Swiss intends to reconfigure three Boeing 777s as cargo aircraft under a plan to operate more than 100 freight services to Asia and North America by the end of May.

The Lufthansa Group carrier says it will establish “a new network of cargo-only services” to operate up to three daily flights to Shanghai and up to two per day to Beijing from Zurich.

Chicago and Tokyo will be served twice weekly, while flights to Bangkok and Singapore are to be operated on a weekly basis.

“Further destinations are expected to be added to the new network over the next few weeks,” the carrier says.

Before the coronavirus crisis, Swiss carried only belly-freight.

Since the end of March, Swiss has completed more than 80 cargo-only flights from Asia to Switzerland to transport “mainly” medical supplies and equipment for the Swiss healthcare system, it notes.

The planned additional flights will be operated “on behalf of various private and public entities”.

Swiss says it is “considering to remove the economy-class seating” on three of its 12 777-300ERs “to meet growing demand for air cargo capacity”.

Under the proposal, more than 800 seats would be removed at the airline’s Zurich base.

Each of Swiss’s 777-300ERs is configured with eight first-class, 62 business and 270 economy seats, the airline’s website indicates.

“The modifications would help ensure consistent and regular goods deliveries and thereby help keep Switzerland optimally connected with the world in the difficult present conditions,” the airline states.

Cirium fleets data shows that Swiss has 91 aircraft, comprising Airbus A220s, A320-family jets, A330-300s, A340-300s and 777-300ERs. Before the coronavirus crisis, the carrier additionally wet-leased Embraer 190s from Zurich-based carrier Helvetic Airways.

Three A220-100s and three -300s, Swiss’s sole A320neo, an A330, all of the airline’s five A340-300s, and four 777-300ERs are shown as being in service, with the remainder of the fleet listed as being in storage.