Airbus has developed a solution for the modification of existing widebody aircraft for pure cargo operations.
|Airbus A350 and A330 can now be converted into freighter within days Photo:|
According to Airbus, the manufacturer is offering this modification to its A350 and A330 widebody users by easily removing the passenger seats and installing freight pallets onto the cabin floor seat tracks directly.
This newly developed modification will allow passenger Airbus widebodies to be used as a freighter temporarily, minimizing demand for air cargo during this corona virus pandemic.
This conversion will help airlines to generate revenue, utilizing the currently grounded aircraft and also help minimize the global shortage of ‘belly-freight’ air cargo capacity due to grounding of long-haul aircraft.
This solution will also help the industry to address the increasing demand for humanitarian flights to transport huge quantity of vital medical kits and other supplies to places where they are needed.
|Freight pallets will be installed by removing seats Photo: Airbus|
Some of the Airbus widebody operators are already using the A330 and A350 as a cargo mover, keeping the seats in place and simply loading cargo onto seats.
However, this new modification will facilitate easier and quicker loading and uploading along with less ‘wear & tear’ to the seats themselves.
The features like robust fire protection and the 9g load resistance capability of the aircraft will avoid anything from shifting on-board.
|Currently, airlines are loading cargo on seats Photo: Lufthansa|
As per reports, around 45-50% of air cargo had been carried in the belly of passenger jets normally rather than dedicated freighters.
According to Flightglobal, about 30 pallets can be accommodated on an A350, while 28 pallets can be carried on an A330.
Germany’s Lufthansa Technik, Canada’s Avianor, Hong Kong’s HAECO and Belgium’s Akka Technologies are among the popular companies carrying similar conversions and adding nets.
|The Airbus A350 can accommodate 30 pallets of cargo Photo: Lufthansa|
Some 20 airlines are currently studying to carry freight on a temporary basis in A330 and A350 cabins.
Lufthansa Technik AG Jens Weinreich said, “We have great demand. We have received proposals from more than 40 airlines.” Lufthansa Tecchnik has converted 18 cabins for various carriers and expects to modify 100 more.
Airbus test pilot and vice-president of flight operations support Yann Larget also said that Airbus would be prepared to look at A380 modification if customers requested it.
|Airbus is ready to look at A380 modification as well
Airbus has also said that the manufacturer is looking to take care of all the European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) regulatory procedures.
Regarding the certification and approval to fly, Airbus said:
“The modification is packaged for operators as an Airbus Service Bulletin. Under this arrangement Airbus defines the engineering workscope and also manages the process for obtaining the one-time certification from the EASA.”
Therefore, this modification will not add extra burden for the airline, with operators only contributing the cost of labour for the modification.
To maintain safety as per EASA guidance, multiple systems will need to be deactivated on the aircraft, particularly those that generate heat.
|Trained fire monitors must be employed on the plane Photo: Airbus|
The aircraft after modification must carry trained fire monitors along with pilots who must perform regular safety walks, carrying portable oxygen.
Larget also said that the conversion could see a plane be ready for full cargo operations in just a couple of days.
Don’t you think this is a sign of Airbus beginning to look at the A350F for the future? Let us know in the comments below: