London's Heathrow Airport expects to receive 70 cargo-only flights today as the coronavirus forces passenger demand downwards and cargo demand to soar.
London Heathrow has been a key player when it comes to transporting medical and relief supplies to the UK. British Airways and Virgin Atlantic (among others) have operated a good number of cargo-only flights with their passenger aircraft, providing much needed equipment during these troubling times.
The airport expects to receive 70 cargo-only flights today, carrying medical supplies. Just last week, the airport welcomed a total of 360 cargo-only flights which similarly, brought in medical equipment.
Last month, Heathrow Airport saw passenger numbers plummet by 52% after the UK initiated a nationwide lockdown. As of 14 April, the carrier's busiest cargo day was 31 March as it welcomed a total of 38 flights - a record which will be beaten today.
Heathrow Airport says that it used to handle a total of 47 cargo flights on average, each day. "Overall cargo volumes were impacted by grounded passenger fleets. During normal operations, 95% of cargo usually travels in the belly hold of passenger planes, a model which makes air freight more profitable for airlines and airports alike. However, over 100,000 metric tonnes of cargo still travelled through the airport in March, down 32.5% compared to the same time last year."
The coronavirus has not only brought about interesting aircraft in the cargo sector to London Heathrow but also passenger planes which are being used to transport cargo. Furthermore, some airlines are also looking to link key cities with domestic flights. Such is the case with regional carrier, Loganair, which flew to London Heathrow for the first time in its 58-year history following the closure of London City airport. The airline is maintaining connections between London and the Isle of Man.