J&C Aero, an aviation design and production company, has signed an agreement with SmartLynx Airlines, an EU full-service ACMI aircraft lease provider. The terms will see J&C Aero’s engineers manage the certification process for SmartLynx to receive a permanent EASA STC for cargo transportation inside Airbus A330 cabins. Previously, J&C Aero had provided engineering support for SmartLynx Airlines to receive temporal approval for the modification of five Airbus A330s with a ‘zero LOPA’.
As part of the Zero LOPA project, J&C Aero has developed all the necessary technical and legal documentation required to conduct cabin modifications on five widebody aircraft operated by SmartLynx Airlines. J&C’s engineers also conducted technical oversight of the modification works and ensured their subsequent temporary certification by aviation authorities. The completed modifications enabled the air carrier to operate Airbus A330s that can be converted from passenger to cargo operations, and vice versa, ‘relatively easily’.
“Back at the beginning of 2020, J&C Aero was the first and only holder of an EASA STC that allowed cargo transportation inside passenger cabins without any time or flight hour limitations. Today, the market demand has evolved further, and airlines require even more flexibility in terms of fleet operations. It is vital for them to utilise the full capacity of their cabins while being able to easily change between PAX and cargo operations as the demand shifts. This particularly concerns the wide-body segment whereas many operators were forced to ground their long-haul aircraft amid the pandemic,” stated Vitalijus Malyška, COO of J&C Aero.
“But the ability to have an aircraft that is both passenger- and cargo-ready without conducting the fully fledged P2F conversion allows airlines to seize new opportunities on the cargo market while the travel segment is still recovering,” added Malyška.
Each of SmartLynx Airlines’ seatless Airbus A330 has up to 34 cargo zones for cargo containers or nets, with a total transportation capacity of 260 m3 and up to 55,000kg of cargo. With all necessary temporary approvals by aviation authorities received, the airline already operates the modified aircraft on transatlantic and transpacific routes, transporting medical supplies and other cargo types, and SmartLynx is ready for the growing demand as the busy pre-Christmas season approaches. With the support of J&C Aero engineers, the airline anticipates completing the certification for a permanent EASA STC by the end of autumn 2021.