Ethiopian Airlines marked one year of operations of using passenger aircraft as freighters with this announcement:
On March 25 of last year, Ethiopian Airlines operated its first cargo only service on a passenger aircraft with its Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner.
The flight departed on March 25, 2020 from Addis Ababa to Kinshasa carrying more than 16 tons of much-needed PPE and other shipments inside the cabin and the belly of the aircraft.
Following the sharp decline in passenger number due to the pandemic, Ethiopian swiftly shifted focus to cargo operations and became among the very few pioneers to load cargo on passenger aircraft’s cabin. Immediately afterwards, Ethiopian demonstrated remarkable agility in its response to the increased cargo demand in the wake of the pandemic by reconfiguring 25 passenger aircraft into freighters using its own internal MRO capabilities and distributed the muchneeded Personal Protective Equipment and medical supplies across the globe. A year since its first “Preighter” operation, Ethiopian has operated 5,645 Cargo flights on the cabin of passenger aircraft and transported more than 121,750 tons of cargo across its vast global network. The flights added an immense value to the total of 33,182 flights and 735,869 tons of cargo transported during the period from March 25, 2020 to March 25,2021.