COVID-19: Dubai airport letting more flights to bring in food and medicines

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Coronavirus precaution: Cargo operations stepped up at Dubai airport

DUBAI: Dubai International (DXB) is facilitating an increase in the number of cargo flights to boost the volume of perishables and pharmaceuticals coming in to maintain Dubai’s supply chains during challenging times.

During March 2020, the volume of fruit and vegetables handled at DXB increased by 88.5 per cent (18,164 tonnes) year on year, while the volume of pharmaceuticals also increased by 49.4 per cent (12,500 tonnes) driven mainly by increased global demand for medical supplies and equipment as a result of the COVID-19 outbreak. The volume of meat products also grew by 17.8 per cent to 8,050 tonnes during the month.

Paul Griffiths, CEO of Dubai Airports, said “We have moved quickly to facilitate the replacement of cargo capacity that is normally provided in the underfloor cargo holds of passenger aircraft by accommodating a number of dedicated cargo flights to keep the supply of food, supplies and equipment flowing into the UAE during the current unprecedented global crisis.”

Intensive sanitisation

Airlines have moved quickly to mobilise cargo flights between DXB and other cities all over the world. On April 1, Emirates SkyCargo moved their cargo operations on a temporary basis from Dubai World Central (DWC) to commence operations of its 11-strong B777 freighter aircraft at DXB. Emirates have supplemented the SkyCargo fleet by adding several Boeing 777 passenger aircraft from its fleet to increase the amount of cargo uplift available. A total of 12 carriers are currently operating an average of 110 daily cargo flights at DXB.

As part of its efforts to ensure public health, DXB is taking stringent measures to ensure the intensive sanitisation of the cargo and the freight facilities.