COVID 19 relief efforts in the developing world will get a boost from De Havilland Canada’s effort to provide an inexpensive process to convert legacy Dash-8 aircraft into temporary freighters. In recent months, aircraft manufacturers have rolled out certified freight conversions for several aircraft types, most of them two-aisle airliners. De Havilland also got a conversion plan certified for its flagship Q400. However, older aircraft are the norm in many parts of the world and Dash-8s are the backbone of many fleets in the Third World. De Havilland has created Transport Canada-approved service bulletins to remove the seats and track covers in the Dash-8 100/200, 300 and 400 series aircraft, giving the aircraft cargo payload boosts of 6,500, 9,625 and 17,960 pounds respectively. The mod is called the Simplified Package Freighter.
748 Air Services (K) Ltd. will be the first to use the service bulletin and will convert seven aircraft. Managing Director Moses Mwangi said a drastic cut in passenger service and major increase in cargo demand makes this an elegant solution for his airline. “We have responded with Air Cargo solutions to support the humanitarian, natural resources and government sectors, who will benefit from the conversion of our four Dash 8-100 aircraft and three of our Dash 8-400 (Q400) aircraft into Simplified Package Freighters,” Mwangi said.