinations in China, Europe, India and the Middle East.


—————  April 21, 3:02pm BST —————————————–

Virgin Atlantic Cargo has become the first British airline to resume scheduled services to China, operating three flights a week from Heathrow Airport to Shanghai.

The cargo capacity on two of the three times weekly Boeing 787-9 flights from China will be used exclusively by the UK Department of Health and Social Care to increase deliveries of Personal Protective Equipment and medical supplies for front-line NHS staff.

Virgin Atlantic has so far completed five flights from Shanghai for the NHS, with its Boeing 787-9 services having already delivered 80 tonnes of cargo consisting of 3.5m items of personal protective equipment, including 50 ventilators, 1.8m face masks, 600,000 face shields and visors, 1m disposable gloves, 38,000 items for eye protection, and 75,000 protective coveralls and isolation gowns.


—————  April 21, 1:52pm BST —————————————–

Logistics firm GEFCO, has transported 30 tonnes of medical equipment for a multinational healthcare provider, including Covid-19 testing kits, from France to destinations in Algeria, Tunisia and the Antilles to support hospitals and private laboratories with increased demand.

GEFCO’s air and sea team has been managing the shipments on a week-by-week basis throughout the critical pandemic period. This has required a number of challenges to be navigated including the closure of Paris Orly Airport, which required the team to transfer all activity to Charles de Gaulle Airport.

This project is one of several recent time-critical shipments in the pharmaceuticals space for GEFCO, including delivery of a large shipment of medical supplies on special charter flights from Shanghai to Bratislava to help PENTA tackle Covid-19 in Slovakia and the Czech Republic.


—————  April 21, 12:59pm BST —————————————–

Freight forwarder Delmar International will uplift more than 25m units of personal protective equipment (PPE) this month from China to healthcare networks across Canada and over 60m globally. These ongoing efforts are being accomplished with the close collaboration and support of Delmar’s global clients and our Canadian national airline partners at Air Canada.

Delmar has been working with Air Canada, both in China and Canada, to co-ordinate origin vendor orders, satisfy export customs clearance, palletize, prepare mass quantities of cargo and deploy security measures to ensure all PPE was safeguarded and in secure premises.

Delmar will continue to operate charters and have significant allocations of fixed capacity on Air Canada’s daily Shanghai routes.


—————  April 21, 10:17am BST —————————————–

Munich Airport has highlighted that Lufthansa is currently operating two daily flights carrying protective equipment from China to Munich Airport with Airbus A350 long-range jetliners.

The special daily cargo flights from Beijing and Shanghai are mainly loaded with masks urgently needed in the Bavarian capital. Employees of Munich Airport’s ground handling subsidiary AeroGround are unloading the arriving aircraft. The cargo is then transported to its final destinations by freight forwarding companies contracted by the federal government.

Lufthansa is operating the cargo flights to Munich with four Airbus A350 passenger aircraft and is flying similar missions with six Airbus A330 planes based in Frankfurt. With these 10 passenger airliners, Lufthansa has created additional airfreight capacity and expanded the Lufthansa Cargo fleet, which has 17 freight-only aircraft.  The daily cargo flights with the passenger jets are expected to continue at least until mid-May.

—————  April 21, 09:56am BST —————————————–

Virgin Atlantic has delivered 3.5m items of personal protective equipment (PPE) in to the UK onboard special cargo-only flights which have been chartered by the Department of Health and Social Care and the NHS (the UK’s health service).

Today, the airline is operating another 26-hour round trip between London Heathrow and Shanghai, with flight VS251 arriving from China this afternoon. Stowed on board are tonnes of crucial medical supplies and PPE, in the cargo hold of the Boeing 787-9 aircraft, and also on the seats in the cabin, following special dispensation from the CAA.

Manned by seven pilots and four cabin crew, who rotate duties and rest time, each flight carries an average of 16 tonnes of essential items.

Since the first charter on April 3, which was supported by Virgin Unite and Virgin Group, over 80 tonnes of medical supplies and PPE have been transported, including 50 ventilators, 1.8m face masks, 600,000 face shields and visors, 1m disposable gloves, 38,000 items for eye protection, and 75,000 protective coveralls and isolation gowns.


