IATA and its members have renewed their call to
governments to take urgent measures to ensure that vital air cargo
supply lines remain open, efficient and effective.
cargo is a vital partner in the global fight against COVID19,”
said Alexandre de Juniac, IATA’s Director General and CEO. “But we
are still seeing examples of cargo flights filled with life-saving
medical supplies and equipment grounded due to cumbersome and
bureaucratic processes to secure slots and operating permits.
These delays are endangering lives. All governments need to step
up to keep global supply chains open.”
The COVID19 crisis has seen almost the entire world-wide
passenger aircraft fleet grounded, a fleet which normally
transports almost half of total air cargo shipments. Airlines are
scrambling to meet the gap between cargo demand and available lift
by all means possible, including re-introducing freighter services
and using passenger aircraft for cargo operations.
these efforts, governments need to remove key obstacles by:
– Introducing fast track procedures for overflight
and landing permits for cargo operations, particularly in key
manufacturing hubs in Asia, such as China, Korea and Japan, in
response to the increased number of cargo charters replacing
withdrawn passenger operations;
– Exempting flight crew members who do not
interact with the public from 14-day quarantine requirements to
ensure cargo supply chains are maintained;
temporary traffic rights for cargo operations where restrictions
– Removing economic impediments, such as overflight
charges, parking fees, and slot restrictions to support air cargo operations during these unprecedented times;
operating hour curfews for cargo flights to facilitate the most
flexible global air cargo network operations.
Paul Molinaro, Chief, Operations Support and
Logistics, World Health Organisation, said, “Around the world the
frontline health workers who fight against COVID19 need to be
continuously supplied with necessary medical equipment and
protective material. It is our collective duty to keep these
supply lines open by continuing air cargo operations. The
scale-down of air passenger flow is seriously hurting our
scheduled freight operations. We call on airline companies and
governments to join the global effort to ensure dedicated freight
capacity continues to operate on previously high volume passenger
routes that are now closed down.”
Airlines are taking extraordinary measures to
ensure the flow of vital goods by air. Some examples include:
Delta, American and United have started cargo-only
flights, using passenger aircraft domestically and internationally
to bolster depressed global airfreight capacity.
Air Canada, Aeromexico, Austrian, British Airways, Cathay Pacific, Emirates,
Iberia, Korean, LATAM, Lufthansa, Qantas, Scoot, Swiss and many
other carriers have made some passenger aircraft in their fleets
available for chartered cargo operations.
is playing a key role in transporting COVID19 medical equipment
through its hub to Africa’s 54 nations, including recently
transporting equipment donated by the Jack Ma Foundation.
Croatian Airlines has operated a charter flight from Abu Dhabi to
Zagreb delivering critical medical equipment.
has delivered a significant amount of medical supplies to support
doctors in Italy.
Austrian has used 2 passenger B777 aircraft to
fly medical equipment from China to Austria.
nonprofit organization working with aviation and logistics
partners to transport relief workers and emergency supplies have
transported 16,127 lbs, of medical supplies and food aid to help
the COVID19 relief effort.
FedEx Express has helped the US
government transport COVID-19 test specimens from more than 50
remote drive-thru testing centers at major retailers across 12
The UPS Foundation has expanded its relief response
to Coronavirus, delivering urgent medical supplies, food and
housing, and financial assistance to aid in recovery efforts.
Airbus has transported 2 million face masks from China to Europe
on a test A330-800 aircraft, the majority will be donated to
Spain and France.
“Air cargo is on the
front line, not only fighting COVID19 but ensuing that global
supply chains are maintained for the most time-sensitive materials
including food and other products purchased online in support of
quarantine and social distancing policies implemented by states.
But we can only continue to do this if we work together with the
support of governments. Keeping supply lines open also supports
jobs in local economies for example producers of perishables in
Africa and Latin America. We are stronger together,” said Glyn
Hughes, IATA Global Head of Air Cargo.