As demand for travel drastically reduces, one of the unsung pillars of the aviation industry is coming to the fore.
Freight, the often neglected offshoot of the industry is suddenly the new golden child, Passengers may have dried up, but the demand for goods continues. Airlines, keen to seize the opportunities, are stepping up. Air New Zealand is an example. The role Air New Zealand now finds itself playing underscores the wider role airlines play in our global supply chains. This role isn’t necessarily new, it’s just nobody took much notice before.
Suddenly freight is in the spotlight and helping to prop up airlines. So much so that Air New Zealand is converting one of its Boeing 777-200ERs into a freighter. The airline has 16 Boeing 777s, including eight 777-200ERs. But they’ve always been used to ferry passengers around the globe. Freight has been a sideline, tucked below decks. But with passengers thin on the ground and the Air New Zealand operating a bare minimum of flights, freight is proving a lifeline for the airline.
Business is now brisk enough to warrant converting a 777-200ER into a dedicated freighter. A spokesperson for Air New Zealand told Simple Flying;
“There’s strong demand for air freight and our teams are exploring every option to maximize the potential of our fleet.”
New Zealand’s clean and green reputation means time sensitive perishable goods are among its biggest exports. These exports include meat and dairy products. And with many people cooling their heels at home, more than a few of us will be turning to New Zealand’s excellent wines. It’s a good opportunity Air New Zealand can maximize.
According to a report in Forbes, Air New Zealand has been operating cargo only flights between Auckland and Shanghai. To date, they’ve been using the cargo holds on passenger aircraft. The airline has been sending its country’s fresh produce and food into China. Medical supplies and PPE are coming back on the return flights.
Source: Simple Flying