In response to sustained high demand for air cargo capacity, Alaska Air Cargo is introducing an in-seat package stowage system that enables Alaska Airlines’ passenger aircraft to be operated in a cargo-only configuration. Alaska Air Cargo is the North American launch customer for the system, designed by HAECO Cabin Solutions (HCS), which comprises interior package stowage containers that enable the main cabin passenger seats to be loaded with an additional 13,500 lbs (6,123kg) of cargo compared with typical passenger flights.
Alaska Air Cargo has previously used passenger aircraft as a limited freighter service, but until now, was unable to use the passenger seats for cargo. HCS’s FAA-approved design allows cargo personnel to use all available space on the main deck for essential goods including mail, medical equipment and e-commerce packages.
“Our teams have been working since spring to identify the safest and most effective processes to increase our cargo capacity,” said Torque Zubeck, managing director of Alaska Air Cargo. “HAECO’s design will allow us to maximise the available space, increase our cargo capacity and protect the supply chain by connecting critical cargo to the communities we serve during this public health crisis.”
In addition to Alaska Air Cargo’s dedicated three freighters, one Boeing 737-900 passenger aircraft is being used as a cargo-only aircraft. Each flight will carry up to 30,000 lbs (13,607kg) of cargo, which includes belly capacity.
The crew for these cargo flights will consist of two pilots and two cargo loading agents. These agents provide oversight of loading, and ensure proper tagging, cargo integrity, provide fire suppression if required, and make sure that cargo is safe and secure within the in-seat package stowage system.