Canada-based Jazz Aviation will become the first operator of the Dash 8-400 Simplified Package Freighter, a version of the Dash 8-400 that has all its passenger seats removed. This modification was recently approved by Transport Canada.
Jazz told Cargo Facts it is exploring opportunities to begin Simplified Package Freighter operations in early May. The first aircraft to feature the cargo configuration will be unit 4369, which is currently being modified at the maintenance facility in Halifax (YHZ). The other twelve aircraft can be converted at any Jazz maintenance facility across the country.
Jazz has ordered conversion kits for up to thirteen aircraft. The kits, which include up to seventeen cargo nets, will be supplied exclusively by De Havilland Aircraft of Canada, the Dash 8-400 manufacturer. Jazz currently has forty-four Dash 8-400s, which it flies for Air Canada under the Air Canada Express brand.
According to De Havilland, the Dash 8-400 Simplified Package Freighter is capable of carrying a total payload of up to 17,960 pounds and a total cargo volume of up to 1,150 cubic feet. This will allow Jazz to carry medical supplies during the COVID-19 crisis.
Air Canada also recently modified three 777-300ERs (41525, 43249 and 43251) by removing most seats from the passenger cabin to maximize cargo capacity.
Separately, De Havilland is reportedly considering a production Dash 8-400 freighter or a large cargo-door conversion.