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Shanghai, China - China Eastern Airlines has announced that it would modify 13 A330 passenger aircraft to transport cargo in the passenger cabins to increase cargo capacity.

Eight of the 13 aircraft have already begun operations. The Chinese operator also launched a new cargo route in Apr-2020 between Shenzhen and Los Angeles.

"Since the outbreak of the epidemic, China Eastern has relied on the comprehensive strength of global operations for many years to open up the "air life channel" for global anti-epidemic and the "green channel for materials" to support the world,"

The airline said in a statement.


Due to the impact of the epidemic, the domestic and international air transport markets have undergone significant changes. The passenger transport market has fallen sharply in the short term, while the demand for freight has increased explosively. In the face of huge market demand, China Eastern quickly changed its position. On the basis of the original 9 all-cargo aircrafts, it invested in passenger aircraft to participate in cargo transportation tasks. It has urgently converted 10 aircraft, and plans to convert to 14 wide-body passenger aircraft. The largest "customer to cargo" modified wide-body fleet. The number of all-cargo planes, modified planes and other international cargo flights currently put on the market by China Eastern Airlines has reached more than 300 flights per week. It is expected that more than 1,300 cargo flights will be executed in May,

Other airlines around the world are making similar moves. American Airlines operated its first cargo-only flight in 36 years in March and more is coming. Delta Air Lines and United Airlines are also transporting cargo in the passenger cabins, mostly on transatlantic routes, while also keeping the belly cargo moving on their remaining passenger flights.

Air Canada, Lufthansa, and Cathay Pacific are also amongst the major airlines to temporarily convert their passenger jets to freighters.

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