Emirates SkyCargo has transferred its Dubai World Central (DWC) cargo operations back to Dubai International (DXB) to help cut costs and streamline operations as it taps its extensive fleet of passenger B777s for 30 cargo-only services.
The COVID-19 pandemic and subsequent collapse of the air passenger sector has forced Emirates, like its peers around the world, to rapidly come up with new and often dramatic strategies to move forward and stem the financial haemorrhaging.
Nabil Sultan, Emirates divisional senior vice president, Cargo says that in this “rapidly changing global environment” it’s crucial for Emirates SkyCargo to, “adapt and reinvent its operations and network to make sure that it can continue to facilitate not just transport of essential commodities but also support economies and help businesses around the world maintain continuity by keeping global supply chains up and running.”
As such, “in order to consolidate operations and reduce costs in this new scenario, we have also temporarily shifted all our cargo handling operations to Dubai International Airport (DXB). Taken together we are making sure that we react more quickly to requests coming in from every part of the globe from our customers,” Sultan says.
DWC has been SkyCargo’s freighter base of operations since the new airport opened in June 2010 and is connected to DWB by a 37 km long bonded trucking corridor.
Sultan attributes the carrier’s ability to quickly create a new network and schedule for freight operations to the group’s agility and customer focus.
This new schedule for cargo operations includes cargo flights using B777 passenger aircraft from its fleet of 134 B777-300ERs, which provide for up to 40 tonnes in the lower cargo hold and will enhance the cargo capacity offered by its fleet of 11 B777Fs.
Emirates is set to operate these all-cargo passenger aircraft to more than 30 destinations across the Middle East, Africa, Asia, Europe and Australia, where the majority of destinations will be serviced by several daily and weekly flights.
The schedules and destinations for the dedicated cargo flights on passenger aircraft have been planned keeping in mind optimal interconnectivity with Emirates’ scheduled freighter operations, it says.
“In these trying times, we more than ever stand by our commitment for Emirates SkyCargo to act as a global conveyor belt for the transport of much needed commodities such as food and medicines and also for flying in equipment, machinery and other components which are vital for business continuity across essential industries,” Sultan adds.
Uplifting critical cargo
Meanwhile, a SkyCargo freighter landed in Sao Paulo (GRU), Brazil, carrying 500,000 Covid-19 examination kits. The cargo was transported from the Chinese city of Guangzhou (CAN) via Dubai (DBX), and another similar shipment will follow to the same destination.
The carrier operated two charter flights that transported about 200 tonnes of health supplies, such as hand sanitisers, masks and gloves, from Hong Kong (HKG) to Sydney (SYD), while another flight carried medical supplies to Karachi (KHI).
One of the Emirates B777Fs on a private charter flight, transported about 100 tonnes of relief materials, including hospital equipment, to Milan (MXP). More than 55 tonnes of temperature sensitive pharmaceuticals were also transported from Mumbai (BOM) to New York (JFK). Also in April, the airline will operate nine charter flights to Budapest (BUD) to deliver supplies, such as face masks and medical equipment, to Hungary.
In addition to transporting vital medical supplies around the world, Emirates Air Cargo also plays a pivotal role in transporting foodstuffs to the United Arab Emirates, the Gulf states and the Middle East in general.
During the last week of March, it operated special flights from Pakistan and India to supply more than 150 tonnes of perishables to Dubai. Dedicated cargo flights from Cairo and Nairobi have also been transporting perishables to Dubai and onwards to other destinations within the Middle East.