—————  April 21, 09:23am BST —————————————–

Ethiopian Cargo has highlighted the role of the Pharma Wing of Ethiopian Cargo & Logistics Services, which is housed within the largest transhipment terminal in Africa, and has played in the airline’s handling and shipping of medical supplies across Africa and beyond.

The airline said that the facility is equipped with temperature-controlled pharma handling storage covering an area of 54,000 sq m and is suitable for handling medical supplies in different temperature ranges through the use of active containers and real-time temperature monitoring system.

“Dedicated and trained staff stationed at the facility ensure that all operations are carried out in line with the rules and regulations of IATA and other regulatory bodies throughout the supply chain,” the carrier said.


—————  April 20, 5:00pm BST —————————————–

Today, UPS announced that it is operating flights to transport 1.7m face masks made by textiles producer SanMar.

SanMar has converted its clothing production facilities in Honduras and Tennessee to increase its protective mask production and distribution. The company then reached out to UPS for it to provide supply chain and global shipping services for each phase of the collaboration.

Kate Gutmann, UPS chief sales and solutions officer, commented: “SanMar’s leadership is the perfect example of the speed and determination required to protect people on the front lines. We are honored to be part of their mission.”

The masks will be shipped via UPS on pallets and then repackaged to the correct quantities for distribution by UPS’s small package division to healthcare providers around the US.

Additionally, the UPS Foundation has announced that it will provide $15m in funding for non-profit organisations around the world with a particular focus on those based in the US. The funding will help communities affected by Covid-19 and will also support non-profit businesses in their fight against the virus.

Grants provided by the UPS Foundation include initial $1m directed toward urgent and immediate relief in the US, such as delivering essential healthcare supplies, providing essential food, supporting education and sustaining financial security.

Eduardo Martinez, president of the UPS Foundation and UPS chief diversity and inclusion officer, explained: “We are addressing the needs of non-profits who need our support now more than ever. Communities rely on UPS to deliver life-saving supplies and vital necessities. By tapping into the power of the UPS Foundation, along with the incredible strength of UPSers working every day to sustain our communities and support our neighbours.”


—————  April 20, 3:00pm BST —————————————–

Glasgow Prestwick Airport has announced that at the weekend (April 18) it welcomed a freighter flight from China that was carrying essential medical cargo and personal protective equipment (PPE) for healthcare workers on the frontline fighting against Covid-19.

Cargo on the flight, which was operated by AirBridgeCargo and freight forwarder JAG-UFS Group, was handled and distributed within a few hours of the plane touching down.

Stewart Adams, chief executive at Glasgow Prestwick Airport, commented: “While the Coronavirus pandemic has meant the vast majority of commercial aircraft has been grounded, we’re continuing to operate our specialist freight-handling services in order to play an important part in supporting Scotland’s key workers during this difficult time. The PPE which we are receiving from China will be processed quickly so that this vital delivery can make its way to those who need it most, as soon as possible.”

—————  April 20, 2:00pm BST —————————————–

United Cargo has operated more than 400 cargo-only flights utilising passenger Boeing 777 and 787 aircraft since March 19. These flights have carried more than 6m kg of cargo to destinations in the US and internationally.

“We are now operating more than 150 cargo-only flights per week between six of our US hubs and 13 cities worldwide,” the carrier explained in a statement.

United Cargo President Jan Krems, added: “With the global community in need, we are doing everything we can to keep supply chains moving worldwide and support the battle against Covid-19.

“We’re proud to play an active role in connecting vital medical supplies like test kits and personal protective equipment with healthcare professionals around the world.”

United Airlines has also introduced a cargo service three-times-per-week between Dublin and its Washington/Dulles hub. The flights will carry a range of supplies including general cargo and temperature-controlled goods, as well as pharmaceuticals and medical supplies manufactured by Ireland-based companies.

