MIAMI – Iberia (IB) has announced that it converted its first Airbus A330 aircraft into a freighter due to the current needs of the market. The jet traveled from Madrid to Los Angeles to start a series of cargo operations between both cities throughout November.

During the pandemic, the Spanish airline has been operating repatriation flights and cargo flights for medical purposes. IB Chief of Sales, María Jesús López Solás believes that the aircraft conversion is good for an increased air freight demand. López Solás sees these new operations as an opportunity for IB to diversify its income streams while it keeps its staff active.

According to the statement, IAG Cargo will be the one servicing these flights. So far in 2020, the IB increased its operations by 14% in part thanks to the rise in cargo demand. On this, IAG Cargo CEO, Lynne Embleton said that the overall market was weaker than pre-pandemic levels, but cargo operations remain highly demanded.

An Iberia Airbus A330-200 gets de-iced under a stunning clear and cold night—the norm at Helsinki Airport. Photo: Elias Hadiari.

The A330 Conversion

Iberia MRO converted the Airbus A330 jet under Airbus guidelines at IB’s maintenance hangar in Madrid. Regarding the type’s operativity, the Spanish Air Safety Agency, AESA has already approved IB’s retrofit operations.

Not having the three-class seats in the cabin, IB MRO placed floor rails and netting instead. Hence, the aircraft now has an additional carrying capacity of up to 18,000 kg. Additionally, the team reinstalled the carpeting with light fixtures that indicate the 33 cargo positions.

Featured image: One of Iberia’s first Airbus A330-200 aircraft circa 2013. Photo: Wiki Commons.