The pandemic has undoubtedly done a lot of damage to airlines: the number of trips, as well as those wishing to travel, has dropped sharply, which means that carriers’ revenues have fallen to a minimum. However, the owners of the aircraft did not lose their heads and began to use passenger aircraft for cargo operations. This delivery method has indeed played an important role in the delivery of humanitarian and commercial cargo.
Additional placement of cargo in the luggage compartments and on the seats, although it allows you to transport more cargo, is considered a rather laborious process, because boxes and boxes must be manually brought in and placed in such a way that there is no damage on the road. But this does not prevent many airlines from regularly using this method of transporting goods in the cabin.
For example, the largest company Emirates has already completed about 3,100 flights, while using a Boeing 777-300 aircraft to carry cargo on seats and in luggage compartments.
From January to May of this year, the air carrier transported so many goods that they can only be measured in metric tons, and if you count the places occupied by the cargo, there will be more than 800,000 of them.
Of course, separate groups of goods were transported on the seats. The most common shipments are personal protective equipment, i.e. masks, as well as clothing, sporting goods, medical equipment for dental practices, dry food and more. All these loads are light, which means they are suitable for cargo cabins.
As the demand for such transportation only grows, EmiratesSkyCargo is transforming the cabins of its Boeings as much as possible. So, in 14 economy class aircraft, the airline removed seats to increase and more efficiently use the area.
Transporting goods in this way is quite difficult. First, you need permission from government authorities to load the airliner. Secondly, we need qualified teams that can quickly and safely place cargo in the cabin. Thirdly, there are requirements for the size and weight of goods, and packaging with an absorbent layer is required for perishable products. In order to calculate the load capacity, special applications are used.
Not only the Emirates airline transports goods in this way, but also Cathay Pacific and Korean Air, Air Canada and Asiana.
Innovations for the safe carriage of goods in the cabin
Carriers who use the cabin to transport goods try to prevent accidental damage to the maximum, so they use special covers or bags. They were recently made by Trip & Co, and KLM Cargo was the first to use them. They performed well during the transport of medical supplies and COVID-19 testing kits from Shanghai and Amsterdam.
Special bags not only protect the cargo from damage, but also double the capacity of the seats and take care of the environment, because initially the goods were attached to the seat with the help of plastic film and straps, which assumed the placement of only one box per place.