Emirates’ Boeing 777 passenger jets are scheduled to make more than 160 dedicated cargo flights next week, which will account for around half of the airline’s cargo flights.
The airline has begun using passenger planes to supplement its cargo capacity amid increased demand for air cargo and a nation-wide suspension of regular passenger services.
Currently Emirates’ passenger aircraft are travelling to over 30 destinations globally but the network is growing on a daily basis.
It has added more destinations including Singapore, Bangkok, Taipei, Casablanca and Malta taking its destination count to nearly 40 cities.
“We are deploying dedicated cargo flights on our passenger aircraft to a wide network of destinations to ensure continual flow of essential goods and also using our aircraft fleet of 11 Boeing 777 freighters to maintain a constant supply of food and medicines into the UAE,” Nabil Sultan, Emirate’s divisional senior vice president for cargo, told Aviation Business.
He said that following the restrictions on travel and passenger flights placed by various national authorities worldwide, there has been a severe reduction in passenger aircraft cargo capacity.
“Most carriers including Emirates SkyCargo have had to use our freighter fleet to the maximum in order to keep global supply chains up and running and ensure that food and medical goods are reaching people who need them the most.
“We have had to turn to other innovative means including operating our passenger aircraft as dedicated cargo flights in order to continue facilitating movement of goods across markets.”
Sultan said that within a very short period of time, Emirates SkyCargo had to “reinvent our operations”.
“We had to take a closer look at how to optimally deploy our freighter capacity globally to make sure we could respond to our customer requests.
“In parallel we had to work hard to establish a network and schedule for our dedicated cargo flights on our Boeing 777 passenger aircraft and then work with the authorities to obtain the relevant permissions to operate these flights.”
Emirates SkyCargo has temporarily moved its operations from DWC to Dubai International Airport to streamline its efforts.
Sultan added: “We will not rest on our achievements from the last few weeks. We will continue to monitor global developments and take measures to ensure that despite changing conditions we are able to transport goods that people need for their lives.”