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Increasing the cargo transport volume of an A321 passenger aircraft

Providing a speedy cargo solution for a charter airline

Our customer, a charter airline operating a fleet of more than 20 Airbus A320 and A321, needed to react quickly to the COVID crisis. Passenger transport decreased significantly whilst demand for cargo transport in the market was increasing. With this, the airline decided to shift focus to cargo immediately.

The customer, therefore, needed a quick solution to increase the cargo transport volume of their A321 passenger aircraft, and our Design Organisation was able to respond quickly to their needs. We offered a special modification to transport cargo on the main deck of the aircraft as an intermediate solution until new cargo aircraft were available. Due to its potential quick turnaround, this was a welcome solution for the customer.

Our Design Organisation was assigned the engineering, certification, and liaison with the European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) and the customers National Aviation Authority (NAA) to get this aircraft modified as soon as possible. The DOA team worked closely with the aviation authorities and different providers of special emergency equipment to develop a safe concept for cargo transportation on the main deck of the passenger aircraft after the removal of some interior and passenger seats. While maximising the loadable cargo volume and weight, the focus was on fire safety and cabin surveillance during the flight.

In parallel, our cabin engineering and certification team worked on the layouts and modification documents in alignment with the national aviation authority of the customer. By utilising our latest Cabin Layout Management (CLM) tool, which is based on digital twins of the affected aircraft, the cabin modification was performed within a very quick turnaround.

With a narrowing installation date, our team identified all the required parts, which were then sourced by the customer. Our team supported the installation and took care of the final acceptance by the national aviation authorities. During the project, the customer secured the first transport contracts for this aircraft and started the cargo operations immediately.