I traveled on a Turkish Cargo A330-200 cargo flight from Istanbul to London Stansted and back. Inside the cargo plane were 64,000 kgs of fresh flowers for Valentine Day delivery. The flower came from Kenya via Istanbul to the UK. The flight provided some great insight on how to transport perishable cargo and how the cargo operation work. On the flight deck, captain Ferihan took charge of a low visibility takeoff as the weather was extremely foggy. We have some turbulence during the climb out of bad weather. I had a tour inside the Turkish A330F with crew rest and galley. It is very different when compared to passenger plane. Breakfast was served during the flight.
When we arrived in Stansted Airport. It is a race against the time to offload the fresh flowers. Those flowers will go straight to the market from the warehouse on the same day. All 64,000 kgs of cargo were offloaded in less than an hour then we had another full load of cargo to load onto the flight.
A snowstorm was approaching with gusty wind condition. The ground operation team has to quickly upload the cargo before the storm arrives. One cargo pallet was built slightly too high and couldn’t enter the plane due to the contour of the A330 fuselage. So the operation has to fix the problem on the spot to avoid a delay. The video was full of cargo operations and showed the importance of the air cargo industry to deliver the world’s supply during the pandemic. We flew back to Istanbul Ataturk airport with a beautiful approach over the city of Istanbul at night.
To me, the air cargo industry has been the underdog in aviation. Clearly, this pandemic has highlighted the importance of cargo logistics to keep the world moving. The air cargo industry always responding to rapidly changing situations or crises. I called it “Crisis Management”. It is all about problem-solving to meet end needs and deliver on-time.