TRANSPORTING more than 11,000 tonnes of personal protective equipment (PPE) on charter flights propelled IAG Cargo’s 2020 second quarter commercial revenues to €369m – an increase of 33.1 per cent on the same period in 2019 at constant currency, writes Thelma Etim.

During the period from 1 April to 30 June, 2020 – in the depths of the pandemic – overall yields were up 224.7 per cent, despite the extra costs associated with cargo-only flying and operating dedicated charters and a significantly changed flights programme, a statement reveals.

Lynne Embleton, chief executive at IAG Cargo, explains how the second quarter was dominated by the health pandemic. “We rapidly developed one of the most comprehensive networks of scheduled cargo-only flights available; a network of over 340 scheduled flights per week built around our customers’ needs and tailored to the most important cargo flows.

How IAG Cargo met the COVID challenge ‘head on’

Lynne Embleton, chief executive of IAG Cargo

“We reconfigured aircraft to maximise cargo capacity, removing seats and using overhead lockers. These were important capacity solutions, albeit ones that brought additional operational complexity and cost,” she adds.

In the period, the carrier operated 615 charters, including 416 ‘critical supply operations’ for the British, Irish and Spanish authorities.

“To-date we have helped governments and private customers transport over 11,000 tonnes of PPE and medical supplies on these charters.

We also saw additional PPE tonnage transported across our scheduled flights. In short, we have met the challenge of COVID-19 head on,” she stresses.

The pandemic is continuing to greatly effect the air cargo industry and businesses at large. “For aviation, this is most clearly evident in the sustained restrictions on passenger movements and, for cargo specifically, with its impact on the global economy,” Embleton observes.

“It has been a busy and challenging three months.”

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