Mail flies in passenger cabins with IAG Cargo

The Royal Mail has recently recorded a strong demand in its parcel business, largely fuelled by an increase in e-commerce and online shopping. But with more orders, how do you ensure packages arrive at their desired destination?

Maximising available space across our network has become one of our most significant priorities. Working with British Airways, collaboration across the group saw the first ever mail loaded into the cabin of a BA passenger aircraft on 8th April from London to Toronto. 

On BA99F, 4 units holding 138 bags at 603kgs were broken down and loaded into overhead lockers that are normally used to store passenger baggage.

Using passenger cabins for cargo comes with a variety of operational challenges. For example, cargo-loading equipment is designed to lift cargo pallets and air cargo ULDs to the cargo-hold of an aircraft and not to the height of the passenger cabin. As such, at IAG Cargo, we’ve employed catering trucks which are capable of commercial high-loading. Once they were in the galley, a dedicated loading team then distributed the mail bags into overhead lockers, taking into consideration the respective weight limit allowed for each locker – all of which vary throughout the aircraft.

The change in scope of an aircraft when there is cargo in the passenger cabin also requires cabin crew to be on board to ensure compliance with fire safety regulation, walking the cabin every 15 minutes.

Coming up with a creative solution in less than a week that would maintain the integrity of our Airmail product was a hugely collaborative success, pulling together the combined strength of teams across IAG Cargo and British Airways’ procurement, operations and safety.

To find out more about the ways IAG Cargo is responding to change in light of current circumstances, click here.