Transforming a passenger airliner to a freighter seems to be common. If I understand correctly (do not hesitate to correct me), it basically consists of removing many components (seats, galley, ...) as done in the first phases of a D-check, and then the handling equipment is added (as it should be done in the late phases of a D-check for freighters).

How much does the transformation cost compared to a D-check?

Related: How much does a D-check cost compared to a new aircraft? (Useful to have an idea of D-check costs.)

  • $\begingroup$ #TIL: manutention. I did not know that was a word. $\endgroup$ – FreeMan Mar 12 '20 at 11:08
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    $\begingroup$ Also, wouldn't the cost vary considerably depending on the plane being converted? $\endgroup$ – FreeMan Mar 12 '20 at 11:09
  • $\begingroup$ @FreeMan Yes, as D check. I expect both to vary the same way. $\endgroup$ – Manu H Mar 12 '20 at 16:42
  • $\begingroup$ @FreeMan manutention is a french word. I thought it was the same in english (my bad, edited) $\endgroup$ – Manu H Mar 12 '20 at 16:45
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    $\begingroup$ No worries, @ManuH! there was a definition for it as an English word as well. Plus, I learned a new word! $\endgroup$ – FreeMan Mar 12 '20 at 18:00

Companies converted 87 passenger jets in 2018 ... Direct conversion costs for the 87 aircraft totaled \$641.5 million ... The direct cost of converting a Boeing 767-300ER amounts to some \$14 million, compared with \$15 million for an A330-200 and \$16 million for an A330-300 ...

Source: Freighter Conversion Market Totaled Nearly \$1B in 2018: IBA, ainonline.com

2018's average is 7–8 million USD per conversion.

Based on this source, an A330-300's heavy (D) check costs 3.8 million USD (adjusted for inflation from 2010 to 2018), and given the quoted conversion for the A333, it's ~4 times as much to do the conversion.

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Source: Boeing 747-400 Passengers to Cargo Conversion, Israel Aerospace Industries, YouTube

Of the changes:

  • The fuselage is cut and reinforced to allow for the bigger door
  • The floor may require reinforcement
  • Passenger environmental control systems are removed
  • Cargo fire suppression is installed
  • A 9G crash net is installed.

More in this A330-300/-200 P2F brochure (PDF). And then there is certification.


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