Biman Bangladesh Airlines in a rapid move has extended its cargo operations to passenger compartments by converting idle passenger flights into air freighters.
The state-owned airlines taken the decision following surge in demand from local manufacturers for timely shipments as well transportation of government medical equipment also rise.
Global air cargo capacity shrank by 22.7 percent in March compared to the same month in the previous year, according to latest data of the International Air Transport Association (IATA).
Biman launched its first full cargo flight with its Boeing 777 passenger aircraft on May 15, 2020 at 7pm which carry medical equipment from China to Maldives and then returned with 353 Bangladeshis from its last destination, according to Biman.
Biman Managing Director Md Mokabbir Hossain told Business Mirror that as passenger flight operations remain suspended due to the pandemic, Biman has converted its idle passenger aircraft into cargo planes to develop business amid the rising demand of freight services.
“Biman however, got approval from the Civil Aviation Authority of Bangladesh (CAAB) and the manufacturer of the aircraft Boeing Before starting full cargo operations with passenger aircraft,” Mr. Mokabbir said.
Following the request from Biman, CAAB issued a guideline on April 13 allowing local and foreign operators to carry cargo in passenger compartments – subject to maintaining relevant safety measures to prevent damaging seats – during the ongoing Covid-19 crisis.
Passenger flight operations have been suspended till May 30 in Bangladesh to curb the spread of novel coronavirus, but cargo flight operations remain normal.