Printed headline: Creative Cargo
1. Cargo Bay Protection Solutions
Company: Aviation Technical Services
Specifications: Aviation Technical Services (ATS) has been in the business of repairing cargo bays for more than 45 years, and the MRO provider says recently increased scrutiny and regulatory oversight of cargo bay damage has created demand for cargo bay protection solutions. Earlier this year, ATS partnered with Aerospace Machining and Assembly on a suite of cargo bay protection solutions. The product line, called CargoTek, includes cargo pit liners, sidewall protectors and anchor guards aimed at reducing cargo-related maintenance costs and delays. ATS says the line’s commercial launch on a customer’s Boeing 737-700 fleet was successful, and the company also recently secured a European launch customer for the Airbus A320 platform.
2. Cargo Conversion Powerhouse
Specifications: IAI’s Bedek Aviation Group has been converting hundreds of passenger aircraft over the last 35 years and continues to grow. In 2017, it performed what it says is a record 22 conversions for operators such as Alaska Airlines and Asiana Airlines. The company expects growth to continue, particularly through its global conversion sites such as its joint venture facility with Mexicana MRO. Last year, IAI was the first and only company to receive Boeing 737-700NG cargo conversion certification, and it is expecting 737-800 certification by the end of 2018. According to IAI, approximately 75% of Amazon.com’s fleet consists of 767 freighters converted by Bedek. While the company’s focus so far has been on Boeing aircraft, it is considering a move into other aircraft types.
3. Cargo Loading Systems
Company: Ancra International
Specifications: Established as an aircraft interior and cargo fittings supplier in 1969, Ancra International developed its first main deck cargo loading system (CLS) in 1982. Today, the company says more than half of the global fleet of freighter aircraft are equipped with Ancra’s main deck CLS. Ancra provides manual and powered CLS for most aircraft types, and in 2017 it delivered commercial main deck CLS for 16 different aircraft platforms. The company currently has 15 new CLS products in development or certification and recently signed numerous deals related to Boeing 737- family freighters. Under the new deals, Ancra has become the supplier of CLS for Boeing 737-800 freighters to Boeing Commercial Aviation Services, IAI-Bedek and Aeronautical Engineers Inc.
4. Cargo Crash Pads
Company: Airbus & Zodiac Aerospace
Specifications: Airbus and Zodiac Aerospace partnered earlier this year to develop lower-deck passenger sleeping compartments that can be interchanged with regular cargo containers. The sleeping-berth modules will fit inside an aircraft’s cargo compartments, and the companies say they will not affect the cargo floor or loading system because they will sit on top of it. The sleeping compartments are still a work in progress, with Airbus in charge of certification while Zodiac spearheads the layout. According to Airbus, the idea came to fruition as a way to add value for airlines while improving passenger experience.
5. Safer Cargo Loading
Company: Eirtech Aviation
Specifications: Eirtech Aviation recently began designing and manufacturing cargo products, including a cargo loading system (CLS) cover and cargo bay surveillance system (CBSS). The CLS provides a safer loading surface for bulk loading of passenger luggage and cargo, while the CBSS allows an operator to monitor all cargo areas at any time during a flight or the loading/unloading process. The company says the CBSS has been particularly effective for customers in the event of false smoke detection in lower cargo holds by allowing flight crew to make better informed decisions before dumping fuel and diverting. Eirtech says it can also help operators monitor procedures and load sequences to recognize where aircraft damage is occurring. The company has recently been contracted by cargo operators in Europe and South and Central America to install the CBSS in Boeing and Airbus freighters.
6. 737-Conversion Specialists
Specifications: Specializing in Boeing 737 passenger-to-freighter conversions, Pemco has more than 135 737-300/400 conversions operating today. The company says its 737 conversions are turned around in 90 days and include major structural modifications with avionics upgrades to meet STC requirements for each of its more than 26 freighter platform types. Pemco is in the process of receiving STC approval for its 737-700 FlexiCombi conversion, which it says is on track to be completed by November 2018 and will provide customers with four additional freighter platforms. Pemco is working with parent company Airborne Maintenance and Engineering Services to provide consistent access to kitted parts to decrease lead times.
7. Specialized Cargo Restraints
Company: Cargo Systems Inc.
Specifications: Texas-based Cargo Systems Inc. has been focused on designing cargo-restraint systems for aircraft OEMs and operators since 1980. Although the company has expertise with a wide variety of aircraft types, it specializes in regional air cargo carriers and designing specialized solutions to comply with regulations and needs—such as cargo restraints for weather monitoring and medical equipment. The company says its current focuses include new restraint products for small and medium-size aircraft used for hauling cargo, as well as ensuring availability of stock for fittings, straps and components. Additionally, Cargo Systems Inc. says there has been an industry push toward proper restraint for cargo in helicopters and corporate/charter aircraft, so these are also growth areas for the company.