Mississauga, Ontario-based plane maker De Havilland Aircraft of Canada announced the start of a cargo conversions scheme for its Dash 8-400 regional aircraft. This way, the manufacture responds to growing demand in the global air freight market. The solutions, presented last week at the Farnborough Air Show comprise three optional configurations.
These are Quick Change (QC), Package Freighter (PF), and freighters with Large Cargo Doors (F-LCD). The three variants, tailored to specific customer needs, cover a broad spectrum of business
areas. With a range of around 3,000 km, they are an option for use on regional and medium-haul routes, such as feeder services operated on behalf of integrators, for instance.
The Quick-Change option (QC) is a revenue expansion model that allows the Dash 8-400 turboprop aircraft to be converted very fast from passenger to cargo configurations, and conversely. Operators can merge two independent revenue sources into one, this way enhancing sales. Switching configuration from P to F is accomplished fast, upping the operational performance of the QC variant. A new smoke detection system installed in the compartment makes accompanying attendants redundant which lowers costs.
De Havilland’s Dash 8-400 Package Freighter (PF) is the manufacturers answer to the fast-growing ecommerce business. The PF offers users nine separate loading zones, each with eight radial spider nets that serve as tie-down and restraint functions. It is particularly well suited for feeder traffic, connecting major hubs with regional or even local airports for speeding up the flow of ecommerce, express or other special products, speeding up the flow of goods on the first or last mile In all Dash 8-400 P2F aircraft, the primary cargo access door is located in the same location as the aft LHS luggage compartment door, and there are four supplementary access doors (one at the front and one at the back on each side of the aircraft) to allow speedy cargo loading and unloading. However, for palletized cargo a separate loading system is needed.
The Dash-8-400 Package Freighter, that is capable to uplift up to eight LD3 containers, is particularly suitable for hub-and-spoke network carriers. This particular model is equipped with a large cargo door (2.8 m x 1.8 m) and a specific loading system to facilitate easy and fast loading and unloading of containers or pallets. This allows quick interline transfer of ULDs from aircraft to aircraft within a carrier’s network.
“As the cargo market continues to grow, our cargo conversion solutions will easily enhance the overall value and extend the already high revenue-generating capabilities of the Dash 8-400 aircraft,” stated Jean-Philippe Côté, Vice President Programs, De Havilland Canada. In this context, the executive mentioned additional services provided by his company: “We will offer the three launched cargo conversion solutions through original equipment manufacturer (OEM) Service Bulletins approved by Transport Canada, and we are ready to provide a wide range of OEM support as desired by our operators – from kit installation to on-site support through our global support infrastructure.”
“Several built-in attributes of the Dash 8-400 aircraft, including its outstanding airfield accessibility, hot-and-high performance, range up to 1,640 nm and long structural life, position it very well for cargo operations, and its low noise and CO2 emissions mean that it’s also an environmentally responsible choice,” added Mr. Côté.
At the Farnborough Air Show the manager left open if a launching customer has placed a firm order for at least one of the three versions offered by the Canadian plane maker.
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