J&C Aero, an international aviation design and production company, and SmartLynx Airlines, an EU full-service ACMI aircraft lease provider, have signed an agreement under which J&C Aero’s engineers will manage the certification process for the air carrier to receive a permanent EASA STC for cargo transportation inside Airbus A330 cabins. Previously, J&C Aero had provided engineering support for SmartLynx Airlines to receive temporal approval for the modification of five Airbus A330 with Zero LOPA.
Under the Zero LOPA project, J&C Aero has developed all the necessary technical and legal documentation required to conduct cabin modification on five wide-body aircraft operated by SmartLynx Airlines. In addition, the company’s engineers conducted technical oversight of the modification works and ensured their subsequent temporary certification by aviation authorities. Completed modifications enabled the air carrier to operate Airbus A330s that can be relatively easily converted from passenger to cargo operations and vice versa.
“Back at the beginning of 2020, J&C Aero was the first and only holder of an EASA STC that allowed cargo transportation inside passenger cabins without any time or flight hour limitations,” said Vitalijus Malyška, the COO of J&C Aero. “Today, the market demand evolved further, and airlines require even more flexibility in terms of fleet operations. It is vital for them to utilise the full capacity of their cabins while being able to easily change between PAX and cargo operations as the demand shifts. This particularly concerns the wide-body segment whereas many operators were forced to ground their long-haul aircraft amid the pandemic. But the ability to have an aircraft that is both passenger- and cargo-ready without conducting the full-fledge P2F conversion allows airlines to seize new opportunities on the cargo market while the travel segment is still recovering. With this in mind, we are very thankful to SmartLynx Airlines for entrusting the certification process with us and look forward to a smooth receipt of an STC by the carrier.”
Each of SmartLynx Airlines’ seatless Airbus A330 has up to 34 cargo zones for cargo containers or nets with a total transportation capacity of 260 m3 and up to 55.000 kg of cargo. With all necessary temporary approvals by aviation authorities received, the airline already operates the modified aircraft on transatlantic and transpacific routes, transporting medical supplies and other cargo types and being ready for the growing demand as the pre-Christmas season approaches. With the support of J&C Aero engineers, the airline anticipates completing the certification for a permanent EASA STC by the end of autumn 2021.
Robert Woods, vice president Technical at SmartLynx Airlines, said “We are delighted to continue our successful partnership with J&C Aero as we continue strengthening our positions in the cargo market. Throughout our cooperation, we have always been pleased with the quality and efficiency of J&C Aero. We trust that as we take larger steps into the long-haul market, having such a reliable partner will be truly beneficial for our company.”