**Update: 11/10/20 @ 16:50 UTC – An SIA spokesperson has shared further information; details below.**
Singapore Airlines has modified two of its passenger Boeing 777-300ERs to carry freight in the cabins. These “preighters” will take on the increased focus in cargo operations amid this year’s drop in traveler demand.
Already in action
According to FlightGlobal, the first of the two conversions had hit the skies on November 5th. The plane conducted a flight to Tokyo Narita from Singapore. Notably, all 264 of the passenger seats on the aircraft were not on board during this operation. Subsequently, the jet can now carry up to 12% cargo.
The two modified 777s hold registration numbers 9V-SWN and 9V-SWM. The pair both arrived at Singapore Airlines’ facilities in 2008. Altogether, the airline has 27 777-300ERs within its holdings. However, 18 of the planes are currently parked. Therefore, it is a smart move by the airline to make some adaptions to its fleet. There is a newfound focus on cargo for airlines amid the global health crisis.
Travel restrictions and public concerns have caused a considerable drop in passenger activity this year. However, there is a greater emphasis on shipping activities in the new climate. So, the company is finding ways to make use of its widebody aircraft during this tough climate.
Responding to changes
FlightGlobal shares that Singapore Airlines will monitor the market before committing to more conversions. The firm could also use the planes on additional routes depending on requirements.
33 of the company’s passenger planes are operating cargo-only flights. So, the airline will be making the most of the conversions’ services with the extra space on board. One of the group’s subsidiaries, Scoot, has also been making similar moves amid the temporary modification of two Airbus A320ceos.
Altogether, passenger demand will continue to fluctuate as the world is still trying to get on top of the pandemic. Several other operators have also transformed aircraft over the last few months to better handle shipping services. While conditions are harsh, these temporary conversions will go a long way to generate some much-needed revenue for airlines.
Simple Flying reached out to Singapore Airlines for comment on its Boeing 777 aircraft. A spokesperson replied with the following:
“Singapore Airlines has reconfigured two of our 777-300ER aircraft by removing the passenger seats to create more space for cargo and allowing each aircraft to carry up to 12% more freight than a usual commercial aircraft. This also helps us optimise the usage of cargo belly-hold space as higher-density shipments can be carried after lighter and more volumetric cargo are loaded in the cabin,”
The airline added that it will continue to remain nimble and respond swiftly to market demands.
What are your thoughts about Singapore Airlines converting two of its Boeing 777-300ER aircraft? Do you think that this is a good move for the operator? Let us know what you think of the company’s decision in the comment section.