Combating Covid-19: Flydubai seeks permission to carry cargo in-cabin as demand grows for freight

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The demand for cargo planes has grown as passenger aircraft also used to carry cargo in the passenger flights.

Budget carrier flydubai is looking to increase its cargo capacity and seeking permission from the relevant authorities to allow cargo in the cabin to a number of destinations.

The Dubai-based carrier will allocate six of its passenger aircraft Boeing 737-800 into all-cargo flights which will help it offset the impact of grounding of passenger fleet and meet the growing demand for cargo.

“Flydubai is utilizing the cargo hold capacity in its passenger aircraft and has been working with the authorities to increase its cargo capabilities by allowing cargo in the cabin to a number of destinations, in line with the guidelines and recommendations issued by the International Air Transport Association (Iata), International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) and Boeing,” said the airline.

The passenger flights remain suspended in most countries around the world and only limited flights are being operated to transport passengers in order to contain the spread of coronavirus into other countries. However, demand for cargo planes has grown as passenger aircraft also used to carry cargo in the passenger flights.

Hamad Obaidalla, Chief Commercial Officer at flydubai, said air cargo has an important role to play in supporting the continuity of the supply chain and the efforts at a government and a private sector level to ensure the movement of essential supplies, especially during these unprecedented times.

“We have seen strong global demand for cargo and we are working towards expanding our operations beyond the flydubai network to enable more goods to be transported to those who need them the most,” said Mohamed Hassan, vice-president of cargo operations at flydubai.

Airlines can carry medicines, medical equipment, perishables, valuable goods, courier, spare parts, electronic items, post office mail and other items that fit in the cabin.

Saj Ahmad, the chief analyst at London’s StrategicAero Research, said this additional cargo will be able to fit snugly in between seats and will be strapped in so that they don’t shift in flight. This extra cargo allows for more supplies to be shipped on fewer flights, particularly when air traffic services across the globe have been severely curtailed since the Covid-19 pandemic has taken hold.

“Rather than have a fleet of idling airplanes on the ground doing nothing – and likely costing flydubai money to keep them parked and grounded, the airline will offset to a degree, lost passenger revenue with cargo. Given the spread of the pandemic and the global need for supplies to reach different nations, it’s likely that speedy air cargo services like this will derive a degree of premium pricing. So not only is flydubai benefitting from stronger cargo yields, but it’s also keeping its 737-800s airworthy and airborne,” said Ahmad.