Why Airlines are Converting Passenger Jets to Freighters?
The growth of air cargo, especially for e-commerce, implies a need for more than 1,500 aircrafts to be converted from Passenger to Freighter(P2F).
P2F conversion is an engineering challenge that requires a number of complex tasks to be achieved, namely :
- Structural modifications of the aircraft.
- Installation of the main deck cargo door.
- Removal of all passenger amenities.
- Installation of floor grid and freighter floor panels for increased weights.
- A massive amount of structural items used during the conversion requires precise and reliable material management.
COVID-19 and how has it impacted air travel and cargo?
While air travel remains signifcantly lower due to COVID-19, some former passenger aircrafts are avoiding early retirement by finding a second life which is moving cargo. Logistics giants, meanwhile, are using the airline industry’s downturn to grow their fleets by acquiring aging passenger aircrafts for a fraction of what they’d sell for new.
This has created a huge opportunity for Passenger-to-Freighter (P2F) conversion companies, including Singapore Technologies (ST) Engineering Ltd, Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI) and US-based Aeronautical Engineers Inc.
How is it done?
- The customer/operator first sends the aircraft details, including the serial number and information about the onboard systems to the firm, where a new design is crafted.
- Upon arrival, the entire aircraft is stripped so that the engineers can start off from ground zero.
- Passenger seats for instance, are not required and they are completely taken out.
- The cabin floor is then removed and replaced with a reinforced structure that allows the aircraft to handle the weight of the cargo pallets, and allows for easier loading as rollers help guide and move the pallets.
- CARGO DOOR- A section of the fuselage is cut out and a ”plug” is inserted which is installed in its place- all the while making sure the aircraft doesn’t twist while modifications are done.Finally, the cargo door is attached.
- A rigid barrier is installed to protect the cockpit from the cargo at the back.
- Windows are also removed as these aren’t required.
- Engineers then move on to working on the aircraft systems.
- Post successful modifications,the aircraft is washed and cleaned and all the paperworks is done.
- The newly configured aircraft is now taken to air to test all its parameters and airworthiness before being delivered to the customer.
Statistics so far
Israel Aerospace Industries has completed over 700 of these conversions on a wide range of aircrafts from business jets to passenger jets- most of those being used by Amazon.com Inc .
US-based Aeronautical Engineers Inc. is also seeing a dramatic increase in demand for conversions citing a 30-40 per cent fall in the value of planes.
Freighters kept the world moving even when the economy was down owing to the pandemic and will continue to be in demand as the freight that needs to be ferried across the globe increases, regardless of the economical situation.
- COVER : aircargopedia.com
Air Algérie Airbus Order: A330-900s and A350-1000s Join the Fleet
In a substantial stride forward, Air Algérie, Algeria’s flagship airline, recently confirmed an Airbus order for seven widebody aircraft. This move not only underscores its deep-rooted association with Airbus but also paves the way for its ambitious commercial growth.
A330neo and A350-1000: Powering Air Algérie’s Airbus Order
Central to Air Algérie’s Airbus order are the A330neo and the A350-1000. Incorporating these aircraft into the fleet promises flexibility, efficiency, and lower operating costs, including a 25% reduction in fuel burn per seat.
Both these aircraft are equipped with the award-winning Airspace cabin, known for its superior comfort and ambiance. Increased personal space, expanded overhead bins, state-of-the-art lighting system, and access to the latest in-flight entertainment and connectivity systems are notable features.
Spotlight on A330neo and A350
The A330neo and A350 are prominent members of the Airbus widebody family. The A330neo, powered by Rolls-Royce Trent 7000 engines, boasts a non-stop flight range of 7,200 nm / 13,334 km. As of April 2023, the A330 Family had amassed 1,775 firm orders from 130 global customers, signifying its popularity in the short and medium-haul market.
The A350, a modern long-haul aircraft, runs on Rolls-Royce’s innovative Trent XWB engines. Capable of non-stop flights of up to 8,700 nautical miles or 16,100 kilometers, the A350 had garnered 967 firm orders from 54 customers worldwide as of April 2023.
READ ALSO: Airbus A350 Freighter Delivery Delayed to Early 2026
Looking Ahead: Air Algérie’s Airbus Order and Its Impact
This significant Air Algérie Airbus order is a testament to its commitment to growth and improving passenger experience. With the integration of the A330neo and A350-1000, we eagerly anticipate the airline’s expanded services. What new routes are you most excited about? Share your views in the comments section below!
Airbus Struggles in Q1 2023, Deliveries Fall 9% Compared to Last Year
Airbus is off to a challenging start in 2023, with its Q1 aircraft deliveries down 9% compared to the same period last year. Despite setting a goal of 720 aircraft deliveries for the year, Airbus managed to deliver only 127 in the first quarter. The European manufacturer released its March Orders and Deliveries Report, highlighting 20 orders and 61 deliveries in the month, distributed among 37 customers. The March deliveries included five A220-300s, 26 A320neos, 25 A321neos, three A330-900s, and two A350-900s.
Growing Monthly Production Rate
Airbus has seen a gradual increase in its monthly production rate, with January witnessing 20 aircraft deliveries, followed by 46 in February. In Q1, the company delivered 10 A220-300s, two A319neos, 45 A320neos, 59 A321neos, one A330-200, five A330-900s, and five A350-900s.
