Madrid (Spain), November xx, 2020. AIRE (Aircraft Interior Refurbishment España), one of the leading Spanish provider of cabin interiors engineering, production and maintenance services, is proud to disclose its first collaboration with the Philippines’ largest carrier, CEBU PACIFIC AIR (CEB), to convert two of its eight A330s to fly in full cargo configuration to address the demand brought about by the COVID-19 pandemic.
AIRE was awarded with the project after a comprehensive evaluation, as they were able to provide the most effective solution in terms of max weight and volume. This is supported by AIRE’s track record showing how they successfully delivered for several airlines that opted for cargo conversion of passenger aircraft, both on seats and full cargo configuration, in light of this situation.
This partnership allowed AIRE to showcase its expertise through modification of the aircraft, specifically to ensure engineering and airworthiness compliance activities are completed, as well to manage the procurement of equipment needed to carry on the conversion. New cargo conversion has been initially submitted to the authorities for exemption under Article 71 (a) for a period of eight (8) months, with hopes to secure the approval for flying in cargo configuration at the soonest possible time. This exemption has allowed the airline to begin utilizing its newly- converted aircraft with a short lead time, ensuring cargo operations continue smoothly.
At the initial phase of the project, AIRE and CEBU PACIFIC AIR have closely monitored recommendations released by EASA and Airbus specific to the regulation of cargo operations amidst this pandemic, to ensure guidelines are strictly followed and potential hazards are avoided.
AIRE Part 21J worked double time alongside the engineering team of CEB to meet the seven-day lead time. Within this preriod, required post-mod configurations were fixed and the compliance demonstration documents package was released. This included the ICA documentation to process the exemption application under Article 71(1) Regulation (EU) 2018/1139.
AIRE has also been handling the manufacturing and procurement of all the materials required to undertake the aircraft conversion: starting from nets and additional EFPMS procurement, AIRE kept its compromise of full cabin support, manufacturing two kits of placards (to indicate additional emergency equipment position, cargo areas, and relevant limitations) as well as two carpet kits for new layout.
This partnership has allowed AIRE to display its competence in engineering and production areas. The full package solution AIRE offered to CEB resulted in the airline efficiently managing its limited time and resources. Once again, AIRE provided the fastest and most effective solution, despite the hard times aviation is facing, in compliance with the commitment of the prompt and full cabin support AIRE always puts at the disposal of its customers.
“This project is a step toward solidifying the position of AIRE as an established Part 21J company in the cabin interiors market”, states Mr. Juan Arevalo, Engineering Director within AIRE. “The project was challenging since the beginning, but thanks to our tireless team and the experience accumulated on cargo operations over the previous months, we completed the project in compliance with structural integrity, Fire protection, and emergency evacuation requirements following EASA, IATA, and TCH recommendations, all in one week.” continues Mr. Arevalo. “We thank CEB for the trust and confidence, and we hope that this successful project will mark the beginning of a long-term and win-win collaboration”.
"We saw this pandemic as an opportunity to revisit our operations to further improve wherever possible. Now more than ever, transport of goods must not be hampered, and the A330 reconfiguration will help us address the growing demand with a cabin fully dedicated for cargo. These converted aircraft will effectively enable us to carry more goods while doing so in a more efficient manner compared to regular A330s that rely on belly space” says Alex Reyes, Vice president for Commercial at Cebu Pacific.