In another sign of the times, LOT Polish Airlines has approached Boeing for help in converting its 787 Dreamliners into freighter aircraft.
A LOT spokesperson told Reuters, “We are in talks with the aircraft manufacturer about … adapting the passenger aircraft (Dreamliner) to cargo transport.”
The request is significant because up until now, the 787 has been a passenger aircraft. Boeing does not offer this aircraft in a cargo-only configuration. As LOT noted:
“If we get approval and meet all safety requirements, we will become the first airline in the world that will adapt the Dreamliner for such transport.”
LOT finds itself in the same position as many airlines around the world. It has halted inbound flights and carried only 54,000 people between March 15 – April 5. Last year, it carried 10 million passengers during that same period. And those 54,000 were not mostly repatriation flights…
Now it is struggling for survival and seeking state aid as a lifeline to continue operations.
The 787 conversation will not be permanent, but LOT has not indicated how long it will last or what supplies will be transported. Currently, passenger compartments on the 787 are being used to transport personal protective equipment and other items that can be strapped into seats.
LOT’s bid to become the first airline in the world to operate 787 cargo aircraft is a sign of the times. As passenger traffic slowly recovers, look for more airlines to shift temporarily toward emphasis transporting cargo.
> Read More: LOT 787-8 Business Class Review
(H/T: Gordon // image: LOT Polish)