April 13, 2020, © Leeham News: There are plenty of stories and photos floating around the Internet about airlines flying empty or nearly so.
Schedules have been pared back up to 95% across the globe.
Spot-check Flightradar24 at any given moment and there are a lot air freighters flying.
But the passenger airlines are also flying some airliners dedicated to cargo. Some are flying cargo in the below-deck holds only. Others installed plastic protection over the passenger seats and loaded box after box after box of protective masks for shipment. Still others removed the passenger seats entirely and loaded the main deck with lighter-weight cargo.
This article summarizes many airlines that stepped up to fly supplies throughout the world.
There are other examples of passenger carriers chipping in.
Alaska Airlines is flying masks on its Boeing 737 converted freighters and passenger aircraft to cities across its US network. The masks go to Providence Hospital’s 51 facilities in the US. Providence, like the company making the masks, is headquartered in the Seattle area.
Delta Air Lines was a leader in adapting to the crisis. It’s flown health workers free. Like American and other airlines, it’s flown dedicated cargo flights to/from international destinations. It’s donating 200,000 lbs of food that were ordered for its now-closed SkyClub to needy places.
American Airlines was one of the first carriers to begin dedicating passenger aircraft to freight operations. It’s since upped its game, now operating all-cargo flights between Dallas and Hong Kong, Dublin and Frankfort; between Miami and Buenos Aires; and New York and London. Flights to Seoul and Shanghai also were added. American, following Delta’s lead, donated 81,000 lbs of food to food banks.
Airbus stepped up early to dispatch an A330-800 to China to bring back 2m masks for distribution to its workers and to health care facilities in Europe. An A400M took masks from Toulouse to Spain. More masks were sent to Mobile (AL), where Airbus has A320 and A220 final assembly lines. And it’s done this more than once.
Boeing began manufacturing reusable 3D-printed face shields. It said the first batch of 2,300 were delivered to federal authorities Friday. This initial batch was delivered to Dallas. Boeing is manufacturing thousands of these shields per week. Manufacturing is now underway at 11 cities and regions across the US.
Boeing previously donated tens of thousands of units of personal protective equipment, including face masks, goggles, gloves, safety glasses and protective bodysuits.
Boeing subsidiaries Argon ST and Aurora Flight Sciences also are participating.
The company offered the federal government use of three 747 Dreamlifters to transport goods, but apparently this hasn’t yet been tapped.
Embraer engaged with its supply chain to increase production of equipment and “solutions” to combat the virus in Brazil.
Parts manufacturing for ventilators and respirators, development of filtration systems and other actions are part of EMB’s efforts.
Many airlines across the globe dispatched airplanes to bring citizens, who were caught in other countries when borders were closed, home.
These are just some of the things the commercial aviation industry is doing in this global crisis. It’s going to be a long time before the crisis is over.