Wednesday, September 09, 2020

Revenue-hit low-cost carriers are turning to 'passenger-freighter' action

Budget passenger airlines are warming to cargo: Singapore-based Scoot is removing seats from A320 aircraft for regional freight operations, while SpiceJet has used a reconfigured A340 to fly to Europe and Africa.

Traditionally, low-cost carriers (LCCs) have shown scant regard for cargo. Many have not bothered with it at all, lest the loading/unloading disrupt tight turnaround times.

Others have dabbled – JetBlue stopped its cargo operations a few years ago, but entered the business for a second time last year.

As the low-cost arm of a legacy airline with a pedigree in airfreight, Singapore Airlines offshoot Scoot has, arguably, been closer to cargo than many of its peers. It was one of the first Asian carriers to use some of its 787-9 planes to haul cargo, starting in March.

On 22 August, it entered the maindeck scene with an A320 that had been stripped of seats, flying between Fuzhou and its Singapore base.

According to the carrier, the removal of seats doubled the plane’s cargo capacity to nearly 20 tonnes. And Scoot has since put a second A320 into the modification process.

Indian LCC SpiceJet set its sights on the longhaul sector, with a modified A340 that joined its fleet last month. Its first commercial flight took off from Amsterdam on 22 August for Mumbai. The next day, it took off for Africa, hauling 40 tonnes of cargo from Mumbai to Khartoum.
08/09/20 Loadstar
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