In recent months, more than 150 KLM employees have worked hard on the airline’s cargo-in-cabin concept. KLM has deployed this innovative, forward-looking cargo concept to transport more than 85 million face masks in the fight against COVID-19.
Last Thursday, the 100th cargo-in-cabin flight departed for Shanghai, accompanied by Pieter Elbers, KLM president and CEO. The aircraft deployed is one of three Boeing 747 Combi aircraft taken into operation to establish an air bridge with China, which is of enormous strategic importance to the Netherlands.
Many airlines have turned to operate passenger aircraft for cargo flights to generate income and provide capacity while passenger flights have been grounded. A large portion of the world’s cargo capacity exists in the belly of passenger flights. As such, the was a sudden scarcity of capacity when the world’s airlines grounded their fleets.
KLM’s 100th flight with cargo in the passenger cabin took place on Thursday. One of the airline’s retired Boeing 747-400M aircraft was used for the flight. KLM had retired its Boeing 747 fleet at roughtly the same time as Qantas. However, after a very short retirement, the airline brought back a handful of these aircraft specifically for cargo flights.