IAG Cargo ends 2020 with its 1,000th charter flight

By Rachelle Harry

IAG Cargo ended last year with the completion of its 1,000th charter flight after having initially launched the services in March.

The celebrated flight was carried out with a Boeing 777-200 aircraft, loaded with e-commerce goods “reflecting the acceleration in growth of online retail”, from London Heathrow to Los Angeles.

IAG Cargo started operating charter flights in March last year to support the demand for airfreight capacity when most passenger flights (and bellyhold capacity) were grounded due to coronavirus-related travel restrictions.

The majority (around 750) of IAG Cargo’s 1000 charter flights transported thousands of tonnes of medical supplies to global destinations.

Other cargo carried on the flights included perishables such as cherries, from Chile to London, and industrial supplies such as mining equipment, from Finland to the US.

Meanwhile, IAG Cargo said the most popular ‘non-PPE’ route for its charter flights was between Hong Kong and São Paulo–Guarulhos, which is “an important route for electronics and e-commerce”. 

John Cheetham, chief commercial officer at IAG Cargo commented: “I’m extremely proud of the role IAG Cargo has played in transporting vital supplies to help the fight against Covid-19 and to keep the world’s cargo moving. We were committed to quickly providing solutions for our customers during these unprecedented circumstances. Charters have proved to be a popular solution, and we have seen increasing demand from customers and shippers for this tailored service.

“Early in 2020, to provide that much needed extra capacity to deliver the logistics programmes of our customers we converted a number of aircraft into ‘preighters,’ and more recently we have modified two further Iberia aircraft. These recent conversions are another example of our bespoke solutions for customers across the world.”

To date, the carrier’s most popular aircraft to be chartered for flights has been the Boeing 777-300, followed by the Airbus A330-300, and the Boeing 777-200 PAX-freighter.

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