A roundup of air cargo companies' efforts to meet the challenges presented by Covid-19.
————— April 16, 6:00pm BST —————————————–
Hong Kong Air Cargo Terminals (Hactl) has announced the precautionary measures it is taking to protect its staff from the novel coronavirus.
The cargo handler has installed thermal cameras at its terminal to help identify staff members with an abnormally high body temperature — a key symptom of Covid-19.
In addition, Hactl is carrying out temperature checks for all staff during their shifts or, in the case of office staff, after their lunch breaks.
Staff and visitors of the SuperTerminal 1 facility are also temperature-checked before being allowed access to the building.
In its canteen, Hactl has restricted the number of seats to comply with distancing directives; only seats facing in the same direction are now available. The canteen is now only for the use of staff based at SuperTerminal 1 to sit in; all other staff are instructed to purchase takeaway food.
Hactl says its shift rosters are being constantly reviewed to minimize the number of staff on site at any one time and thereby reduce the risk of coronavirus being spread.
————— April 16, 3:45pm BST —————————————–
Atlas Air Worldwide subsidiary, Atlas Air, has donated air transport to New York University (NYU) Langone Health for the movement of essential medical equipment.
On April 9, a flight was operated from Shanghai to New York City, and on April 13 another flight was operated from Shanghai to Chicago.
The Atlas Air-operated Boeing 747-400 freighters were filled with medical gowns, face shields and masks necessary to safeguard frontline responders dealing with the coronavirus pandemic.
Robert Grossman, managing director and chief executive of NYU Langone Health and dean of NYU Grossman School of Medicine, commented: “The Covid-19 pandemic has greatly impacted the accessibility of PPE for healthcare workers at NYU Langone Health, and across the world.
“We extend our heartfelt thanks to Atlas Air for their extraordinary generosity, and for their efforts to ensure that our community is well-equipped in our ongoing battle against COVID-19.”
Atlas Air Worldwide’s headquarters is located in the New York area and is served by NYU Langone.
————— April 16, 2:10pm BST —————————————–
In its latest service updates, Emirates SkyCargo said that it operates flights to 51 destinations globally, out of which 19 cities are served by the Emirates SkyCargo Boeing 777 freighter aircraft and 38 destinations are served by dedicated cargo flights on Emirates' Boeing 777 passenger aircraft offering up to 50 tonnes belly capacity. (For a full list of destination and schedules, visit the Emirates SkyCargo website).
London Heathrow airport is served by both Boeing 777-300ER “passenger freighters” and Boeing 777 freighters and is currently receiving four “passenger freighter” and two full freighter flights per week, as well as ad hoc charter flights.
Last week, Emirates moved 125 tonnes of urgent foodstuffs to Dubai. Also in the last week, Emirates have moved over 75 tonnes of pharmaceuticals and medicines from the UK to the United Arab Emirates, China, Pakistan, Australia and Japan.
Flights have also been transporting electronic and e-commerce goods from the UK. On imports, Emirates SkyCargo flights have been transporting essential supplies including fruit and vegetables and on April 14, a special charter flight flew in 100 tons of hand sanitisers and other commodities into London Heathrow.
During the week ending 4 April 2020, Emirates SkyCargo had operated more than 160 flights on its freighter aircraft and close to 90 flights on its passenger aircraft. The following week, the air cargo carrier had operated close to 160 flights on its passenger aircraft.
Since the start of April, the carrier has executed more than 30 charter flights connecting over 20 global destinations. The main commodities transported on the charter flights are medical supplies including face masks, protective covers, sanitisers, equipment for hospitals in addition to pharmaceuticals, raw materials and spare parts.
————— April 16, 09:28am BST —————————————–
Etihad has provided an update on its cargo operations. The airline said it is using 22 Boeing 787 Dreamliners and 777-300ER passenger aircraft, with five more ready for service, to complement its operational fleet of five 777-200F freighters. These aircraft are providing scheduled, special passenger and belly-hold cargo services to several destinations worldwide.
Since March 25, approximately 500 special passenger, freighter and cargo flights have been operated by the airline. These include passenger and belly-hold freight flights to Amsterdam, Bogota, Brussels, Dublin, Frankfurt, Jakarta, London Heathrow, Manila, Melbourne, Paris Charles de Gaulle, Seoul Incheon, Singapore, Tokyo Narita, Washington DC and Zurich, with other destinations planned.
Etihad Cargo is now operating up to 100 turnaround flights per week to 32 destinations on five continents. In addition to normal scheduled cargo services, special freighter and humanitarian flights have been flown to Addis Ababa, Amsterdam, Beijing, Bogota, Bucharest, Copenhagen, Chennai, Cochin, Dublin, Frankfurt, Jeddah, Johannesburg, Karachi, Khartoum, Kiev, Milan, Paris, Rome, Shanghai, Tbilisi, Wuhan, and Zagreb. More special flights will be introduced in the coming weeks.
