Lufthansa Technik alters first passenger A380 jet to move cargo
05 May 2020
Lufthansa Technik AG, a subsidiary of German airline Lufthansa, today said it is modifying its first Airbus A380 superjumbo jet to move cargo, as the coronavirus crisis fuels a global scramble for capacity to transport medical supplies and other goods.
Lufthansa Technik said its new technical and engineering services for temporary operational changes from passenger to cargo aircraft have met with great interest in the aviation market. So far, the cabin modification experts of the company have received enquiries from more than 40 airlines.
The company said more than 15 projects for different aircraft types are already in the implementation phase, adding that a special highlight is the support of the operational change of a first Airbus A380 of an undisclosed customer with which Lufthansa Technik has now been awarded.
Lufthansa Technik, a subsidiary of the German airline Lufthansa (LHAG.DE), would not disclose the name of the A380 customer in a statement.
"Over the past days, we have received strong interest from different airlines regarding our passenger to freighter service capabilities," explained Henning Jochmann, senior director Aircraft Modification Base Maintenance at Lufthansa Technik. "As the workscope comprises much more than just taking out seats, you need engineering experts who know exactly what the challenges are and how to document the technical solutions so correctly that the aviation authorities agree.”
Further, Lufthansa said, “The current exemption and our solution for it can be transferred to our Supplemental Type Certificate (STC) at a later point of time without major adjustments. This means that anyone who opts for Lufthansa Technik's exceptional solution now can easily switch to the permanent STC solution later."
Currently, half of air cargo travels in the belly of passenger jets rather than dedicated freighters. But the grounding of two-thirds of the world’s fleet has led to demand for cargo.
The structural load capacity of a passenger aircraft is lower than that of a cargo aircraft and for passenger transport rescue routes must be kept clear and the oxygen supply must be ensured for each individual, special fire protection measures must be taken on board a freighter. All these criteria, and some more, must be taken into account and incorporated into the technical documentation by suitably qualified engineers and approved.
Lufthansa Technik said it is currently working flat out to obtain STCs for all common aircraft types so that airlines all over the world can quickly convert their passenger aircraft into auxiliary freighters.