Iberia converts first A330 into freighter to adopt to market

©Iberia's first Airbus A330-300 freighter conversion

The first Airbus A330 aircraft that Iberia has converted into a freighter has arrived in Los Angeles from Madrid after four weekly cargo flights between the two cities had been scheduled for this month.

In the early months of the COVID-19 pandemic, Iberia’s flight operations were almost exclusively confined to repatriation flights and flights carrying emergency medical supplies. This experience prepared Iberia for adapting to the new market situation and seize upon this opportunity.

IAG Cargo, the cargo division of International Airlines Group (IAG), will service these flights. At the start of the pandemic, IAG Cargo was quick to develop tailored solutions for its customers’ cargo needs, including cargo-only flights using passenger aircraft and establishing a new charter team. With a wide network, IAG Cargo offers its services on more than 500 aircraft, to more than 350 destinations.

This first Airbus A330/300 freighter conversion was already undergoing an inspection in Iberia’s Madrid maintenance hangar in La Muñoza, where all Economy and Premium Economy seats, and crew rest stations, were removed, along with associated separation panels. Carpeting was reinstalled with lights indicating the 33 cargo positions. Cargo will be held in place with netting fastened to floor rails where the seats were previously anchored. This configuration yields additional carrying capacity of up to 105 m³ or 18,000 kg of cargo. The conversion of the cabin has been carried out by Iberia MRO, which boasts extensive experience in aircraft retrofit operations and altering cabin configurations. The cabin conversion has been approved by Spanish Air Safety Agency, AESA.

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