Turkish flag carrier boosts cargo capacity for medical supplies amid COVID-19 outbreak

Turkey’s national flag carrier Turkish Airlines (THY) on Wednesday said that it boosted the capacity of its cargo division to cope with the increasing demand for medical supplies amid the outbreak of COVID-19.

The THY added 14,500 tons of extra capacity from and to Turkey with additional 167 cargo flights, the carrier said at a press release.

“Turkish Cargo, a brand of the THY, continues its mission to act as a bridge that transports the much-needed medicine and medical equipment to Turkey from across the world and from Turkey to the countries that need them,” the statement said.

It added that passenger planes have also started to be used for cargo purposes “to prevent possible disruptions in the supply chain and to carry out vital health-related transports.”

“We have been mostly transforming wide-body passenger aircraft into cargo planes because of their higher capacities,” an official from the THY press office told Xinhua.

The THY has lately announced that it would suspend all its international passenger flights except those to five destinations as of March 27 over COVID-19 concerns.

“Rather than keeping these passenger planes on the ground, we decided to use them in the service of world health,” the official noted.

The carrier accomplished its first cargo flight with a B777 passenger plane from Turkey’s biggest city Istanbul to Kiev, the capital of Ukraine, on March 20.

Turkish Cargo is planning to operate cargo flights with passenger planes to Bucharest in Romania, Tel Aviv in Israel, Amsterdam in the Netherlands, London in Britain, Paris in France, Amman in Jordan, Beirut in Lebanon, and Dubai in the United Arab Emirates in the upcoming days.