These are the incredible pictures showing how Lufthansa is turning passenger planes into freighters, without even removing seats.
The airline is one of many around the world to make the move since the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic.
The demand for medical supply transportation led the airfreight rates to breach the $5 per kilogram mark on the trans-Pacific trade lane for the first time in years.
Since the beginning of the COVID-19 crisis, the demand for air travel dropped drastically. The airlines had to ground most of their passenger planes with plenty of room onboard.
The US and Europe are going into lockdown just as China’s factories, which dropped to as low as 15 per cent production capacity in January and February. Chinese factories are ramping up their production now.
The initial drop left companies with dwindling inventories of all sorts. Now companies that usually get goods by ship are desperate to restock and can’t wait for the cheaper, slower ocean crossings.
Airlines such as Lufthansa, American Airlines, Delta Air Lines and Air Canada have been loading up passenger seats with cargo to mitigate their revenue losses.
Special mission for our „Kilo-India“ to Shanghai and back: normally the A330 flies mainly passengers. This one was an all-cargo plane. To get humanitarian goods where they are most needed at the moment. (1/2) #WeAreInThisTogether pic.twitter.com/CNYYUz0i0T
— Lufthansa News (@lufthansaNews) March 25, 2020
On 25 March, a Lufthansa Airbus A330 passenger jet transported 27 tonnes of medical supplies for COVID-19 from Shanghai to Frankfurt. In addition to the cargo compartments and seats of the aircraft, the hand-luggage bins were also filled with goods.