Freight AIRE to convert two Cebu Pacific A330s to freighters

Aircraft Interior Refurbishment Espana (AIRE) has announced, that it will convert two Cebu Pacific A330s to freighters.

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AIRE and Philippines’s largest carrier Cebu Pacific Air have signed an agreement that the Spanish company will convert two Airbus A330 aircraft from passenger to cargo configuration. It is the first collaboration between the companies.

The decision by Cebu Pacific to convert the aircraft to freighters comes after the COVID-19 pandemic lead to rising air freight demand. Several other airlines have already converted aircraft to passenger versions to transport more cargo, while travel restrictions for passengers are still in place.

Alex Reyes, Vice president for Commercial at Cebu Pacific, confirmed: "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.”

Juan Arevalo, Engineering Director within AIRE, added: “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”.

AIRE was selected by Cebu after a comprehensive evaluation. The Spanish company has already performed cargo conversions for several airlines and offered to most effective solution when it comes to max weight and volume.

This partnership between the two companies allows them to use their specific knowledge in different areas to effectively develop solutions that fit both partners. Despite the difficult times, both teams have been working together in different matters.

Cebu Pacific is one of the largest carriers in the Philippines and started operations in 1996. The carrier has its main operational hub at Manila, with bases installed at Lapu-Lapu Mactan-Cebu, Clark Diosdado Macapagal and Davao City Francisco Bangoy airports.

The fleet currently consists of 15 ATR 72 turboprops, 32 Airbus A320s, of which five are A320neos, 14 Airbus A321s, of which seven are A321neos and eight A330s, of which two will converted to freighters. Due to the pandemic, around half of the aircraft are currently grounded.

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