CEBU PACIFIC (CEB) said it will convert two of its passenger aircrafts into freighter planes and will be the first local airline to have dedicated cargo aircrafts.
“There is potential for bespoke point-to-point cargo service that isn’t dependent on whatever belly space is there on existing commercial flights,” CEB spokesperson Charo Lagamon said.
Lagamon explained that CEB management realized that the Philippines, as an archipelago, needs reliable and convenient logistics services. “It is high time to offer a solution for traders, importers or exporters, and even manufacturers, to move time-sensitive commodities more efficiently,” she said.
CEB has signed an agreement with Switzerland-based IPR Conversions Ltd to convert two of its ATR 72-500 passenger aircraft into freighter planes. The conversion will involve the installation of a large cargo door, allowing standard containers and pallets used throughout the aviation industry to be loaded.
According to CEB, the aircraft will have space for seven AKE Unit Load Device containers, and will be able to carry more than seven tons of cargo.
Conversion will take place at the facility of Sabena Technics DNR S.A.S. in Dinard, France. Lagamon said the two aircrafts will be back in the Philippines by October and CEB expects to start offering the air cargo service by the fourth quarter of 2018.
CEB has been utilizing the belly space of its passenger aircraft fleet for cargo services. The airline added that presently, it has about 50 percent market share for domestic cargo. (Maria Cristina Arayata)
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