Korean Air converts B777-300ERs for cargo transport after ministry approval

Two of its Boeing 777-300ERs are now operational for carrying all cargo, which have added an extra 10.8 tonnes to the 22-tonne belly capacity.


777-300 conversion Boeing 777-300ER Korean Air preighter Rickenbacker International Airport


Courtesy of Korean Air

Korean Air has converted its own passenger planes for freight transport after getting approval from the transport ministry. 

Two of its Boeing 777-300ERs are now operational for carrying all cargo, with the first one flying to Columbus, Ohio on 8 September, and the other set to fly the same route on 10 September. 

With cabin seats removed, a Boeing 777-300ER passenger-to-freighter modification can load an extra 10.8 tonnes to its existing 22-tonne belly capacity.

Korean Air said the modification of such aircraft requires high level of technical review and competency. 

It’s not just about taking out passenger seats, but also about removing complicated in-flight electrical wiring and installing standardized locks on the floor to keep cargo secured,” the company noted. 

In June, the airline started to transport freight inside the cabin using “Cargo Seat Bags, a safety device installed on passenger seats, as the coronavirus pandemic dragged down travel demand and its earnings. 

Korean Air told Yonhap News Agency it may consider making another request to the ministry to convert additional passenger jets into cargo planes if cargo demand continues to pick up amidst the pandemic. 

The airline noted there’s a bit of a scramble amongst global airlines securing demand for air cargo to and from Columbus’ Rickenbacker International Airport, which has become an emerging cargo base with nearby distribution centres for American clothing and logistics companies.

Korean Air is meeting the demand for items such as automobile parts, electronic devices and garments, the press release stated.



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