Liz Woolmington, senior regional manager – Europe, Middle East, Africa and India, at United Cargo, explained: “Connecting products to people around the world is the United Cargo mission and that role has never been more crucial than during the current crisis.”

—————  April 20, 12:00pm BST —————————————–

As the coronavirus pandemic continues to disrupt the aviation sector, LATAM Cargo has introduced a contingency plan in Peru that is enabling it to transport essential goods more efficiently across the Latin America region.

Since the pandemic started, the carrier has transported 51 tonnes of food to various cities in Peru, including Iquitos City, which is difficult to reach by road or river. The two freighter flights to this remote city have allowed inhabitants there to receive a constant supply of food, despite the virus crisis.

LATAM Cargo has also managed to transport 14 tonnes of essential medical cargo for distribution at hospitals and laboratories in various Peruvian regions.

Manuel van Oordt, chief executive of LATAM Airlines Peru, explained: “All those of us who are part of LATAM Group are proud of the efforts we have made during this crisis. We are aware of the key role we play in delivering essential goods to Peruvians, and we will continue working to provide more solutions that allow the world to keep dreaming”.

—————  April 17, 4:45pm BST —————————————–

UPS has added more than 200 of its own and chartered freighter flights this month to support the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s (FEMA) Project Airbridge and other healthcare-related missions.

The flights will help the US to meet the increased demand for coronavirus testing kits, personal protective equipment and other essential medical supplies.

David Abney, UPS chairman and chief executive, commented: “With our scale and flexible global network, we are in a unique position to handle Coronavirus response shipments for FEMA and healthcare customers.

“In these uncertain times, our customers depend on us more than ever. Our employees are keeping America moving and meeting the urgent needs created by the pandemic. We will continue to serve and do our part to lead in the fight against Covid-19.”

—————  April 17, 3:30pm BST —————————————–

DHL Express has transported 100,000 medical face masks from China to the UK’s East Midlands Airport to support the crowdfunded campaign ‘Masks for NHS Heroes’, which provides frontline NHS workers and patients with masks. 

The campaign to source personal protective equipment for frontline NHS staff has so far raised £1.8m, including notable celebrity donations such as £275,000 from actor James McAvoy.

—————  April 17, 10:11am BST —————————————–

This week, IAG Cargo and British Airways transported an essential delivery of personal protective equipment (PPE) to Heathrow for the NHS using British Airways’ first fully optimised cabin.

“IAG Cargo and British Airways work together to expand aircraft cargo capacity with use of passenger cabins, as seen in this shipment of essential PPE equipment for the NHS which landed in the UK this week,” the cargo business said.


—————  April 16, 6:00pm BST —————————————–

Hong Kong Air Cargo Terminals (Hactl) has announced the precautionary measures it is taking to protect its staff from the novel coronavirus.

The cargo handler has installed thermal cameras at its terminal to help identify staff members with an abnormally high body temperature — a key symptom of Covid-19.

In addition, Hactl is carrying out temperature checks for all staff during their shifts or, in the case of office staff, after their lunch breaks.

Staff and visitors of the SuperTerminal 1 facility are also temperature-checked before being allowed access to the building.

In its canteen, Hactl has restricted the number of seats to comply with distancing directives; only seats facing in the same direction are now available. The canteen is now only for the use of staff based at SuperTerminal 1 to sit in; all other staff are instructed to purchase takeaway food.

Hactl says its shift rosters are being constantly reviewed to minimize the number of staff on site at any one time and thereby reduce the risk of coronavirus being spread.


—————  April 16, 3:45pm BST —————————————–

Atlas Air Worldwide subsidiary, Atlas Air, has donated air transport to New York University (NYU) Langone Health for the movement of essential medical equipment.

On April 9, a flight was operated from Shanghai to New York City, and on April 13 another flight was operated from Shanghai to Chicago.

The Atlas Air-operated Boeing 747-400 freighters were filled with medical gowns, face shields and masks necessary to safeguard frontline responders dealing with the coronavirus pandemic.

