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Sri Lankan to operate cargo flights to 27 destinations in Coronavirus crisis

ECONOMYNEXT – State-run SriLankan Airlines said it will operate cargo flights to 27 destinations using passenger aircraft with expanded cargo capacity starting from May 18 with Colombo airport still closed for incoming passenger aircraft amid a Coronavirus crisis.

Destination include London and Frankfurt in Europe; Chinese cities of Beijing, Shanghai and Guangzhou (Canton); Melbourne in Australia; Singapore and Tokyo (Narita) in the Far East and Doha and Dubai in the Middle East

In South Asia SriLankan will fly to the Maldivian capital Male, Bangladeshi capital Dhaka and several cities in India where SriLankan has for many years been the largest foreign carrier.

“We have no doubt that every single export industry will benefit from this …initiative that we plan to launch on May 18th, at a time when most other airlines are keeping their fleets grounded and global trade by air is under a lockdown situation,” Sri Lanka Airlines chairman Ashok Pathirage said in a statement.

At the moment only Qatar Airlines is operating scheduled passenger flights out of Colombo. After the airport was closed for incoming passengers Cathay Pacific was operating all – cargo aircraft regularly while SriLankan also operated cargo flights.

SriLankan however does not have all-cargo jets. But passenger aircraft have a hold beneath the passenger cabin to carry baggage and cargo.

SriLankan said it will use its existing A320 and A330 aircraft with expanded cargo capacity beyond the usual space in its cargo holds.

During the crisis many airlines had loaded and securited medical supplies and other light cargo in to passenger cabins. (Colombo/May06/2020)