SF Airlines resumes European flights for coronavirus shipments

By Damian Brett

China’s largest freighter operator SF Airlines has resumed flights to Frankfurt Hahn ahead of schedule in order to meet demand for medical supplies following the coronavirus outbreak.

The airline said that its Wuxi-Chongqing-Hahn-Wuxi service restarted on February 14 following the extended Chinese New Year holiday break.

“At present, the demand for the procurement and transportation of medical supplies in all parts of China is extremely urgent and the cross-border supply chain resource for transportation  is urgently needed,” the airline said.

“Medical supplies returned from Europe will be distributed throughout the country through the SF domestic air transport network.”

The airline said that the flights would also cater for exports of consumer electronics from China to Europe, helping brands in Suzhou, Wuxi and Changzhou resume work.

At the same time, it will also bring back parts and materials needed for Chinese domestic manufacturers, such as auto parts and textile machine tools.

News service Xinhua Net said that in total the airline has carried a total of 2,682 tonnes of medical and other emergency supplies between January 24 and February 19.

Efforts included 100 flights with 2,483 tonnes of emergency supplies to Wuhan.

SF Airlines said that capacity between China and Europe was currently lacking. This comes as passenger carriers have slashed services as passenger demand has plummeted.

Freighter operators are still flying, but reports suggest that capacity is tight for imports into China because of the amount of medical equipment being transported to the country.

There are also expected to be freighter capacity shortages on exports from China once production lines are fully back up and running.

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