A state-owned airline of Dubai, Emirates is operating approximately 100 daily cargo flights to deliver essential supplies including protective equipment, medical devices, pharmaceuticals and food, to people in more than 65 cities spanning six continents amid the coronavirus pandemic.
The destinations of the flights include 11 destinations in the Middle East, seven in Africa, 22 in Asia, six in Australasia, 15 in Europe and six cities in the Americas, reported Al Arabiya.
"The air cargo carrier is currently operating 11 Boeing 777 freighter aircraft, each with a capacity to transport about 100 tons of cargo per flight and around 60 of its Boeing 777-300ER passenger aircraft as dedicated cargo aircraft, with a 40-50 tonnes belly hold cargo capacity per flight," state news agency WAM reported on Wednesday.
The carrier also started loading cargo in the overhead bins and on the seats of its Boeing 777-300ER passenger aircraft, in an effort to optimize operations a capacity amid growing customer demand in key markets.
"We took a measured approach to the loading of cargo inside the cabins of our Boeing 777-300ER passenger aircraft. Safety of our people and operations is the first priority for us and we had to therefore evaluate the demand from the market against potential risks to our operations. We have now, after a complete evaluation, rolled out a detailed set of guidelines and procedures including strict rules on the kind of cargo that can be loaded inside the cabin," said Nabil Sultan, Emirates Divisional Senior Vice President, Cargo.
"We have operated flights from stations such as Tokyo and New Delhi with cargo in the overhead bins and seats and are now in a position to be able to safely and optimally respond to customer demands for additional cargo capacity from main global production markets."
Sultan added that the cargo carrier will now be operating more flights over the coming weeks with cargo in both the belly as well as inside the main cabin. The company is also looking at other measures including the removal of seats from select aircraft to deploy on high demand trade lanes.
Emirates SkyCargo would be able to provide up to 24 tons of additional cargo capacity with complete loading of overhead bins and seats in its Boeing 777-300ER aircraft.
In April alone, the cargo carrier operated over 2,500 dedicated cargo flights and transported in total an estimated 10,000 tons of personal protective equipment, medical equipment, devices and pharmaceuticals on its scheduled and charter flights.
Since January 2020, it has transported more than 375,000 tonnes of cargo on its flights.