SINGAPORE: Amid the sharp drop in passenger flights, low-cost carrier Scoot has modified one of its A320 aircraft by removing all passenger seats to carry cargo in the cabin.
This has doubled its cargo capacity to nearly 20 tonnes, said the airline on Monday (Aug 24).
According to Scoot, it is one of the first airlines in Southeast Asia to operate cargo charters with such modified aircraft, with the first of these flights taking off from Fuzhou to Singapore last Saturday.
"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," said Scoot, adding that another aircraft will be modified this week.
The A320 aircraft was modified to better serve cities with smaller airports, said the airline.
It took four days to modify the aircraft, which included removing passenger seats, installing placards to mark areas where cargo can be placed and adding additional fire extinguishers.
For such flights, there will be a minimum of two pilots and two cabin crew on board, said Scoot, which is part of the Singapore Airlines Group.
READ: SIA Group passenger carriage drops 98.6% in July as air travel demand remains 'severely curtailed' amid COVID-19
Scoot’s passenger carriage in July declined 99.6 per cent year-on-year against a contraction in capacity of 97.1 per cent.
It started operating cargo charters using its A320 aircraft in May, after receiving the necessary approvals to do so. It had loaded cargo in the cabin, secured on passenger seats.
This was its was of getting an "alternative revenue stream", said Scoot CEO Campbell Wilson.
"Since then, we have been growing our cargo capacity and capabilities to remain competitive while providing more value for our customers," he added.
To date, Scoot has operated more than 200 cargo charters to and from 10 cities, including Guangzhou, Hong Kong, Perth and Taipei.