Scoot, the LCC subsidiary of Singapore Airlines, is modifying Airbus A320ceo aircraft into freighters to better accommodate demand on cargo routes that have become increasingly important to the carrier as the COVID-19 pandemic weighs down passenger demand.
Scoot operated a cargo charter flight with a modified freighter on the Fuzhou (FOC)-Singapore (SIN) route on Aug. 22.
“The aircraft transported a total of 13 tonnes of cargo in both the bellyhold and cabin, comprising mainly goods for daily use, and has four more flights scheduled for the rest of August,” Scoot said in an Aug. 24 statement. “Another A320ceo aircraft is scheduled to undergo similar modification works this week.”
Scoot said it has already operated hundreds of cargo flights using passenger aircraft, including placing cargo on passenger seats. But the airline went step further in modifying the A320ceo, which was a four-day process that involved stripping out the passenger seats. This doubled the aircraft’s cargo carrying capacity to 20 tonnes.
“The four-day modification of the aircraft included the removal of passenger seats, installation of placards to demarcate areas where cargo can be placed, and the uplift of additional fire extinguishers,” Scoot said. “For flights operated with this aircraft, there will be a minimum of two pilots and two cabin crew on board to ensure safety and smooth operations, as well as manage any inflight emergencies. All pilots and cabin crew are trained regularly to identify hazards and handle various emergencies, including situations involving smoke, fumes or fire.”
In addition to A320ceos, Scoot has used Boeing 787-9 aircraft for cargo flights.
"With many passenger aircraft sitting idle due to the pandemic, Scoot started operating cargo charters to carry essential supplies as an alternative revenue stream,” Scoot CEO Campbell Wilson said. “Since then, we have been growing our cargo capacity and capabilities to remain competitive while providing more value for our customers.”
The Civil Aviation Authority of Singapore (CAAS) has certified the modified A320ceo freighters for commercial service.
To date, Scoot has operated more than 200 cargo charters to and from 10 cities, including FOC, Guangzhou (CAN), Hangzhou (HGH), Hong Kong (HKG), Kunming (KMG), Nanjing (NKG), Perth (PER), Sydney (SYD), Taipei (TPE) and Wuhan (WUH).
Photo credit: Scoot