KLM uses passenger jets for cargo

Dutch airline KLM has been flying passenger aircraft with cargo in the passenger cabin as well as in the belly of its aircraft.

Carrying cargo on passenger seats and baggage bins as well as in the hold, a Boeing 777-300 passenger aircraft flew from Shanghai in China to Amsterdam carrying medical supplies for the Dutch health service. 

According to KLM the aircraft can carry around 500 packages in the cabin of each flight. The airline is now to include routes between the Netherlands, Beijing and Hong Kong into the service. It is to use three Boeing 777s for the system.

This is no simple task, with executive VP of Air France KLM Cargo Adriaan den Heijer saying that every package needs binding securely to seats and the interior of the cabin cannot be damaged.

“Cargo-in-Cabin significantly increases capacity. What we can now accommodate in the cabin equates to around six large pallets in the belly or 40% of the total cargo capacity,” Den Heijer added.

“We can use the added space to our advantage, carrying more urgent medical supplies. Cargo-in-Cabin caters perfectly to the growing demand for such equipment.”

This follows news that Airbus is looking to modify two of its lines of wide-body jets for occasional cargo carrying – the seats can be removed and cargo carried in the aircraft in much the same way as dedicated freighters.