Since last March 2020, when passenger travel came to a screeching halt due to Covid, shippers and airlines were both desperate to figure out how to continue moving cargo while keeping air freight rates from skyrocketing.
Widebody aircraft were all but eliminated from daily service which is a problem for everyone involved in moving air freight because they carry close to 50% of the total air cargo in the belly of their planes under people’s feet.
While airlines flew cargo only flights with belly completely full of cargo, other airlines got creative with utilizing the passenger compartment for cargo shipments as well. Lufthansa removed all the seats, Emirates installed special seat bags and netting fixtures to hold lighter boxes. But the question remains, of all the big players like Qatar, Delta, United, Cathay Pacific, and all the other airlines, which airlines were most aggressive in shifting to cargo and operated the most passenger freighters?
According to an informal survey performed by FreightWaves, Emirates flew more than 27,800 flights in dedicated cargo mode, carrying more than 100,000 tons of essential supplies such as PPE, COVID-19 test kits, ventilators, vaccines and food.
Here’s a look at the top 10 Passenger-Freighter Rankings by number of flights.