Korean Air received verification to remodel a passenger Boeing 777-300ER into a cargo aircraft.
After a technical review, the South Korean Ministry of Land, Infrastructure and Transport (MOLIT) gave the carrier a nod to remove all the seats from one of its stored Triple Sevens and convert it into another freighter for the airline.
The MOLIT released the announcement on September 1, 2020, stating that approval for the modification was granted with regards to the weak air traffic recovery and the carrier’s idle passenger planes.
The airline acquired permission from the ministry to remove 269 seats, some in-flight electricity wires and to install floor placards to change the cabin floor for cargo loading.
Korean Air was the first airline to disclose a profit in Q2 2020 amid the global pandemic. The flag carrier managed to achieve this by growing its cargo revenue by 95% during the period. Considering the airline’s success with air freight during COVID-19, the decision to convert one of its idle aircraft seems strategically obvious.
Korean Air sports a fleet of 170 aircraft, according to Planespotters. The carrier has 55 Boeing 777s, both 777-200 and 777-300 versions, and twelve 777 freighters. Since the MOLIT’s approval is granted for a stored passenger jet, the remodeled aircraft is likely to be a 10-year-old (registered as HL8208), a 9-year-old (registered as HL8218) Boeing 777-300ER, or a 22-year-old (registered as HL7534) plane.