Emirates is converting 10 of its Boeing 777-300ERs into temporary freighters so the airline can add capacity to its cargo arm.
Emirates Engineering is removing the seats from the aircraft, freeing up to 17 tonnes or 132 cubic metres of additional cargo capacity per flight, on top of the 40-50 tonne cargo capacity in the belly hold of the 777.
The measure has been introduced in response to an increase in demand in the air cargo market for essential commodities such as Personal Protective Equipment (PPE), pharmaceuticals, medical equipment, food, machinery and other supplies.
“We have been working flat out, first to re-connect a global network of more than 85 destinations and then to introduce capacity options that fit what our customers demand from us including passenger aircraft flying only with belly hold cargo and loading cargo in the overhead bins and on passenger seats,” said Nabil Sultan, Emirates divisional senior VP, cargo.
“Now, with the Emirates Boeing 777-300ER aircraft with modified Economy Class cabins, we will be able to transport even more cargo per flight, allowing for more cargo to reach their destination faster and for more efficient cargo operations.”
The modification of the Economy Class cabins of the 10 Emirates Boeing 777-300ER is being executed at the Emirates Engineering facilities in Dubai with each aircraft requiring close to 640 man-hours of work for the modification.
Engineers remove 305 Economy Seats from one aircraft, fixing safety equipment and implementing regular load bearing tests during the process. Seven aircraft have already been modified by the Emirates Engineering team, with three more aircraft due to be ready by mid-July 2020.
Ahmed Safa, divisional senior VP, Emirates Engineering, said: “Converting our passenger aircraft to these mini freighters is certainly a sign of the times.”
By the end of the project, the Emirates Engineering team would have removed 3,050 seats, which will be stored away till the time the aircraft are required for passenger services.