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The special role of cargo flights for Emirates during Corona

Johanna Koyser
09.06.2020
3 minutes

We were previously able to report positive developments at Emirates in WingMag, in line with the current situation. Just recently, Emirates President Sir Tim Clark was a guest in an online webinar. There, he talked about a saving factor in the corona crisis in particular: Cargo flights. Like all other airlines worldwide, the company was threatened by the enormous drop in the passenger flight business. Emirates, therefore, decided to temporarily focus its business on cargo flights.

More cargo flights with Emirates

One factor that played a central role for the airline can be identified by looking at its fleet. With 132 passenger aircraft, Emirates has the world’s largest fleet of Boeing 777-300ERs. Aeronauts know that this is currently the largest twin-engine aircraft, which also has an improved range. In addition, Emirates at the time decided to have enlarged cargo doors installed. Ideal for higher capacities, perfect for conversion to cargo flights. At the beginning of April, 15 of the 777s mentioned above were already flying around the world as freighters, at the end of May as many as 85. 

However, Emirates did not simply convert from passenger to cargo flights. Processes were also improved to increase the efficiency of cargo flights. This meant, for example, that they did not fly with a single crew as is usually the case, but had an additional crew on board. In this way, one crew could take over the outbound flight, while the other crew directly took over the return flight. Thereby it was possible to save a lot of time, as the prescribed rest periods could take place in the aircraft itself.

The changeover from passenger flights to cargo flights can be seen overall as an exemplary measure in the Corona crisis. Of course, Emirates could not avoid losses, but Sir Tim Clark summed it up very well:

[Cargo operations] are never going to produce the kind of income you’ll get from passenger operations, but they certainly kept the wolf from the door.

Sir Tim Clark

Picture © Allen Zhao (GFDL 1.2)

by Johanna Koyser

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