You May Be Sitting With Cargo On Your Next Flight

North Carolina-based HAECO Cabin Solutions has unveiled a new line of products today. These products aim to make it easier to carry cargo and passengers at the same time. Their four in-cabin load carrying solutions were developed in just one month, in response to the rising number of airlines using passenger planes to move cargo.

HAECO’s cargo solutions for passenger cabins could see both being carried at once. Photo: HAECO

Will you soon be traveling cargo class?

For most of us, the thought of traveling cargo class brings to mind images of stowing away in the belly of an aircraft, alongside boxes and crates with pets in. The reality is undoubtedly a less romantic proposition but will ensure we can at least enjoy a comfortable journey.

North Carolina based HAECO Cabin Solutions has devised a way to blur the lines between cargo and passenger aircraft. The company has developed no fewer than four separate products that allow passenger planes to carry cargo consignments in a secure, well-balanced manner.

The company took just one month from concept to design, inspired by the rising number of airlines using passenger aircraft for cargo. Because the products suitably secure the cargo on board, it makes it possible for airlines to carry both passengers and cargo shipments all at the same time.

Four solutions

The solutions developed by HAECO are designed to be used in existing aircraft cabins. This means they can clip, slot, and slide into position to give airlines a means of transporting cargo without needing to remove seats. The company says that no specialized knowledge or tools are required to install the products and that both single-aisle and widebody aircraft can be accommodated.

Four separate products were developed in just one month. Photo: HAECO

Each product will have its own Supplemental Type Certificate (STC) and can carry from between 240 lbs up to 1,000 lbs for the palletized version. The all in one seat-frame, as seen in the first image on the page, can carry up to 500 lbs. Other variants include a cargo container that will sit on the seat, and another than will sit in the footwell below the seat.

President and Group Director of HAECO Cabin Solutions commented on the product launch in a press release, saying,

“We are pleased with the strong interest we have already seen from airlines and leasing companies and delighted that we can offer a quick, cost-effective solution to maximise yields during this challenging time.”

You May Be Sitting With Cargo On Your Next Flight
Airlines have been very creative with their makeshift cargo conversions. Photo: Getty Images

Two birds, one stone

One of the biggest challenges facing airlines right now is figuring out how we’ll all get back to flying again. With social distancing becoming the norm in all other aspects of our lives, aircraft remain one place where you’re guaranteed to be getting up close and personal with a complete stranger. Several airlines are attempting to implement a form of social distancing on board, or are planning to once flight operations resume.

Social distancing on flights comes with some significant downsides for the airlines. Blocking the middle seat would reduce the flight capacity by one third, and even that is still not enough to allow for the recommended two meters of separation (particularly when you consider those sitting in front and behind). Truly effective social distancing would require a much deeper cut to aircraft capacity, but who wants to fly a plane with only half or fewer seats sold?

The HAECO design could provide a solution for this. Its flexible cargo stowage could allow airlines to suitably separate booked passengers on board, while also making use of the unsold seats for transportation of cargo. This would go some way to replacing the loss of an unsold passenger ticket, helping to keep the rest of the fares down.

With demand for travel predicted to experience a slow recovery, it would make sense for airlines to remain flexible about their cargo vs. passenger-carrying capacity. These products, once certified, promise to make this flexibility easier.

Would you mind traveling with cargo alongside you? What do you think of the products? Let us know in the comments.