Lufthansa Technik, Airbus Offer Temporary Cargo Cabin For A330s

Credit: Finnair

In a depressed air transport market where passenger transit is not expected to return to pre-pandemic levels until 2024 and belly hold capacity remains limited, Lufthansa Technik (LHT) and Airbus have presented a new offer to Airbus A330 operators. 

Early on in the pandemic, exemptions were granted by the authorities to reuse passenger cabins to transport medical supplies, but these are now expiring. That has prompted LHT and Airbus to partner up on a reversible cargo-in-cabin solution for the A330. 

The firms’ offering includes the materials for the modification of the passenger aircraft for temporary cargo transport as well as the crucial EASA-approved Supplemental Type Certificate (STC). 

The modification can increase cargo capacity on the A330 by up to 15 tons, depending on the widebody’s configuration. The process can take two to four days depending on MRO capacity and can be carried out either by LHT or an operator’s own MRO facility. 

Finnair is the launch customer. One of its A330-300s has been modified to carry commercial, non-dangerous goods in the main passenger deck. The approval process for the STC is underway. The modification can be carried out at any Part 145 provider worldwide. Finnair undertook the work at its Helsinki base. 

“With this EASA-approved STC solution we are able to continue our successful cargo operations even during ramp-up,” Finnair VP of technical operations Juha Ojala said. “The solution is technically simple and does not require massive investments like traditional cargo conversions.” 

Commenting on the partnership with Airbus, LHT COO Soeren Stark said: “We mutually benefit from each other’s expertise in many respects and thus create a blueprint for possible future co-operations.”

Airbus VP of airframe services Daniel Wenninger added: “The A330’s best-in-class operational economics and versatile cabin makes it the perfect aircraft for cargo missions in the current context.”

Typically, the embodiment of the cargo-in-cabin solution includes the removal of seats and other structures, depending on the individual layout and customer needs. This means seat-to-seat IFE harnessing has to be uninstalled and water outlets may have to be decommissioned temporarily. 

The solution allows for the transport of standard pallets thanks to specially designed brackets on the seat tracks in the center column of the aircraft. Additional positions are created in the lateral areas to make the best use of the A330 cabin dimensions. Bulk cargo is secured with nets. As part of the material kit, Lufthansa Technik provides firefighting equipment to be in line with EASA cabin safety requirements.

Kurt Hofmann

Kurt Hofmann has been writing on the airline industry for 25 years. He appears frequently on Austrian, Swiss and German television and broadcasting…


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