————— April 15, 07:00pm BST —————————————–
Worldwide Flight Services (WFS) has launched a new emergency response cargo handling operation at Liege Airport following a request from the airport to help increase its capacity to accept more freighter flights carrying urgent medical equipment.
In response to the airport's request, WFS opened the new station in just 72 hours by transferring experienced handling staff from its Brussels operations, as well as transferring equipment such as forklifts, pallets and a truck dock, from WFS stations in Belgium and the Netherlands.
WFS' new emergency cargo handling station at Liege is located in a new airside warehouse space.
As one of Europe’s premier freighter hubs, Liege is acting as a central hub in the region for medical equipment and supplies arriving from China and other parts of the world.
WFS expects to handle up to 14 freighter flights per week during this emergency response phase of operations, which is currently expected to continue until the end of May. WFS will also provide handling services for outbound cargo shipments from Liege.
Craig Smyth, chief executive of WFS, commented: “I am extremely proud of everyone involved in this project and of the WFS team globally who are making such a vital contribution to the speed and efficiency of medical supply chains at a time when the world needs these more than ever before.”
Bert Selis, VP Commercial Cargo & Logistics at Liege Airport, added: “Liege Airport has played a vital role in the provisioning of personal protection equipment (PPE) since the outbreak of covid-19 in Europe.
“Additional aircraft movements and the huge growth in the volume of humanitarian goods led us to make this request to WFS for an immediate response to the market needs. This could only be done with the kind cooperation of AirBridgeCargo that has allowed their facility to be temporary used for this operation.
“We are grateful to WFS for accepting this challenge, which means we are now able to welcome cargo carried onboard ad-hoc charters and short term freighter operations in the temporary facility made available to them.”
————— April 15, 13:08am BST —————————————–
Oman Air has completed 27 flights to eight different countries to return citizens home and supply the nation with food, commodities, medicine and medical equipment.
The airline said it had flown several cargo-only flights to China to collect medical supplies, along with a number of flights to India to bring food and commodities to Oman.
Those flights will continue on an as-needed basis and Oman Air is prepared to conduct cargo-only flights to other destinations if the need arises.
————— April 15, 11:00am BST —————————————–
On April 14, an Antonov Airlines AN-225 Mriya aircraft transported 100 tonnes medical supplies from Tianjin China Airport in China to Warsaw in Poland.
The aircraft flew to Warsaw, via Almaty Airport in Kazakhstan, carrying tests for laboratory analysis, medical masks and other protective equipment, with a total load of about 1000 cubed metres.
This flight, chartered by UK-based Chapman Freeborn, was the first that utilised an AN-225 that had had maintenance and modernisation performed by Antonov Company specialists.
The AN-225 Mriya had been fitted with a new Ukrainian engine remote control system, new Ukrainian liquid-crystal devices for the monitoring of the engines’ work, and new energy-saving modern LED lighting equipment.
Since the end of March, Antonov Airlines has carried more than 1,400 tons of cargo from China to different countries in Europe, Americas and the Middle East.
Vitaliy Shost, Antonov Airlines first deputy director, commented: “Planning and performing charter flights in the current difficult quarantine conditions imposed by many countries when there are restrictions applied for landing and crew rest permits, requires selfless dedication and commitment on the part of all airline staff.
“I would like to thank everyone who takes part in the setting up and arrangement of humanitarian flights from China and in particular those who were directly involved in the performance of the AN-225 flight to Warsaw.
“We extend our exceptional gratitude to our customer Chapman Freeborn and partners for their cooperation and the opportunity to jointly carry out such an important and necessary mission together.”
————— April 15, 12:00pm BST —————————————–
MASKargo operated a flight from Shanghai in China to Malaysia yesterday, filled with almost 40 tonnes of medical equipment including masks and goggles.
Ibrahim Mohamed Salleh, MASkargo Chief Executive Officer, explained: “Recognising the gravity and impact of the Covid-19 pandemic countrywide, we are more committed to ensuring that all medical equipment is being delivered as needed.
“To accommodate the unusually high airfreight demand, we are innovating by using our passenger aircraft to carrying just cargo (P2C). To date, we have carried out 94 P2C flights since March 22 and more than 250 flights are being planned up to May 31.
“Our freighters have also been very busy fulfilling charter requests on top of the scheduled flights, hitting a very high utilization rate. We have completed four charters this month and have several more planned, made up of mostly medical equipment for frontline healthcare workers”.
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