VIDEO: Emirates SkyCargo ramps up operations amid global capacity crunch

Published: 26 March 2020 - 10:21 a.m.

Emirates SkyCargo is ramping up its operations and working around the clock to transport goods across global markets after all passenger flights in the UAE were halted on Tuesday amid the Covid-19 outbreak.

Global air cargo capacity has been reduced by around half because most passenger flights around the world have been dropped amid a crash in travel demand.

But air cargo services are permitted to continue operating in and out of the UAE.

Emirates SkyCargo is operating additional freighter flights and using connecting road feeder services to help transport essential cargo such as pharmaceuticals, medical supplies and equipment, perishables, and other raw materials to the UAE and other global destinations.

Between mid-January and mid-March, Emirates SkyCargo transported more than 225,000 tonnes of cargo in total out of which 55,000 tonnes were food items including fruits, vegetables, meat and seafood, and more than 13,000 tonnes were pharmaceutical cargo.

“By operating our freighter fleet at full capacity across six continents with a combination of scheduled and ad-hoc operations, we are making sure that we can maintain the flow of goods such as medical and pharmaceutical supplies, equipment and food items not just to Dubai and the UAE but to other global destinations where they are most needed across the world,” said Nabil Sultan, divisional senior VP, Emirates SkyCargo.

"We're also looking at more new and innovative ways to best serve our customers and the global markets and will continue to communicate with our customers on a daily basis to ensure our services are optimized to best support their needs in these challenging times."

Emirates' fleet of 11 freighter aircraft flew a number of ad hoc and charter flights in addition to scheduled operations to match the increased demand for air transportation of cargo.

During the eight week period between mid-January and mid-March, Emirates' freighter aircraft transported more than 50,000 tonnes of cargo including medical and food supplies. During one charter operation, Emirates SkyCargo transported close to half a million units of hand sanitisers in a single Boeing 777 freighter aircraft.

During the last two weeks, the air cargo carrier has operated more than 30 weekly freighter flights from Hong Kong, with the station sometimes handling between six to eight freighters in a single day.

In addition, Emirates SkyCargo also operated 12 freighters from Shanghai, five freighters from Guangzhou and two freighters from Beijing during the same week. In addition to scheduled freighter services to over 40 global destinations, ad-hoc freighter services were also operated to other destinations including Seoul, Taipei, Frankfurt, Milan and Casablanca in the month of March.

Emirates SkyCargo is also offering customers the choice of having their cargo transported by road feeder services to and from other freighter destinations.

Etihad Airways revealed on Thursday it would use a fleet of 787 Dreamliner passenger jets to help out its fleet of 777 cargo freighters.

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