Airfreight community continues to support Covid-19 relief efforts

More members of the airfreight community are coming together to support the fight global fight against Covid-19.

American Airlines is expanding its cargo-only operations this month to provide more than 5.5m pounds of capacity to transport critical goods between the US, Latin America, Europe and Asia.

The carrier has added flights from Dallas-Fort Worth (DFW) to Dublin and Hong Kong; flights between New York and London Heathrow (LHR); and flights between Miami (MIA) and Buenos Aires. The airline is also working towards adding cargo-only services to Shanghai and Seoul by the end of the month.

In addition to these services, American continues to carry cargo on all of its passenger flights. Internationally, the airline runs 17 weekly widebody aircraft flights, each with the capacity to move almost 2 million pounds of cargo per week. These passenger flights on widebody aircraft include a daily service between DFW and LHR, MIA and LHR, and three weekly flights between DFW and Tokyo Narita.

Rick Elieson, president of cargo and vice president of international operations, at American Airlines, commented: “The air cargo industry plays a critical role in pulling the world together in times of crisis, and it takes all of us to get the job done.

“With the expansion of American’s cargo-only flights, we have more capacity to bring critical medical supplies and protective gear to the areas that need it most. We also play a key role in transporting essential goods to keep the world’s economy moving.”

Meanwhile, over the course of three days this week, Worldwide Flight Services (WFS) handled more than 450 tonnes of medical supplies in Spain.

The cargo arrived on freighters and cargo-only passenger aircraft flights from Shanghai, Shenzhen, Doha, Moscow, Addis Ababa, Baku and Uzbekistan. Shipments included coronavirus testing kits, protective face masks, medical gowns and respirators.

In Barcelona, WFS provided immediate cargo handling for flights from China and Hong Kong, Moscow and Uzbekistan, offloading over 100 tonnes of equipment arriving onboard flights operated by Olympus Airways, Air China, AirBridgeCargo and Volga-Dnepr Airlines. In addition, WFS processed more than 280 tonnes of medical equipment in Madrid.

The flights were co-ordinated by Spain’s Ministry of Health and the country’s regional healthcare authorities.

In addition, WFS staff in Toulouse, France, also loaded a large quantity of facemasks onto an Airbus flight headed for Getafe in Spain, as part of a delivery of two million masks from Tianjin in China.

Humberto Castro, managing director of WFS Cargo Spain, commented: “The global demand for medical equipment means supplies are arriving from all over the world and our important role is to ensure this cargo reaches Spain’s brave and inspirational doctors and nurses as quickly as possible.

“Our teams have handled cargo arriving on Boeing 747, 757, 777 and 787 aircraft, as well as onboard An-124-100 and IL-76 freighters.”

In Germany, Leipzig/Halle Airport has noted an increase in the number of cargo charters it handles.

Most recently, a Boeing 787-900 Dreamliner of Chinese airline Juneyao Air landed at the airport transporting 650,000 FFP-2 protective masks from Shanghai to Germany on April 7.

PortGround, the ground handling subsidiary of Leipzig/Halle Airport, processed the flight and forwarded the urgently needed cargo to the German Armes Forces who took care of distributing the equipment for instance to nursing homes.

Prior to this, the team handled various other flights with protective equipment for both Germany and other European countries, e.g. an AirBridgeCargo Boeing 747 flight with around 2m masks for Berlin.

Additional flights – for instance with Antonov AN124 aircraft – are scheduled already for the coming days and weeks.

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