The first Lufthansa passenger jet turned cargo plane landed in Frankfurt on Wednesday, carrying protective masks and other medical supplies, the company said.
The Airbus 330 was packed with 30 tons of cargo bound for Germany for the 11-hour flight from Shanghai, Lufthansa Cargo said in a statement.
By comparison, Lufthansa Cargo’s most modern jet has a capacity of 103 tons.
Because of the coronavirus crisis, Lufthansa’s 17 cargo planes are operating at full capacity as passenger jets stand still.
Lufthansa said it was considering recruiting further passenger aircraft to carry cargo.
Under normal conditions, air freight is primarily used for higher-value goods such as pharmaceuticals.
The price per kilogramme is usually about 40 times higher than sea freight.
Germany, like many countries, is scrambling to procure protective masks and medical equipment amid the COVID-19 outbreak.
Six million FFP2 particulate respirator masks, the standard recommended for health care workers by the World Health Organisation, disappeared without a trace at an airport in Kenya, the Spiegel news magazine reported on Tuesday, citing a German Defence Ministry spokesperson.
The Kenya Airports Authority (KAA) dismissed claims that the masks were lost at the airport in the capital, Nairobi.
The German Embassy in Nairobi released a statement on Wednesday clarifying that Germany was making no allegations against Kenya or Kenyan authorities.
The German Defence Ministry rejected reports that the military was involved in the loss of the 6 million face masks ordered by Germany for medical staff on the front lines of the coronavirus outbreak.
“No masks have been lost from the Bundeswehr inventory,’’ a spokesperson said at a press conference in Berlin.
The official referred questions regarding the reportedly lost order to the General Directorate of Customs, which he said placed the order in cooperation with the German army’s procurement office.
“Since the delivery was not completed, no payment was made,’’ he added.
The German Embassy in Nairobi said many shipments of medical equipment were being procured simultaneously around the globe to account for the risk associated with current strains on global supply chains.
Edited By: Halima Sheji/Emmanuel Yashim