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Image: ANA

With no passengers, ANA fills every seat on plane with masks and medical supplies

By Casey Baseel, SoraNews24

Thanks to the coronavirus outbreak, the simple act of going stepping out your front door has become something to stop and ask yourself “Do I really need to?” about. And If leaving your house or apartment has become a questionable decision, that goes double for leaving the country.

As a result, airlines have a lot of empty seats these days, as pleasure travel plans are pretty much on hold worldwide and businesspeople are conducting as much of their business as they can online. However, on Wednesday Japanese carrier All Nippon Airways’ flight from Shanghai to Tokyo’s Haneda airport had every seat filled…even though there were no human passengers aside from the flight crew.

Instead, strapped into the seats were boxes of masks, testing kits, and other medical supplies to be used to help combat the coronavirus in Japan. According to ANA, by utilizing the 192 seats of the Boing 787-9’s passenger space in this manner, they’re able to boost the plane’s cargo capacity by 40 percent.


The initiative came about when ANA noticed that the drop-off in air travel that was causing carriers to remove flights from their schedules has also created a shortage of air freight capacity. Earlier this month, ANA Flight 968 (the Shanghai-to-Haneda route) began using the passenger cabin’s overhead storage bins to carry masks and other medical supplies, and now the program has evolved to what’s shown in the above interior photos and the video below.

With no clear timeline as to when normal air travel patterns will return, ANA says it plans to expand the program to other routes in the near future.

Source: ANA

Read more stories from SoraNews24.

-- A ‘Star Wars’-themed jet is flying across the world — here’s what it looks like inside

-- ANA sends over 5,000 passengers to their destinations without luggage in one day

-- Japan officially declared coronavirus-infected nation by Micronesia, travel restrictions enacted

© SoraNews24

©2024 GPlusMedia Inc.

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Each box got a complimentary bag of Raging Peanuts and a soft drink.

No seriously, would it not have been more efficient to remove the seats and fill the whole space up?

0 ( +12 / -12 )

Wow, adapting to the current situation, and trying new things, instead of doing the same routine for no reason! What an original idea!!!!

take note, Japan..........

12 ( +13 / -1 )

And no doubt out of the goodness of their hearts and out of charity they have offered to fly the medical supplies for free.

-12 ( +3 / -15 )

Surprised they couldn't take out the seats and stack a lot more on the plane. Love how they buckled them in though.

0 ( +7 / -7 )

What an unbelievably stupid and efficient way to fly these things. Cargo planes could have carried much more volumes for the amount of fuel it burned.

-14 ( +3 / -17 )

@Tom How much money do they have to pay if they have to remove the seats and install it back again when normal flying resume? Those procedures aren't free. By using the seats as is shown I think it'd be more cost-efficient for the airline.

9 ( +11 / -2 )

I live along the Keisei Line and we have to stop at the barriers to let the completely empty Skyliner have priority while forcing many people to gather needlessly waiting for it to pass through the station.Also many people travelling on local Keisei trains have to wait untold minutes at stations to let the aforesaid trans through.It is mind boggling that they haven't been cancelled yet......will take months of meetings I guess.

-3 ( +2 / -5 )

Freighters right now worldwide are SUPER busy & insanely expensive, ditto for airfreight on passenger flights

Rates have easily gone up around 200-500% & climbing, so yeah ANA will be getting a high price for each of those cardboard boxes..... BUT there is no way that revenue will help much with so many flights cancelled etc.

Airline business is going to be a different animal after this virus, who knows where we will end up in that regard!

3 ( +5 / -2 )

This is happening all over the world on many many airlines. That cargo hold will be full also. The actual cargo flights to many destinations are rammed full already as the excess cargo space on most passenger planes no longer exists as they are NOT flying. So - Christian what you say is not actually true. The airlines are making some revenue from somwhere - good for them.

@geronimo: The smaller planes such as the 737's and the 767's that ANA have can be reconfigured pretty quickly - but the newer 787's not, as half the planes seats (the biz section) are fixed in place, not on rails like previously. Its not cost effective.

smith - why do you just have to make a negative comment?

2 ( +6 / -4 )

christian weber:

What an unbelievably stupid and efficient way to fly these things


4 ( +4 / -0 )

When will Japan begin to make its own PPE gain?

