Finnair has converted two long-haul Airbus A330 passenger aircraft into much-needed freighters to meet the extra demand for cargo.
Engineers from the Nordic airline carefully removed almost all seats from both aircraft’s Economy Class cabins in just two days.
The two modified Airbus A330 aircraft can now carry freight in their cabins, in addition to the hold, effectively doubling their cargo capacity.
The extra cabin space will mainly be used for shipping supplies needed during the coronavirus pandemic.
Normally, about half the world’s freight is carried in by passenger aircraft, but capacity has been significantly reduced due to falling passenger numbers on commercial flights due to the COVID-19 outbreak. This has dramatically increased the demand for urgent cargo shipments on those aircraft still flying.
The move by the four-star Nordic carrier comes just a day after it announced its return to passenger service in July, operating up to 30 per cent of its scheduled flights, with departures resuming from Dublin.
Mikko Tainio, Finnair Cargo Managing Director, said: “Functioning logistic connections are always critical for the world economy, but their importance has grown during the crisis. To ensure the availability of national emergency supplies, it’s important to be able to access goods from another continent in a matter of hours.
“By offering cargo connections between different continents, we can do our part to help the world to recover from the impacts of the pandemic. Thanks to the demand for cargo, we’ve been able to keep more of our planes in the sky and people employed both in the air and in our terminal operations.”
Finnair is currently operating more than 50 one-way weekly cargo flights and only last week commenced cargo services to New York and Bangkok.
During April and May, Finnair has also been flying cargo long-haul to major cities in China, Japan and Korea, as well as on short-haul flights to Brussels and Tallinn in Europe.