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Photo: David Ramos/Getty Images

Lufthansa and Virgin Atlantic are among the many airlines opting to transition to hauling cargo — sometimes in empty passenger cabins — after the coronavirus pandemic gutted demand, the New York Times reports.

Why it matters: It's another example of how the pandemic is changing the economics of the airline industry, which has been transporting medical equipment around the word to battle the coronavirus — as well as more traditional items like mail, seafood and smartphones.

The state of play: Typically, half of all air freight is transported through companies like UPS, FedEx and DHL and the other half is in the baggage holds of passenger planes.

  • Virgin had never flown a cargo-only flight before the pandemic and is now operating 90 such flights a week.
  • American Airlines is flying nearly 140 cargo flights a week.

Yes, but: While the practice offers some momentary relief for airlines, the tenuous state of the world economy could bring a drop in demand for goods, calling freight rates to fall as well.

Go deeper: Airline industry braces for a forever-changed world

Go deeper

Updated 2 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Omicron dashboard

Illustration: Shoshana Gordon/Axios

  1. Health: Americans shrug off Omicron, Axios-Ipsos poll finds — CDC director says number of U.S. Omicron cases "likely to rise."
  2. Vaccines: Omicron gives a shot to boosters — U.S. announces $400M for global COVID vaccine distribution — Vaccine mandates lose steam in the U.S. while Europe doubles down.
  3. States: Gov. Hochul will order some NY hospitals to halt elective surgeries — Nevada to impose insurance surcharge on unvaccinated state workers.
  4. World: EU drug regulator backs mixing COVID vaccines — Poor global equity likely in COVID pill access — CDC raises travel advisories for France, Portugal to highest level amid COVID surge.
  5. Variant tracker: Where different strains are spreading.

Mark Meadows will stop cooperating with Jan. 6 panel, attorney says

Photo: Chris Kleponis/Polaris/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Former White House chief of staff Mark Meadows will no longer cooperate with the House select committee investigating the Jan. 6 Capitol insurrection, his attorney told Fox News Tuesday.

Why it matters: Meadows, who failed to appear before the panel last month, is believed to have insight into former President Trump's role in efforts to stop the certification of President Biden's election win.

Updated 6 hours ago - Economy & Business

The billionaire balloon

Data: World Inequality Report 2022; Chart: Axios Visuals

The super-rich are getting stupid rich: New data out today shows the share of global wealth held by the richest slice of humanity swelled by almost a full percentage point during the pandemic.

Driving the news: The top 0.01% of individuals now hold about 11% of the world's wealth, compared to just over 10% in 2020, according to the "World Inequality Report 2022," written by Lucas Chancel, Thomas Piketty, Emmanuel Saez and Gabriel Zucman.