Heathrow becomes a cargo hub amid scramble to fly in medical supplies like ventilators and PPE
Heathrow has become a cargo hub as the number of passengers has plummeted.
Flights by freight-only planes using the airport rose fivefold last month. Heathrow usually only handles 47 of these a week but is now handling 300 weekly as the Government scrambles to fly in medical devices such as ventilators and personal protective equipment.
Virgin Atlantic and British Airways are among airlines to set up freight services.
Heathrow usually only handles 47 freight-only planes a week but is now handling 300 a week
But the rise did not make up for the amount of goods that are normally carried in passenger planes, with total cargo volumes in March falling 32 per cent.
The number of passengers using the airport, which is usually the busiest in Europe, will fall 90 per cent in April.
In March, take-offs and landings fell by 35 per cent as passenger numbers more than halved to 3.1m.
In a typical year, 80m passengers pass through Heathrow, which is owned by a group including Spain’s Ferrovial and China’s Investment Corp.
About 76,500 people work at the airport, which is urging international authorities to agree health-screening standards quickly so the travel industry can rapidly recover when the crisis recedes.