1 ( +1 / -0 )

OK then when are we gonna be able to get masks at decent prices (if not free!)? I am not talking about Abenomasks, filthy or not. But I am not talking about masks sold by big companies like Sharp either - masks that seem overpriced.

If there was a pilot in the plane Japan, the government would request industrial companies such as Sharp to make masks and other much needed material and DISTRIBUTE THEM FOR FREE.

It is a matter of PUBLIC HEALTH!

To see the light at the end of the tunnel, no need to be an epidemiologist to know that the general population needs to:

. Wear masks

. Be tested much, much, much more (duh)

. Follow basic social distancing and personal hygiene (at least this is free but do you see CAMPAIGNS to promote and explain that? I am asking because apparently most people here don't seem to understand what is going on around the world)

The above may not be sufficient but it is necessary.

I suppose there is no equivalent of the US Defense Production Act in Japan (perhaps a Japanese person would confirm that?) but surely not much common sense either. And that, too, is free.

In the meantime we are waiting for masks (and I am not talking about PPE for the healthcare people). 4 months and running, into this crisis.

Still no masks. No leadership either. And people stoically accept that. ENOUGH already! Wake up Japan!

0 ( +3 / -3 )

Air Canada has already removed the seats on 3 Boeing 777s, and uses nets to secure the lightweight but bulky cargo. They can also carry up to 25 tons on pallettes in the regualr cargo hold. Freight costs are 4-5 times higher. It also lets the 777 pilots retain their type rating, needing at least 3 take-offs and touch-downs every 90 days.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

1 who’s paying 2. Why not use the overhead compartments too.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

Is this a news story or a sponsored content piece? It's difficult to tell....

2 ( +5 / -3 )

Love the seatbelts. I just hope the cargo hold underneath the plane is also full...

0 ( +2 / -2 )

@Alfie:It ain't for free. Do you want o travel when this is over?

2 ( +3 / -1 )

Pls write fairly on both airlines jal & ana. Not just one airline, yes, this not free service.

-4 ( +0 / -4 )

I wonder if they put boxes in the first and buisness class sections too. Hmm, probably too expensive.

0 ( +2 / -2 )

I still have not received my Abenomask

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Wow, adapting to the current situation, and trying new things, instead of doing the same routine for no reason! What an original idea!!!!

take note, Japan..........

You DO know what ANA stands for, right?

2 ( +3 / -1 )

I love ANA. Great job to both men and women.

6 ( +6 / -0 )

It's a good idea and every little bit helps. International deliveries are generally taking longer because there are far fewer flights than usual so good on ANA for thinking outside the cargo hold and doing something to improve efficiency while helping deliver these important items that are urgently needed.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Even before this, there were lots of empty seats on the last two ANA flights I was on from the West Coast to Narita. Not sure how well they were doing before CoVid.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

For those who are wondering why they couldn’t take the seats out, maybe it goes against company policy or something? Or maybe it just wasn’t feasible considering the kind of plane they were using? By the way, I lean towards this reason that they just didn’t think about it.

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

Maybe they could use some of their aircraft for international mail, so that Japan Post can resume international mail and package service? That would be nice.

I just paid DHL a fortune to send a document.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Every flight thru 2019 I've ever taken from CA to NRT or KIX on JAL, ANA, or United has always been full or near full.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

@Jcosplay: You would be incorrect in leaning towards the reason they "didn't think about' ANA already has a fleet of cargo dedicated planes - its actually a separate company. The plane they used in the photo is a 787 - the business section of these places uses fixed cubicle style seating which takes a long time to install and therefore a long to remove also. I did mention this above. Some of their older fleet (767's) most of which have now retired ,it would have been possible to do this. Its also economically feasible on the small A320's and 737's which have seating which is easy to reconfigure on the day for passenger load - remove rows etc.

Air Canada have indeed stripped some of their 777 fleet of all passenger seating - a costly process, but they have quite clearly stated that they don't see these much larger planes being commercially viable to fly with passengers at least until the summer of 2021.

@garypen: I hear you - It is becoming frustrating for a lot of people and lot of reasons the suspension of international mail. A sad by-product of the current circumstances. Unfortunately - it's a VERY marginal business for the airlines at the rates they are paid to carry mail. You are right about loads on passenger planes oner the recent years - so many flights full. The industry had only really just recovered from the 2008 financial crisis and now faces something much worse.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

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