As the COVID-19 pandemic severely weakens travel demand, damaged airlines are speeding up efforts to recondition unused passenger planes into cargo carriers.

Growing demand for distribution of emergency supplies, such as face masks, around the globe is also prompting aviation firms to make such moves, with some flights temporarily seeing freight unit prices more than 2½ times previous levels.

Japan Airlines Co. plans to run approximately 1,200 flights between March to May to mainly East Asia, Europe and the United States as international cargoes, as they were and will be suspended as passenger flights. According to the company, passengers’ luggage accounts for about 30 percent of the cargo area available on a plane when it carries the maximum number of passengers. The space remaining is typically used for carrying various merchandise.