KLM operates first cargo flight with passenger aircraft

Following the footsteps of many airlines across the globe, KLM Royal Dutch Airlines has operated its first cargo-only flight with a passenger aircraft. The flight operated from Shanghai to Amsterdam carrying medical supplies.

Onboard the KLM Boeing 777-300ER which operated the service from Shanghai. Photo by KLM.

A KLM Boeing 777-300ER operated a service from Shanghai to Amsterdam with cargo 'on the passenger seats, in its belly and in the baggage bins of the aircraft cabin'. The flight marked KLM's commitment to supporting industries during these unprecedented times.

KLM, however, has been quite late in initiating such flights with passenger aircraft - with some airlines, like Air Canada and Lufthansa, reacting to the surge in cargo demand by removing seats in the passenger cabins of a handful of their planes to boost capacity for freight.

More recently, Austrian Airlines announced that it would be partly converting two of its Boeing 777s to boost cargo capacity. SWISS International Airlines has also recently revealed interest in following the footsteps of its fellow Lufthansa Group airlines.

The International Air Transport Association recently announced that pharmaceutical shipments had doubled in volume in comparison to last year. CargoLogicAir had, in February, suspended operations for a period of three months. However, it recently withdrew those plans and returned to flying after a surge in cargo demand prompted a resumption - this just demonstrates how significant the cargo sector is at the moment.

KLM Boeing 777-300ER taking off from New York's JFK International Airport. Photo by Andrew Pries | AeroNewsX

The aircraft that operated this service was PH-BVR, a Boeing 777-300ER. Flight time was just over 11 hours, arriving at Amsterdam just 10 minutes late, FlightRadar24 data shows.

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