Asiana converts 2 more passenger jets for cargo transport

SEOUL: Asiana Airlines Inc., South Korea’s second-biggest carrier, said Monday it has converted two additional passenger jets into cargo planes to offset a sharp decline in air travel demand amid the coronavirus pandemic.

Asiana has converted two more A350-900 passenger jets into cargo carriers to meet cargo-transporting demands in Asia, Europe and the United States, Yonhap news agency quoting the company as saying in a statement.

“The company is putting a bigger focus on winning more air cargo deals to survive the Covid-19 pandemic,” the statement said.

The company already converted two A350-900s and two B777-200ERs into cargo planes last year.

The move is in line with moves by global airlines, which are now using their passenger planes for cargo flights, either by using cargo seat bags or removing seats.

Cargo-carrying demand has jumped since last year as countries maintain strict entry restrictions on incoming passengers amid virus fears.

Increased cargo demand helped airlines offset a sharp decline in air travel demand in their 2020 earnings.

Asiana’s net losses narrowed to 404.51 billion won ($367 million) last year from 817.89 billion won a year earlier as it had employees take unpaid leave, streamlined overseas operations and focused on winning cargo deals. – Bernama