Lufthansa Technik (LHT) has reported “great interest” from the aviation market for its new technical and engineering services that enable temporary operational changes from passenger to cargo aircraft. To date, according to the company, its cabin modification experts have received enquiries from more than 40 airlines.
More than 15 projects for different aircraft types are already in the implementation phase at Lufthansa Technik, with an interesting recent development being a contract award from an undisclosed customer for a change of operations on an Airbus A380.
“We have received strong interest from different airlines regarding our passenger-to-freighter service capabilities,” stated Henning Jochmann, senior director for aircraft modification base maintenance at Lufthansa Technik.
As the workscope for an A380 conversion comprises much more than just taking out seats, airlines need engineering experts who can identify the relevant challenges and how to document the technical solutions correctly so that the aviation authorities approve them.
“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,” explained Jochmann. “This means that anyone who opts for LHT’s solution can now easily switch to the permanent STC solution later.”
Normally, an aircraft that has been granted an approval for passenger transport cannot simply be loaded with cargo in the cabin, as the approval criteria for passenger cabins and cargo compartments are completely different.
For example, cargo has a different floor load, with the structural load capacity of a passenger aircraft being lower than that of a cargo aircraft. While for passenger transport, evacuation routes must be kept clear and the oxygen supply must be ensured for each individual, special fire protection measures must be available on board a freighter. All these criteria, and some more, must be taken into account and incorporated into the technical documentation by qualified engineers, and then approved by the aviation authorities.
Lufthansa Technik says 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.