Transport Canada, the Canadian government’s transportation regulator, has confirmed the extension of approvals for De Havilland Aircraft Canada Dash 8 turboprop Simplified Package Freighter (SPF) conversions through the end of July 2021.
Toronto-based De Havilland, which acquired the turboprop programme from Bombardier last year, says on 4 September that the approvals “allow for continued flexibility in the transportation of goods in the framework of the Covid-19 pandemic”.
Transport Canada initially issued the approvals in May.
“There is an ongoing, fundamental need for the transport of humanitarian aid and cargo; air cargo services therefore continue to be vital for the economy, financial stability of aircraft operators, and for fighting Covid-19,” says Amod Kelkar, vice-president, customer services and support at De Havilland Canada.
“Our teams have issued the revised aircraft flight manual supplements to customers who bought this solution and we are working to convert the SPF modifications to permanent service bulletins based on the need and the regulatory allowances,” Kelkar adds.
De Havilland Canada is offering what it calls “simplified” packages for the in-production Dash 8-400, as well as legacy -100/200 and -300 variants. It calls for removing seats and seat track covers in the passenger cabins and can be done overnight. The conversions provide cargo capacities up to 8,163kg (17,960lb), depending on the variant.
The freighter conversions were initially offered in response to the increase in demand for cargo capacity when airlines ramped down their networks following the surge in coronavirus cases worldwide. Belly cargo was suddenly limited, so numerous manufacturers including Airbus and ATR began offering freighter conversions for their passenger aircraft to get idle aircraft back into the air.
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