Turkish Airlines, cargo transport

Turkish Airlines begins using passenger planes to transport cargo

The Turkish state airline thus seeks to increase its freight capacity, which is vital at the moment to carry medicines and medical supplies around the world.

Turkish state-owned airline Turkish Airlines has begun using grounded passenger planes after the suspension of almost all its flights in order to reinforce the fleet of its air transport division, Turkish Cargo, with the aim of increasing transport of supplies and medications necessary to tackle the coronavirus pandemic and prevent any disruption in the supply chain.

In a statement issued on Wednesday, the Turkish company – which has the 6th largest air transport fleet in the world – reported that Turkish Cargo has started operating cargo transport flights using passenger aircrafts that will join its fleet of 25 large capacity transport aircrafts. A few days ago the president of the airline, İlker Aycı, confirmed that Turkish Airlines was only using 15% of its passenger planes.

Last week, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, coinciding with the announcement of a 100 billion liras stimulus package to protect the Turkish economy, promised to support the Turkish Airlines company, which has helped the Turkish government to evacuate hundreds of its citizens from other countries.

Turkish Airlines maintains its domestic flights for now, although its frequency has decreased due to falling demand. For its part, the Turkish Cargo division has increased the frequency of its flights to compensate any loss of capacity due to the limitation of flights because of the COVID-19 pandemic: in total, it has increased its capacity by 14,500 tons with 167 cargo extra flights.

Air transport, key to guarantee the supply of medicines

Recently, the International Air Transport Association (IATA) called on governments to exclude air transport from any restriction due to the new virus pandemic, with the aim of ensuring that supplies of medicines and medical supplies to combat the disease can be transported to other countries without interruption.

“In the movies, savior superheroes appear in the sky when the world is in danger. The coronavirus is not a movie, it is very real, but our hero is back in the sky. With its increased capacity, Turkish Cargo delivers medical devices to our country and also around the world,” explained Yahya Üstün, first vice president for media relations, on his Twitter account.

Last week Turkish Airlines already started to carry out the first air transport of merchandise with passenger planes, on a flight between Istanbul and Kiev (Ukraine). The company currently plans to operate similar flights to transport cargo to Bucharest, Tel Aviv, Amsterdam, London, Paris, Amman, Beirut and Dubai.