MIAMI – KLM Cargo (KL), part of the Air France-KLM Group, has taken an important part in transporting urgent medical supplies during the worst part of the pandemic, by using its Boeing 747 Combi until they left the fleet.

To replace the freight carrying capacity, KL has started using Boeing 777 and adopted the CiC (Cargo in Cabin) concept which consists of loading light cargo on passenger’s seats. The operation began by covering the seats with plastic but this solution was not optimal because of the large quantity of waste the use plastic generated.

Now, the solution was found with long-time KL partner Trip & Co. designing a user-friendly, easy-to-install/remove system that allows loading of cargo while protecting seats and IFE equipment. The Cargo Seat Bag (CSB) was fine-tuned to the need of KL by closely working with the KL CiC team.

The extensive experience acquired by KL on this type of operation has resulted in an optimized design that, besides protecting, allows more cargo to be loaded on seats. The equipment has been approved by the Dutch Civil Aviation Authorities as well as from EASA (European Aviation Safety Agency).

KLM received the first batch of 172 CSB (Cargo Seat Bag) , adapted to single, double, and triple seat, on April 8 and used them for the first time on April 13 to carry 950 boxes, weighing 10 tonnes, of médical supplies from Shanghai (PVG) to Amsterdam (AMS).

KLM Cargo Seat Bags – Photo : KLM

Comments from KLM and Trip & Co.

Ton Veltman, KLM Cargo in Cabin Project Manager commented on the partnership by declaring that “It remains extremely inspiring for me to be part of the close-knit team working on Cargo in Cabin. We have been active for over a year now, with involvement throughout KLM and including our partner Trip & Co.”

“By doubling CIC capacity on our 777s, we now have a capacity similar to what we had on our 747s. I’m proud of the many KLM colleagues who have made this innovation happen and of the smart and exceptional product that we developed and delivered with them and Trip & Co. This is an example of creativity and perseverance that will be key in the years to come.”

Edwin de Jongh, CEO of Trip & Co added, “We are very proud that our joint effort has resulted in a flexible, easy-to-use, lightweight solution that gives the airline an opportunity to offer extra cargo capacity in the passenger cabin and avoid having to convert the cabin permanently. It reminds me of the ‘quick change solution of the seventies’: within an hour, the cabin is transformed from ‘cargo’ to a place ready to welcome passengers for a comfortable flight.”

Featured image: KLM Boeing 777-300ER PH-BVW – Photo : Nick Sheeder/Airways