SAUDIA CARGO has operated more than 1,500 ‘freighter’ flights since the COVID-19 restrictions came into effect in March, the flag carrier of Saudi Arabia reveals.
Cargo-only passenger aircraft were utilised for about 500 of the record number of services, writes Thelma Etim.
Between March and June, Saudia transported some 75,000 tonnes of vital shipments to the Kingdom, which included medical items and personal protective equipment (PPE), to support the Saudi health authorities’ efforts to prevent the spread of the virus in the region, says a company statement.
Omar Hariri, chief executive of Saudia Cargo, points out: “The company has mobilised its vast logistics resources to ensure the smooth delivery of medical shipments to the Kingdom and has established an integrated cargo ‘air bridge’ specifically for this purpose.”
The company operated a combined fleet of freighter and passenger aircraft in the campaign “and enhanced all of those operations specifically related to the air transportation of medical equipment and medicines to the Kingdom in order to mitigate the economic and health impact of COVID-19,” Hariri notes.
In coordination with the Saudi Arabian Airlines Corporation, employing passenger aircraft on cargo-only flights, which included carrying freight shipments in the cabins, positively aided the airline’s ability to create a cargo ‘air bridge’ for transporting essential supplies and commodities to ensure the Kingdom’s markets and supply chain demands were consistently met, outlines the statement.
Whilst safeguarding the health and safety of its staff, Saudia has now increased the number of flights it operates to global destinations and key airfreight markets in the Middle East, Europe, Africa, Asia and the United States regions, it adds.