Robert Grossman, managing director and chief executive of NYU Langone Health and dean of NYU Grossman School of Medicine, commented: “The Covid-19 pandemic has greatly impacted the accessibility of PPE for healthcare workers at NYU Langone Health, and across the world.

“We extend our heartfelt thanks to Atlas Air for their extraordinary generosity, and for their efforts to ensure that our community is well-equipped in our ongoing battle against COVID-19.”

Atlas Air Worldwide’s headquarters is located in the New York area and is served by NYU Langone.

—————  April 16, 2:10pm BST —————————————–

In its latest service updates, Emirates SkyCargo said that it operates flights to 51 destinations globally, out of which 19 cities are served by the Emirates SkyCargo Boeing 777 freighter aircraft and 38 destinations are served by dedicated cargo flights on Emirates’ Boeing 777 passenger aircraft offering up to 50 tonnes belly capacity. (For a full list of destination and schedules, visit the Emirates SkyCargo website).

London Heathrow airport is served by both Boeing 777-300ER “passenger freighters” and Boeing 777 freighters and is currently receiving four “passenger freighter” and two full freighter flights per week, as well as ad hoc charter flights.

Last week, Emirates moved 125 tonnes of urgent foodstuffs to Dubai. Also in the last week, Emirates have moved over 75 tonnes of pharmaceuticals and medicines from the UK to the United Arab Emirates, China, Pakistan, Australia and Japan.

Flights have also been transporting electronic and e-commerce goods from the UK. On imports, Emirates SkyCargo flights have been transporting essential supplies including fruit and vegetables and on April 14, a special charter flight flew in 100 tons of hand sanitisers and other commodities into London Heathrow. 

During the week ending 4 April 2020, Emirates SkyCargo had operated more than 160 flights on its freighter aircraft and close to 90 flights on its passenger aircraft. The following week, the air cargo carrier had operated close to 160 flights on its passenger aircraft.

Since the start of April, the carrier has executed more than 30 charter flights connecting over 20 global destinations. The main commodities transported on the charter flights are medical supplies including face masks, protective covers, sanitisers, equipment for hospitals in addition to pharmaceuticals, raw materials and spare parts.

—————  April 16, 09:28am BST —————————————–

Etihad has provided an update on its cargo operations. The airline said it is using 22 Boeing 787 Dreamliners and 777-300ER passenger aircraft, with five more ready for service, to complement its operational fleet of five 777-200F freighters. These aircraft are providing scheduled, special passenger and belly-hold cargo services to several destinations worldwide.

Since March 25, approximately 500 special passenger, freighter and cargo flights have been operated by the airline. These include passenger and belly-hold freight flights to Amsterdam, Bogota, Brussels, Dublin, Frankfurt, Jakarta, London Heathrow, Manila, Melbourne, Paris Charles de Gaulle, Seoul Incheon, Singapore, Tokyo Narita, Washington DC and Zurich, with other destinations planned.

Etihad Cargo is now operating up to 100 turnaround flights per week to 32 destinations on five continents. In addition to normal scheduled cargo services, special freighter and humanitarian flights have been flown to Addis Ababa, Amsterdam, Beijing, Bogota, Bucharest, Copenhagen, Chennai, Cochin, Dublin, Frankfurt, Jeddah, Johannesburg, Karachi, Khartoum, Kiev, Milan, Paris, Rome, Shanghai, Tbilisi, Wuhan, and Zagreb. More special flights will be introduced in the coming weeks. 

—————  April 15, 07:00pm BST —————————————–

Worldwide Flight Services (WFS) has launched a new emergency response cargo handling operation at Liege Airport following a request from the airport to help increase its capacity to accept more freighter flights carrying urgent medical equipment.

In response to the airport’s request, WFS opened the new station in just 72 hours by transferring experienced handling staff from its Brussels operations, as well as transferring equipment such as forklifts, pallets and a truck dock, from WFS stations in Belgium and the Netherlands.

WFS’ new emergency cargo handling station at Liege is located in a new airside warehouse space.

As one of Europe’s premier freighter hubs, Liege is acting as a central hub in the region for medical equipment and supplies arriving from China and other parts of the world.

