13 Apr 2020

More freight-only passenger flights expected over next month

10:52 am on 13 April 2020

Eighty new flights of freight-only passenger planes are scheduled to land at Auckland Airport in the next four weeks.

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Auckland Airport. Photo: AFP

The drastic cuts to passenger flights because of Covid-19 have resulted in massive reductions in cargo capacity.

Auckland Airport's general manager of aeronautical commercial Scott Tasker said about 80 percent of airfreight to and from New Zealand is usually carried in passenger planes.

"Those reductions [in passenger flights] have resulted in a massive cut in cargo capacity, from 25,000 tonnes in April 2019 to 15,500 tonnes in April 2020.

"If you take an average wide-body plane, there'd generally have been around 320 passengers and 15 tonnes of cargo on board," he said.

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At the moment, Air New Zealand, Air China, Cathay Pacific, China Eastern Airlines, China Southern Airlines, Fiji Airways, Hainan Airlines and Korean Air are operating passenger aircraft with cargo-only loads to and from Auckland Airport.

They are carrying priority cargo including medical supplies, pharmaceuticals and parcels coming into New Zealand and respiratory equipment and fresh produce heading back out overseas.

The freight-only passenger flights are in addition to the 20 dedicated freighters that land in Auckland each week.

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