In response to increased demand for medical supplies, Emirates SkyCargo introduced its Airbus A380 converted to freighter.
Emirates subsidiary Skycargo recently flew medical aid from Seoul to Amsterdam via Dubai in the new ‘mini-freighter’. The air carrier optimized the capacity of the Airbus A380 to transport around 50 tons of cargo per flight.
Emirates SkyCargo called the new aircraft a ‘mini-freighter’ since its cargo capacity is relatively small. SkyCargo also operates flights on its Boeing 777F, that can transport around 100 tons of cargo. The company also uses Boeing 777-300ER passenger aircraft with removed seats from Economy Class for additional cargo volume.
‘Mini-freighters’ could have a bigger load if the plane’s seating area would be utilized, which is something that Emirates is planning to do. Cargo flights on the new aircraft are scheduled for November 2020.
Portuguese charter airline Hi Fly had their A380 converted into a freighter in May 2020. However, the company did not have a big demand for cargo operations as its distribution network was not as developed as Emirates’. SkyCargo currently offers cargo capacity on scheduled flights to 135 destinations across the world.
Emirates is the biggest operator of the A380s in the world. With the ongoing travel restrictions, most of Emirates’ superjumbos are grounded.
Due to its high operating costs, retirement plans for Emirates’ Airbus A380 have been in action since February 2019. On October 29, 2020, Emirates airline confirmed that it has retired its first Airbus A380 aircraft. Other airlines, including Air France-KLM, Etihad Airways and Singapore Airlines (SIA1) (SINGY), have decided to also remove the A380 from their fleets.
Emirate SkyCargo is also taking a lead on the COVID-19 future vaccine distribution. The airline set up the world’s largest cargo hub in Dubai dedicated to the storage and distribution of the vaccine.