Boxes Take a Seat

Boxes Take a Seat

More airlines are joining the “passenger freighter network” to use their passenger aircrafts to deliver cargo, as demand for passenger travel dwindles in the wake of COVID-19.

Major airlines in the U.S., including American, United, and Delta, and their global partners such as British Airways, Korean Airlines, Lufthansa, and Qantas, are dedicating freight capacity for cargo operations to keep global supply chains from food to medical supplies open.

Video Spotlight: American Airlines transports medical cargo from U.S. to Europe (Mar 20, 2020, WPLG Local 10)

This post is based on the Forbes article, More Airlines Are Stuffing Cargo Into Passenger Seats To Counter Coronavirus Slump, by Cathy Buyck, March 26, 2020, and the YouTube video in the Spotlight. Image source: Digital Vision/SuperStock

Discussion Questions:

1. How does COVID-19 affect capacity planning decisions for airlines?

Guidance: As governments all over the world respond to the COVID-19 pandemic by closing borders, all passenger services to and from the countries are temporarily suspended.  Airlines now find themselves with excess capacity as demand for passenger travel dwindles.

2. How do airlines address excess passenger capacity in the midst of COVID-19 pandemic?

Guidance:  While the demand for passenger travel diminishes, the demand for food, medical supplies and equipment as well as ecommerce is soaring.  To keep global supply chains of these goods open, airlines form a “passenger freighter network” to deploy their passenger aircrafts as cargo freighters on previously high-volume passenger routes.


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