Eastern Airlines to add 35 ‘Class-E’ B777 Pax-Freighters

Eastern Airlines’ entry into the all-cargo market has turned out to be much larger than initially expected after the carrier announced plans to launch services with 35 specially converted B777 passenger-converted freighters. The aircraft will have seats removed like a typical preighter but will also offer a Class-E maindeck, meaning they will have the level of fire protection usually found in a freighter. As a result, the aircraft – dubbed the Eastern Express Freighter – will be able to carry more types of cargo than a typical passenger-freighter.

Eastern Airlines hopes the first aircraft will enter service in the first quarter of next year, subject to approval of the conversion. The company said it had secured 35 B777s as feedstock for the project, but did not provide further details on the aircraft. The carrier said it would target the fast-growing e-commerce market, which faces “excess demand”.

“Subject to STC approvals, the Eastern B777 Express Freighter will be a fully certified cargo aircraft with a ‘Class-E’ maindeck capable of carrying a full load of volumetric express cargo non-stop between Asia and the US,” Eastern Airlines explained. “The Eastern Express Freighter will not be subject to the restrictions on cargo commodities that are imposed on conventional passenger aircraft used as freighters.” “The innovative design converts the maindeck cabin of the widebody B777, the -200, -200ER and -300 series, into a true cargo aircraft.

This allows the entire volume of the maindeck cabin to hold low-density, express freight cargo.” In future, Eastern Airlines also hopes to add a maindeck cargo door and a palletized loading system. Eastern Airlines president and chief executive Steve Harfst said: “This move is not just a game changer for Eastern, it will also transform the industry.

“Our pioneering conversion method is tailored specifically to meet the needs of express package freight customers,” said Harfst. “It is more efficient and cost effective allowing us to better serve the exact needs of our customers at a competitive price.” The company first announced plans to launch freighter operations in September 2020.

Earlier this year, it revealed plans to add two B777s for cargo use. Eastern Air Cargo will offer general cargo sales, cargo charters, ACMI/wet-leasing and dry leasing. In addition to Eastern Airlines, Eastern Air Holdings subsidiaries include FMS LLC, a Part 145 repair station providing aircraft maintenance services to a variety of Boeing and Airbus widebody and narrowbody aircraft types including B767 and B777 aircraft and Foxtrot Aero LLC providing P2F STC development and engineering services.

Full interior cargo wall and ceiling linings

9G cargo restraint system and smoke barrier Class-E Certified cargo aircraft

21-28 reinforced freight carrying zones Supernumerary area with seating and galley for augmented flight crew

Source: Eastern Airlines

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