Finnair yesterday announced a new scheme to aid the healthcare systems within both Finland and Estonia, via the conversion of two Airbus A350s for cargo operations. They have pledged to fly more than 10 return flights alone this week, to Tokyo Narita, Osaka, Shanghai, Seoul and Guangzhou. The COVID-19 has had severe implications on our whole society. As we've seen, aviation has been especially hard hit.
Managing Director of Finnair Cargo, Mikko Tainio has commented on this, admitting that “although the Coronvirus pandemic has had a significant impact on our passenger traffic, Finnair still maintains cargo connections between Europe and Asia”.
All 5 destinations are located in East Asia, presumably due to the high output of key medical supplies such as PPE, as many Transnational corporations specialising in Medical Supplies are based there. For example 3M have much of their manufacturing based in East Asia - like its Shanghai plant to name one. Furthermore, other key supplies that have been listed include SARS-COV-2 virus samples supplied by a private company, but also regularly traded goods such as fresh food produce. Tainio also touched on this, adding that “cargo traffic is crucial at the moment, and I am glad that we have been able to implement a new business model and quickly create a new freight network.”
These are clearly dire times for airlines globally. Although we will unfortunately report on airlines that have been unable to cope with the economic stress of the outbreak, it’s good to see that some airlines, despite the great financial strain, are showing that they understand they still have a moral obligation to help support the movement of key supplies that are so needed in a period such as this.