Finnair is taking its cargo-only service to the next level with the modification of two A330 aircraft for cargo use by removing economy class seats from the cabin.
With these changes, the cargo capacity of the aircraft nearly doubles, according to Finnair. The free cabin space will be used mainly for shipping supplies needed in the coronavirus pandemic.
In April and May, Finnair has been flying cargo to the large cities in China, Japan and Korea, as well as Tallinn and Brussels in Europe. Last week Finnair also started cargo flights to New York and Bangkok. Finnair is currently operating more than 50 one way cargo flights a week.
The airline notes that as the global logistic network has become less accessible due to the dramatic decrease in passenger aircraft, there’s now increasing demand for urgent cargo shipments.
“Functioning logistic connections are always critical for the world economy, but their meaning is heightened during the crisis,” says Mikko Tainio, managing director of Finnair Cargo. “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.”
The A330 cabin is especially well suited for carrying lighter freight, says Finnair, as the loading occurs through the regular doors. The cargo is secured in the cabin with cargo nets. About half of the existing capacity of the wide-body aircraft is already reserved for cargo below the cabin.
Finnair’s technical operations implemented the A330 modifications and removed the seats in fewer than two days. As the demand for passenger traffic increases, the planes can also be returned to passenger operations quickly.
“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,” adds Tainio.