Austrian Airlines converts B777 for cargo operations
Austrian Airlines converts B777 for cargo operations. The airline since suspending passenger operations has been flying its aircraft for repatriation and cargo flights. It has parked over 70 of its aircraft on ground.
It has planned to convert two B777-200ER aircraft for cargo operations. Air Canada had also recently converted their passenger aircraft.
Cargo conversion of B777
Austrian Airlines is removing passenger seats present in its B777-200ER aircraft for cargo operations. This will increase the freight capacity of the airline by 35%. It has already been operating cargo flights to transport essential supply. The airline is already using its passenger aircraft for this purpose and it doesn’t have a dedicated freighter arm.
The conversion has happened at Austrian Technik in Vienna. The demand for cargo transport is high which has prompted the airline to convert its B777 aircraft in addition to carrying cargo in its belly.
“The demand for cargo transportation, especially for medical protective equipment, is enormous. We are now making room for more cargo on our long-haul jets. This will bridge the time until our passenger business starts up again,”Austrian Airlines Chief Operating Officer Jens Ritte on conversion of its aircraft
The two aircraft are registered as OE-LPC and OE-LPA. Removal of 270 passenger seats out of 306 in all three cabin classes will take place. Removal of passenger seats in OE-LPC was completed on April 29th.
Removal of seats in the other aircraft OE-LPA will take start on May 3rd and be completed on May 7th. The removal of the seats from all the three classes takes around 500 man hours per aircraft.
Austrian Airlines operates to New Zealand. This is the farthest the airline has been after being 11,262 miles away from its hub at Vienna.
Austrian Airlines is set to operate its longest flight from Vienna to Sydney on a repatriation flight
Air Canada removes passenger seats for cargo operations. The airline is converting 3xB777-300ER passenger aircraft into full cargo aircraft to aid the global supply of essentials
Austrian Airlines cargo operations
Austrian Airlines flown around 50 cargo flights using its Boeing long-haul aircraft. The airline had suspended operations on the 18th of March and had grounded its aircraft.
The airline says around 45 more flight are left on its schedule. It has operated around 50 flights from Xiamen, Penang and Shanghai. It had bought 770 tons of relief goods to Austria.
As of now the airline is operating a daily service to Shanghai and regular flights to Xiamen and Penang. From May it is expected that further expansion of operations will take place to Beijing and Shenzhen.
With global demand for cargo increasing, airlines are resorting to add capacity by removing the seats in their passenger aircraft. This enables the airline to use its rather grounded aircraft to fly.
Plus airlines do not know seemingly when passenger operations will commence. We can also expect other airlines using their passenger aircraft to convert them for cargo operations.