However, the widebody segment remains a concern, with only 11 aircraft delivered in Q1, shared between the A330 and A350 models. The sole A330-200 went to Airbus Defence and Space for the NATO fleet. A330neos went to airlines such as Virgin Atlantic (via Air Lease Corporation), Delta Air Lines, and Condor (one via CIT Leasing). A350-900s were received by Singapore Airlines, China Eastern Airlines, Turkish Airlines, and Starlux Airlines (one via Air Lease Corporation and another directly from Airbus).
Net Orders and the Road Ahead
Airbus secured net orders for 142 aircraft in Q1, with a total of 156 aircraft orders before accounting for 14 cancellations. In the Q1 book are orders from Qatar Airways for 50 A321neos and 23 A350-1000s, representing just over half of the net orders for the quarter. Lufthansa is another significant widebody customer this year, with orders for five A350-900s and 10 A350-1000s. There are also four A350F freighters on order from an undisclosed customer.
Before accounting for cancellations, Airbus received 114 single-aisle aircraft orders in Q1. Of those, 17 are listed as Private or Undisclosed customers, with the identified airlines including Delta Air Lines, Azerbaijan Airlines, Uzbekistan Airways, Qatar Airways, and British Airways.
Despite the backlog of 7,254 aircraft, Airbus will need to ramp up production capacity quickly to meet its 2023 delivery targets. With 6,604 single-aisle A220 and A320 Family aircraft, 209 A330s, and 441 A350s in backlog, the company has its work cut out for them. The backlog includes 2,293 A320neos, 3,682 A321neos, and 529 A220s.
To help meet this target, Airbus CEO Guillaume Faury recently signed a deal to establish a second A320 Final Assembly Line in Tianjin, China. Since the Tianjin line opened in 2008, more than 600 A320 family aircraft have been assembled there, including the first A321neo in March. Airbus aims to reach a monthly production rate of 75 aircraft by 2026 with four A320 final assembly locations in Hamburg (Germany), Mobile (USA), Toulouse (France), and Tianjin (China).
Challenges Ahead for Airbus
Despite the growing monthly production rate and the expansion of assembly lines in China, Airbus must overcome various challenges to achieve its ambitious 2023 delivery target of 720 aircraft. This includes addressing supply chain bottlenecks and managing disruptions caused by the ongoing global situation. In addition, Airbus must ensure that the quality of aircraft production is not compromised in the race to meet its delivery goals.
Overall, while the Q1 2023 figures indicate a slow start for Airbus, the company has shown its determination to ramp up production and meet its delivery targets. The coming months will be crucial in determining whether Airbus can overcome its current challenges and deliver on its promises to customers and stakeholders.
What are your thoughts on Airbus’s chances of meeting its delivery goals this year? Let us know in the comments below!
The Story of the A220, how it Came About and How it’s Becoming Popular
Aside from the fact that the Airbus A220 is the only airbus aircraft to not have a 3 in its name, the A220 is special from the fact that it isn’t fully made by Airbus, but instead a joint venture between them and Bombardier. This is all because of what some might call a mistake made by Boeing, causing Airbus to acquire a 50.01% stake in the company. In this article I explore its controversial creation, and why it’s needed.
The Airbus A220 was first named the “CSeries” by Bombardier, and was meant to cater to the demand of small aircraft in between their current-sized fleet and those larger already made by Airbus and Boeing. The particular area where it was expected to boom were the US markets, given there is always demand to be flying from small airports as there is no lack of them in the large country. At first, things were running smoothly and it was expected to enter commercial service in 2014, just one year after its first flight. However, things turned out not to go as planned, and the CSeries encountered issues on one of its test flights, causing it to miss the Farnborough air show, the largest in the industry, and delay its release. This was not good for the aircraft, nearly causing the project and the company to go bust, until financial aid was provided by the Canadian government.
Boeing’s crucial mistake
Eventually, these problems were fixed, and the first CSeries was delivered to SWISS on June 26, 2016. Eventually, more orders began to come for the new aircraft, including the critical ones in the US. In fact, Bombardier was offering Delta 75 of the aircraft at $20 million a piece, a price which was even lower than the cost to build them, and a cost which was just too good to refuse. However, this was contested and was seen to be Dumping, when a manufacturer essentially gives away its aircraft as sort-of “Samples”, and is illegal in the US and other countries. Boeing was quick to take action, claiming that it was stealing the market from its 737s, despite the fact that Delta had explicitly said that they weren’t looking to purchase the variants that Boeing were claiming to be losing out. It was then decided that, given Bombardier was a foreign company, the US government would impose a 300% import tariff, something near-destructible for the company.
Airbus saves the day
However, Airbus decided to step in and acquire a 50% stake in the company, something beneficial for both parties concerned. This was good for Bombardier, as Airbus has its final assembly station situated in Alabama in the US, meaning that seen as the aircraft technically wasn’t foreign, the import tariff wouldn’t be imposed on it. This would also help Airbus, as it would mean that the company would now profit off of an aircraft which had no competitors at the time. This allowed the aircraft to be reintroduced to the US market, allowing it to thrive.
Where it is now
Now, the CSeries has been re-branded to be the Airbus A220, a move which has knocked it out of the park for the world’s largest aircraft manufacturer. This has allowed airbus to spend absolutely no money on development, and come away with an excellent aircraft, which is dominating its playing field. As of April 2023, 251 aircraft have been delivered, with another 785 firm orders. The airlines operating the aircraft include Delta, JetBlue, SWISS and airBaltic, who operate a fleet solely made up of the A220. When Aviation for Aviators asked their CEO, Martin Gauss, about the aircraft, he said that “The aircraft has performed beyond the company’s expectations, delivering better overall performance, fuel efficiency, and convenience for both passengers and the staff.”
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