Alaska Air Cargo has proposed to use passenger jets for cargo-only flights to carry essential goods during the coronavirus (Covid-19) pandemic.

The carrier noted that operating passenger aircraft to fly cargo will help it refill the loss in capacity across the continental US and Hawaii.

On 7 April, the airline stated that it was decreasing its flying by around 80% systemwide for April and May each.

The cargo-only flights will carry goods such as mail, medical equipment, e-commerce packages and food throughout its domestic network.

Alaska Airways’ six Boeing 737-900 will be converted into cargo-only aircraft to complement the airlines’ three freighters.

Under seats, overhead bins and closets of the aircraft will be filled with boxes, mail and other items to add additional 13,500lb of cargo than what a passenger-only flight could carry.

Including the belly capacity, each flight will carry up to 30,000lb of cargo.

Alaska Air Cargo managing director Torque Zubeck said: “We’re determined to help protect the resiliency of our nation’s supply chain by connecting critical cargo to the communities we serve during this public health crisis.

“Our teams have been working tirelessly since March to identify the safest and most effective processes to increase our cargo capacity as quickly as possible.”

Two pilots and two flight attendants will be on-board these flights.

Alaska Air Cargo is awaiting approval from the Federal Aviation Administration to start flying the passenger-only aircraft across the country next month.

Confirmed cases of coronavirus have reached 3,194,663 globally while the death toll stood at 227,671.