WFS expects to handle up to 14 freighter flights per week during this emergency response phase of operations, which is currently expected to continue until the end of May. WFS will also provide handling services for outbound cargo shipments from Liege.

Craig Smyth, chief executive of WFS, commented: “I am extremely proud of everyone involved in this project and of the WFS team globally who are making such a vital contribution to the speed and efficiency of medical supply chains at a time when the world needs these more than ever before.”

Bert Selis, VP Commercial Cargo & Logistics at Liege Airport, added: “Liege Airport has played a vital role in the provisioning of personal protection equipment (PPE) since the outbreak of covid-19 in Europe.

“Additional aircraft movements and the huge growth in the volume of humanitarian goods led us to make this request to WFS for an immediate response to the market needs. This could only be done with the kind cooperation of AirBridgeCargo that has allowed their facility to be temporary used for this operation.

“We are grateful to WFS for accepting this challenge, which means we are now able to welcome cargo carried onboard ad-hoc charters and short term freighter operations in the temporary facility made available to them.”


—————  April 15, 13:08am BST —————————————–

Oman Air has completed 27 flights to eight different countries to return citizens home and supply the nation with food, commodities, medicine and medical equipment.

The airline said it had flown several cargo-only flights to China to collect medical supplies, along with a number of flights to India to bring food and commodities to Oman. 

Those flights will continue on an as-needed basis and Oman Air is prepared to conduct cargo-only flights to other destinations if the need arises.

—————  April 15, 11:00am BST —————————————–

On April 14, an Antonov Airlines AN-225 Mriya aircraft transported 100 tonnes medical supplies from Tianjin China Airport in China to Warsaw in Poland.

The aircraft flew to Warsaw, via Almaty Airport in Kazakhstan, carrying tests for laboratory analysis, medical masks and other protective equipment, with a total load of about 1000 cubed metres.

This flight, chartered by UK-based Chapman Freeborn, was the first that utilised an AN-225 that had had maintenance and modernisation performed by Antonov Company specialists.

The AN-225 Mriya had been fitted with a new Ukrainian engine remote control system, new Ukrainian liquid-crystal devices for the monitoring of the engines’ work, and new energy-saving modern LED lighting equipment.

Since the end of March, Antonov Airlines has carried more than 1,400 tons of cargo from China to different countries in Europe, Americas and the Middle East.

Vitaliy Shost, Antonov Airlines first deputy director, commented: “Planning and performing charter flights in the current difficult quarantine conditions imposed by many countries when there are restrictions applied for landing and crew rest permits, requires selfless dedication and commitment on the part of all airline staff.

“I would like to thank everyone who takes part in the setting up and arrangement of humanitarian flights from China and in particular those who were directly involved in the performance of the AN-225 flight to Warsaw.

“We extend our exceptional gratitude to our customer Chapman Freeborn and partners for their cooperation and the opportunity to jointly carry out such an important and necessary mission together.”

—————  April 15, 12:00pm BST —————————————–

MASKargo operated a flight from Shanghai in China to Malaysia yesterday, filled with almost 40 tonnes of medical equipment including masks and goggles.

Ibrahim Mohamed Salleh, MASkargo Chief Executive Officer, explained: “Recognising the gravity and impact of the Covid-19 pandemic countrywide, we are more committed to ensuring that all medical equipment is being delivered as needed.

“To accommodate the unusually high airfreight demand, we are innovating by using our passenger aircraft to carrying just cargo (P2C). To date, we have carried out 94 P2C flights since March 22 and more than 250 flights are being planned up to May 31.

“Our freighters have also been very busy fulfilling charter requests on top of the scheduled flights, hitting a very high utilization rate. We have completed four charters this month and have several more planned, made up of mostly medical equipment for frontline healthcare workers”.


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Established in 1983, Air Cargo News is the leading source of news, information, interviews, analyses and reports to the global airfreight industry. Our leading portfolio includes print, digital and events that give businesses in the airfreight industry the ability to connect with decision-makers in this sector.