While COVID-19 is subsiding and passenger travel confidence is gaining, more aircraft are losing their seats.
Airlines initially removed seats to increase space for urgent COVID-19 medical equipment. The world’s usual cargo capacity – in the bellies of passenger aircraft – was lost when flights were suspended.
But as it becomes evident a cargo shortage will persist, airlines are increasing modifications – and getting more strategic.
Air Canada initially removed most seats from three 777-300ERs, its largest aircraft, in mid-April. “We plan to have several more of our B777-300 to go through the same remodelling process in the coming months,” Air Canada’s Asia-Pacific cargo director Tim Wong told the Canadian Chamber of Commerce in Hong Kong.
There is now a fourth 777 modified, but Air Canada declined to provide further details. It has also modified three A330s. Air Canada has flown 15.3 million kilograms on over 1,200 cargo-only flights.
Air France and British Airways have started taking seats out, joining European peers Lufthansa and Swiss. Air France modified a 777-300ER while British Airways modified a smaller 777-200ER.
U.S. airlines have