Chapman Freeborn and Magma Aviation operate weekly B747F flights between the UK and UAE
For the past 70 years, our worldwide utilisation of aviation as a means of transportation has increased, almost exponentially. Aviation has become more affordable, more available and more convenient. Since the introduction of today’s longer-range narrow-body aircraft, the number of point-to point routes has increased significantly, enabling airlines to move away from the traditional hub and spoke model previously required for longer distances.
All of this extra capacity in the air also has developed into a core pillar of the air cargo industry, with many airlines subsidising their passenger operations by utilising excess belly-hold capacity for freight movements. Much of the world’s regular cargo now moves in the belly of passenger aircraft.
However, COVID-19 has, regrettably, forced many passenger operators to ground their fleets due to the sudden decrease in passenger numbers. With so many organisations relying on frequent passenger flights for capacity, demand since the grounding has increased at an unprecedented rate. This increase in demand, coupled with the requirement for PPE across the world (typically leaving China), has meant that the industry has had to adapt quickly and source out-of-the-box solutions.
Chapman Freeborn has been at the leading edge of this adaptability, utilising grounded passenger aircraft for their cargo capacity, both in the belly-hold and in the main cabin, thanks to the relationships of our passenger brokers. We have worked closely with ASG sister companies, Avion Express, SmartLynx and Klasjet to bring their passenger aircraft to the cargo market also.
For the past eight weeks, Chapman Freeborn, in conjunction with Magma Aviation, has operated weekly B747F flights on behalf of a leading supermarket in the UAE, carrying foodstuffs and perishables from the UK.
This requirement came as a direct effect of COVID-19. The supermarket would previously utilise near-daily passenger flights for their cargo requirements – keeping British expats supplied with milk, cheese, yoghurt and other home comforts.
The likelihood is these flights will continue throughout May and well into June.
Everyone involved in these flights has been exceptional including the ground handlers at both airports, the operations team at Magma and the brokers involved. However, thanks in particular to Rajesh Patel from Chapman Freeborn who has diligently received every flight in person in the UAE. Rajesh has ensured that all permits and documentation is obtained and that the cargo is correctly stored ready for its final journey to the supermarket shelves, and eventually into someone’s tea!
A true testament to the value that we bring as a group to the industry, working together to provide solutions wherever they’re needed.