Airbus has announced that it is developing a modification for A330 and A350 aircraft that will allow airlines to install freight pallets directly onto cabin floor seat tracks. According to the company, the solution will reduce wear and tear on airliner seats and facilitate faster loading and unloading along with adding additional fire protection and 9G load restraint capability. Airbus will publish the modification as a service bulletin.
“This solution will help with the airlines’ own business continuity, and also alleviate the global shortage of ‘belly-freight’ air cargo capacity due to the widespread grounding of long-haul aircraft in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic,” Airbus said. “Additionally, it helps the industry to address the high demand for humanitarian flights to transport large quantities of medical equipment and other supplies rapidly over large distances to where they are needed.”
The service bulletin will cover removing seats and inflight entertainment systems, installing cargo pallets and associated safety equipment and reinstallation of the original passenger cabin elements. It is intended to be valid beyond the coronavirus pandemic.