D esperate times, desperate measures.” Ethan Hunt (portrayed by global superstar Tom Cruise) in Hollywood blockbuster Mission Impossible uses this adage to underline what it takes to deal with an extraordinary and adverse situation.
The aviation business, it would seem, is learning fast. With passenger aircraft being turned into cargo planes to service demand, especially for medical supplies, that has hit the roof.
According to an IATA (International Air Transport Association) estimate, airlines across the globe may incur losses of over $250 billion this year. And recovery from business disruption may take up to two years.
Converting a small part of their passenger fleet into cargo planes is unlikely to compensate for a large part of losses, but it is an opportunity to run aircraft commercially in desperate times, instead of having them stand idle at the airport.
Carriers like American, Delta, Lufthansa, and Air Canada have taken the lead in re-configuring passenger fleet to carry cargo. IATA has also issued specific guidelines to airlines, stating safety standards and measures to be taken when cargo is ferried in passenger cabins, with warnings against the transport of dangerous goods or live animals in cabins.
"It is critical for governments to remove any blockers as the industry is doing all it can to keep the global air cargo network functioning in the crisis," said Alexandre de Juniac, IATA's Director General and CEO.
Indian carriers like SpiceJet too are emulating such global examples. Away from the public gaze, other carriers like Air India, Indigo, and freight specialist Blue Dart have intensified regular cargo services.
esperate times, desperate measures.” Ethan Hunt (portrayed by global superstar Tom Cruise) in Hollywood blockbuster Mission Impossible uses this adage to underline what it takes to deal with an extraordinary and adverse situation.