In what is likely a first for the aircraft type, SWISS International Airlines is considering converting three of its Boeing 777s to what is effectively a combi configuration which includes both passengers and cargo.
SWISS Boeing 777-300ER. Photo by Cole McAndrew │ AeroNewsX
The airline says it is examining the possibility of removing all Economy Class seats on three of its 777s to make room for cargo.
The move, which would see more than 800 seats removed at the airline's Zurich hub, would 'help ensure consistent and regular goods deliveries and thereby help keep Switzerland optimally connected with the world in the difficult present condition',
Since late-March, SWISS has operated in excess of 80 cargo-only services, with plans to operate nearly 100 more between now and the end of May. This would also ensure essential supplies and cargo are transported to keep certain global supply chains running.
Over the coming weeks, SWISS will maintain new connections between Zurich and Shanghai (up to three times daily), Beijing (up to twice daily), Chicago and Tokyo (twice weekly) in addition to Bangkok and Singapore (once weekly), it says. The carrier says it is also looking at other destinations to add to this list.
The national airline is a key contributor to Switzerland's economy and health industry, especially during this crisis. However, revenues and travel demand have dropped significantly. Many airlines say they will struggle to sustain such operations without financial aid. Switzerland has yet to receive state aid.