MIAMI – Emirates SkyCargo (EK) has provided an update on its first year of carrying Personal Protective Equipment (PPE), medical supplies, and other urgent items in Cargo Seat Bags (CSB) and overhead bins on board its Boeing 777-300ER aircraft.

In response to the urgent demand to carry PPE during the first wave of the Covid-19 pandemic in 2020, the EK cargo division adjusted its operational procedure to carry certain types of cargo in the aircraft cabin on passenger seats and in baggage compartments to provide more capacity for urgent cargo movements.

In one year, the Dubai-based airline has operated more than 3,100 flights with cargo loaded on CSB and in baggage compartments, carrying more than 11,000 tons of critical cargo. It is the equivalent volume of more than 800,000 aircraft seats, as stated by the airline, and EK continues to “see significant demand for carrying PPE and other cargo inside its cabins.”

"Emirates Skycargo, see significant demand for carrying PPE and other cargo inside its cabins." Emirates SkyCargo Click To Tweet

To safely load cargo onto the seats and into the overhead bins of a passenger aircraft, it had to quickly conduct a safety risk assessment. This led to the development of a set of procedures to guide Dubai crews and EK SkyCargo ground handling partners on the most efficient and safe method of loading and securing cargo in passenger cabins.

Emirates Skycargo Boleing 777-300ER Passenger Cabin with packages loaded in Cargo Seat bags – Photo : Emirates Skycargo

Shipping of Personal Protective Equipment


EKmiratesSkyCargo has also developed a specific calculation application that allows crews around the world to measure the optimum loading capacity inside the aircraft cabin. These procedures also specify the maximum weight and dimensions of different packages, as well as the types of cargo that can be allowed inside the cabin and additional safety guidelines.

Particular attention is being given to perishable cargo to be loaded on seats and in overhead bins that must be lined with leak-free interior protection in order to ensure safety during transport. A special cover for the seats of its Boeing 777-300ER aircraft has been devised to prevent accidental damage to the interior of the aircraft, including individual entertainment screens.

PPE and other medical supplies are typically the most common items carried on CSB and in cargo holds. The nature of these commodities allows for the use of smaller individual containers and so facilitate handling and loading of the aircraft. Other, more common cargo, including clothing, dry food, dental equipment, and sporting goods, have also been carried in CSB.

Emirates SkyCargo has continued to play a major role in moving goods and necessities during the COVID-19 pandemic, thanks to its fast and flexible approach and close collaboration with its customers,” it notes. Currently, the cargo carrier connects more than 135 cities on six continents with weekly scheduled flights.


Featured image: Emirates Skycargo Boeing 777F A6-EFJ. Photo: Ervin eslami/Airways