Finnair is the latest airline to temporarily transform passenger cabins into freight carriages, disclosing plans to fill two of its Airbus A350s with cargo to boost capacity between Europe and Asia.
Until now, Finnair has only transported freight in the belly of its passenger A350s. However, the airline has unveiled plans to convert the cabins of two of its A350s for cargo use. The move will help boost capacity for transporting emergency medical supplies, including coronavirus samples, between Finland, Estonia and points in Asia, says the carrier.
The airline this week plans to operate more than 10 return A350 cargo flights to Osaka and Tokyo Narita in Japan, Seoul in South Korea, and Guangzhou and Shanghai in China.
“Although the coronavirus pandemic has had a significant impact on our passenger traffic, Finnair still maintains cargo connections between Europe and Asia,” states Finnair Cargo managing director Mikko Tainio. “Cargo traffic is crucial at the moment, and I am glad that we have been able to implement a new business model and quickly create a new freight network.”
KLM earlier this month announced plans to deploy two Boeing 747-400 Combis previously destined for early retirement on cargo missions between the Netherlands and Asia.
A number of other carriers including Austrian Airlines, American Airlines, Virgin Atlantic, Etihad Airways and Cathay Pacific have also started using passenger aircraft to carry freight while demand for transporting people remains severely suppressed by the coronavirus pandemic.