So, when you think about the Airbus A380, I’m sure none of us could describe as “Mini”. However, Emirates and its SkyCargo division are putting some of its A380s to use for what it calls “Mini Freighters”.
SkyCargo on Duty – Image, Emirates.
The A380s have been aligned with Emirates SkyCargo to use Emirates Airbus A380 aircraft on select cargo charter operations to transport urgently required cargo across its network.
The first dedicated Emirates A380 ‘mini-freighter’ successfully transported medical supplies between Seoul and Amsterdam via Dubai.
Emirates many parts have been working together – with the Engineering and Flight Operations teams managing to optimised the cargo capacity of the Airbus A380 to safely transport around 50 tonnes of cargo per flight in the belly hold of the aircraft.
Emirates SkyCargo has drafted the A380 for dedicated cargo operations in response to the surge in the demand for air cargo capacity required for the urgent transportation of critical goods, including medical supplies for combatting COVID-19 in regions experiencing a second wave of the pandemic. The airline is planning to further optimise the capacity of its Airbus A380 aircraft through measures such as seat loading of cargo and has planned more dedicated cargo flights on aircraft for the month of November.
The airline operates dedicated cargo flights on its Boeing 777 Freighters and its Boeing 777-300ER aircraft including 14 modified Boeing 777-300ER passenger aircraft with seats removed from Economy Class for additional cargo volume. It also manages the belly-freight of the Emirates mainline fleet.
SkyCargo is also preparing for the global distribution of a COVID-19 vaccine, with them announcing recently that it set up the world’s largest EU GDP compliant airside hub in Dubai dedicated for the COVID-19 vaccine. In addition to world-class fit for purpose infrastructure for the storage of the vaccine, the facility would also be able to offer value-added services such as repackaging, re-icing and redistribution of the vaccine. The air cargo carrier has also set up a rapid response team to coordinate requests for the movement of the vaccine.
Putting the big plane to use
As the needs of the cargo market continue to evolve (especially with what could be one of the biggest airlift operations to come when vaccines are ready to roll), having idle capacity on the ground is never a good idea.
Whilst using the A380 as a special freighter isn’t new (Hi Fly used their A380 for this purpose), Emirates has something on their side – many A380 aircraft that are sitting on the ground, not earning revenue.
With the ability to flex their fleet in a new direction when passenger demand is low, it could keep the money rolling into the group.
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