Cargo Agent, Simon Hill

IAG Cargo removes seats to maximise capacity

From shifting mail bags into overhead lockers to strapping freight to seats, IAG Cargo has adapted quickly to keep supply chains moving. Now, after converting two passenger aircraft into freighters, capacity across our network has been optimised even further.

The first of the converted aircraft departed London for Beijing with passenger seats in the main cabins completely removed, greatly increasing the cargo space available on the BA777-200. With cargo also stored in the belly of the aircraft, lockers and storage spaces in the galleys, we were able to make way for approximately 1100 boxes of PPE and medical equipment from China to be transported back to the United Kingdom.

Of course, with new configurations come new measures to ensure freight arrives in perfect condition. In order to safely load and secure cargo into Club World, World Traveller Plus and World Traveller, designated cargo agent Simon Hill travelled on board as part of the crew, working with a human chain of ground handling agents and an IRS loader to fulfil all CAA requirements, including monitoring and conducting regular freight checks every 30 minutes throughout the journey.

Thanks to the specialist training of our team, IAG Cargo uses the floor runners normally reserved for seats in place of pallets, followed by a new and highly meticulous procedure of building and netting all sizes and shapes on board. Once secured by hand, each and every unit is signed off as fit to travel, and the weight and balance of the plane is assessed down to the very last kilo. This coupled with quarantine measures in China preventing crew from disembarking the aircraft – as well as an extremely tight turnaround time – made a perfectly executed getaway all the more victorious for teams across the business working in tandem to streamline the process.

A select group of cargo agents will continue to travel as crew on IAG Cargo’s daily Beijing service to deliver critical supplies. To find out more about our role in the fight against COVID-19, click here.