Sweet: Jazeera Airways Flies An A320 Full Of Mangos From Pakistan To Kuwait

As restrictions continue to impact travel globally, airlines have been making do with cargo instead. On a recent flight from Karachi, Pakistan, to Kuwait City, instead of carrying passengers, a Jazeera Airways flight carried a shipment of mangoes. Everything from the seats to the overheard compartments were filled with this sweet delight.

Jazeera Airways A320
Jazeera Airways has been flying a limited schedule due to the pandemic. Photo: Getty Images

Fresh cargo

In a LinkedIn post, Jazeera Airways CEO Rohit Ramachandran shared images of the most recent cargo payload on a flight from Karachi to Kuwait. Due to Kuwaiti travel restrictions, passengers from Pakistan cannot enter the country since May, and non-nationals have been banned since February. This meant the aircraft would have to fly back devoid of passengers.

However, instead of wasting the cabin space, Jazeera decided to fill it up with fresh fruit instead. Dozens of boxes of fresh mango were securely fastened to the seats and placed in the overhead compartments. Certainly not a bad use of all those free seats!

Jazeera Airways A320neo
Airlines have routinely converted their aircraft to so-called ‘preighters,’ or passenger freighters. Photo: Anna Zvereva via Wikimedia Commons

As passenger traffic remains extremely low due to border controls and demand, airlines have been looking to cargo for revenues. One particularly popular move has been to either add cargo on seats (as Jazeera did this week) or even remove all the seats to make room for more pallets on the floor.

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Slowly resuming

Kuwait has been hit hard by COVID-19, with 304,199 positive cases and 1,755 deaths since last year. The country has also seen a surge in cases since late February, with over 1,000 daily cases for almost the last three months. This has led to the country tightening its border controls and quickly barring flights from any high-risk countries.

Currently, flights from the UK, India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, and Nepal are on the list of countries banned from flying to Kuwait. This has impacted Kuwaiti carriers, which see large amounts of passengers originate in South Asia.

Kuwait Airways A330-800
Kuwait Airways and Jazeera have both been deeply impacted by the strict and growing travel bans in place since last year. Photo: Airbus

However, there is good news too. Kuwait has given over 1.82 million doses of COVID-19 vaccines, totaling nearly 20% of the population. If these trends continue, the country could quickly have a majority of its population vaccinated and ready to reopen. However, no firm plans have been made about reopenings.

Narrowing losses

Despite the uncertain climate due to the pandemic, Jazeera Airways narrowed its losses for the first quarter of this year. The carrier reported a net loss of $17.3 million and revenues of $26.9 million. Losses were down 14% compared to the same time last year, a good sign for operations. However, an uptick in cases and restrictions in the second quarter likely mean deeper losses are expected soon.

Jazeera Airways has been flying several charter flights to bolster revenues in the last year. Photo: Getty Images

For now, keep an eye out for when Kuwait decides to ease its border controls. The next few months will likely remain challenging for airlines, with the virus showing no signs of slowing without widespread vaccine access.