Red tape holding up medical supplies, airlines say
PARIS (Reuters) - Red tape is holding up medical and other emergency supplies needed to help tackle the coronavirus crisis, airlines warn. While airlines around the world have grounded the bulk of their passenger fleets, demand for air freighters has hit record levels because the alternative option of using the cargo space inside passenger planes is no longer available. About 45-50% of air cargo usually travels in the bellies of long-haul passenger planes
PARIS (Reuters) - Red tape is holding up medical and other emergency supplies needed to help tackle the coronavirus crisis, airlines warn.
While airlines around the world have grounded the bulk of their passenger fleets, demand for air freighters has hit record levels because the alternative option of using the cargo space inside passenger planes is no longer available.
About 45-50% of air cargo usually travels in the bellies of long-haul passenger planes.
But the rapid spread of airspace and travel restrictions to help contain the disease has in turn resulted in bottlenecks for cargo traffic, some of which involves medical and emergency supplies, the International Air Transport Association (IATA) said.
Examples includes two shipments, each containing about five to 10 tonnes of medical supplies, bound for Latin America and currently held up in Dubai and India.
"Those are just two examples that have crossed my desk in the last 24 hours," Glyn Hughes, global head of air cargo at IATA, told reporters.
The airline body, which represents most of the world's large carriers, called earlier in the week for government action to ease cargo bottlenecks.
Somalia and Djibouti have already eased a total flight ban which had seen medical supplies being held up, Hughes said.
Faced with tumbling passenger revenues, many airlines including three major U.S. carriers have begun chartering out wide-bodied jets for use on cargo-only missions.
Figures to be published next week will show global air freight traffic fell around 10% in February, putting it on course for a 15-20% drop for the year as a whole, Hughes said.
(Reporting by Tim Hepher; editing by Jason Neely and Mark Potter)
This story has not been edited by Firstpost staff and is generated by auto-feed.
By Robin Emmott and John Irish | BRUSSELS/PARIS BRUSSELS/PARIS France and Germany will agree to a U.S. plan for NATO to take a bigger role in the fight against Islamic militants at a meeting with President Donald Trump on Thursday, but insist the move is purely symbolic, four senior European diplomats said.The decision to allow the North Atlantic Treaty Organization to join the coalition against Islamic State in Syria and Iraq follows weeks of pressure on the two allies, who are wary of NATO confronting Russia in Syria and of alienating Arab countries who see NATO as pushing a pro-Western agenda."NATO as an institution will join the coalition," said one senior diplomat involved in the discussions. "The question is whether this just a symbolic gesture to the United States
BEIJING Chinese President Xi Jinping on Wednesday called for greater efforts to make the country's navy a world class one, strong in operations on, below and above the surface, as it steps up its ability to project power far from its shores.China's navy has taken an increasingly prominent role in recent months, with a rising star admiral taking command, its first aircraft carrier sailing around self-ruled Taiwan and a new aircraft carrier launched last month.With President Donald Trump promising a US shipbuilding spree and unnerving Beijing with his unpredictable approach on hot button issues including Taiwan and the South and East China Seas, China is pushing to narrow the gap with the U.S. Navy.Inspecting navy headquarters, Xi said the navy should "aim for the top ranks in the world", the Defence Ministry said in a statement about his visit."Building a strong and modern navy is an important mark of a top ranking global military," the ministry paraphrased Xi as saying.