Airbus Developing Freight Modification For Airliners


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.

Kate O'Connor
Kate O’Connor works as AVweb's Editor-in-Chief. She is a private pilot, certificated aircraft dispatcher, and graduate of Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University.

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  1. I sure hope they intend to do a better method of securing the cargo than in the photo included in the article. Depending on the weight of the pallets, I don’t see where the G load restraint is met and the white net seems to be missing at least one latch. In addition, unless there are beartraps hidden in the photo, there is no vertical restraint.
    Not whining or just being picky. The idea is great and there are a lot of aircraft just sitting collecting dust and rust but when you push and “outside the box” idea, you should get it right. Plus, without a roller system and a cargo door, loading/unloading these aircraft will be a real pain.

    • Well, it’s true that the netting isn’t cranked down as tight as what you would see on a semi-trailer, but for a lot of cargo like the cardboard boxes shown, you could end up damaging them if you went to that level. IMHO they appear tight enough to prevent undue vertical movement if you look closely in the expanded view of the picture.

  2. I was just wondering how they got those pallets of cargo through the passenger door.