Dozens of airlines are moving air cargo via previously retired aircraft, passenger planes, and additional freighter services. The move will help counteract lost belly space on over 185000 international flights grounded by COVID-19.
Most recently, Lufthansa removed the cabin seats from several passenger aircraft to make room for air cargo. The airline joins a host of carriers such as Qantas, Emirates, and Delta who are using passenger aircraft to supplement their freighter capacity. These planes would otherwise be grounded.
Other carriers such as Qatar Airways and Turkish Cargo have opted to increase the frequency of their international freight routes.
As a result, global belly capacity has improved by 30% over the last two weeks. Better again, international cargo capacity on airline freighters has also skyrocketed by 28% compared to the year prior.
China, in particular, has seen total outbound cargo capacity grow substantially. From the 29th of April to the 5th of May, capacity increased 22% compared to the same week in 2019. That is an additional 21000 tonnes of air cargo space!