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See the giant Airbus A330 freighter aircraft that will power a new lucrative cargo operation for Amazon

MNG Airlines' A330P2F at Cologne Bonn Airport in Germany before its inaugural service to JFK.MNG Airlines at Cologne Bonn Airport in Germany before its inaugural service to JFK.

Cologne

  • Hawaiian Airlines will fly cargo on behalf of e-commerce giant Amazon starting late next year.
  • The carrier will operate Airbus A330-300P2F jets, which are passenger aircraft converted into freighters.
  • The A330P2F gained popularity during the pandemic as a large number of widebody planes were not being used.
Hawaiian Airlines recently landed a lucrative deal with e-commerce giant Amazon.Hawaiian Airlines newest livery flying.Hawaiian Airlines.

Hawaiian Airlines

Amazon just hired another passenger airline to fly cargo jets using the biggest aircraft yet

Starting next year, the Honolulu-based carrier will use the Airbus A330-300P2F freighter, which is a converted passenger jet, to fly cargo on behalf of Amazon Air.Rendering of Amazon's A330-300P2F.Rendering of Amazon’s A330-300P2F.

Airbus

Source: Hawaiian Airlines

In return for providing the support and staff for the operation, Amazon can take up to a 15% stake in the airline, which would represent a $110 million investment.Amazon packages.

Amazon/Jordan Stead

Source: Hawaiian Airlines

The new jets will complement the airline’s current cargo division that transports freight on passenger flights, which dates back to 1942 when Hawaiian became the first commercial carrier to transport scheduled US cargo.Hawaiian Airlines Airbus A330The venture also complements the carrier’s current fleet of A330 passenger jets.

Thiago B Trevisan/Shutterstock

Source: Hawaiian Airlines

According to Forbes, the partnership was likely a no-brainer for Hawaiian as the carrier struggled from major losses during the pandemic and has had a slower recovery.Hawaiian Airlines Airbus A330Hawaiian Airlines Airbus A330

EndeavorMoorePhotography/Shutterstock

Source: Forbes

“This relationship provides a catalyst to grow our business and the unique opportunity to diversify our revenue sources while capitalizing on our established strengths,” Hawaiian president and CEO Peter Ingram said in a press release.Hawaiian Airlines CEO Peter Ingram.Hawaiian Airlines CEO Peter Ingram.

Hawaiian Airlines

Source: Hawaiian Airlines

To prepare for the new Amazon service, Hawaiian said it will hire more pilots, mechanics, dispatchers, and other support staff. Moreover, it plans to expand its existing maintenance bases on the US mainland and open a new pilot base.Hawaiian Airlines A330 simulator.Hawaiian Airlines A330 simulator.

Hawaiian Airlines

Source: Hawaiian Airlines

All 10 aircraft are expected to enter service in 2023 and 2024, with options for more “depending on Amazon’s future business needs.”An A330-300P2F for DHL before being painted in the airline's livery.An A330-300P2F for DHL before being painted in the airline’s livery.

Airbus

Source: Hawaiian Airlines

The A330-300P2Fs will be leased from aircraft lessor Altavair after being converted by Airbus and ST Engineering joint venture Elbe Flugzeugwerke (EFW) in Dresden, Germany.A330 of MNG Airlines at EFW, Dresden Germany, in preparation for slot in for P2F freighter conversion.An MNG Airlines A330 getting ready for conversion. EFW also converts A320 family aircraft into freighters.

EFW

Source: Hawaiian Airlines, Airbus

According to the Wall Street Journal, Amazon outsources all of its flying to third-party operators and has accumulated over 100 planes since the airline launched in 2015.Prime Air.Prime Air

hapabapa/Getty Images

Source: Wall Street Journal

The online retailer has partnered with a handful of operators worldwide to power its Amazon Air arm, including two other US commercial carriers: Sun Country Airlines using the Boeing 737-800BCF…Prime Air Amazon BoeingThe exterior of a Prime Air Boeing 737-800BCF (Boeing converted freighter) plane.

Sinéad Baker/Business Insider

A small airline’s ‘stroke of genius’ decision to carry Amazon packages possibly saved it from the disaster afflicting other passenger carriers

…and Silver Airways using the ATR 72-500F converted freighter.Amazon's ATR72-500F operated by Silver Airways at Wichita Airport in January.An Amazon ATR72-500F operated by Silver Airways at Wichita Airport in January.

Wichita Airport Authority

Source: World Airlines News, Wichita Airport Authority

Amazon also has Boeing 767-300 freighters in service with cargo operators like Atlas Air, but the A330-300P2F will be its biggest plane yet.An Atlas Air operated Boeing 767 freighter.An Amazon Air Boeing 767 freighter.

DaveAlan/Getty Images

According to Airbus, the A330-300 widebody jet features advanced technology that makes it a “capable” conversion option.Titan Airways' A330-300P2F cockpit.Titan Airways’ A330-300P2F cockpit.

Titan Airways

The special modification is a way to give the A330 passenger version an extended life, especially with Airbus expecting high demand for mid-sized freighters over the next 20 years.Airbus A330-200A Cambodia Airways Airbus A330-200.

P. Pigeyre/Airbus

P2F conversions became particularly popular during the pandemic because they were a quick fix to cargo supply and demand challenges caused by surging e-commerce, maritime shipping delays, and supply chain issues.Port of Los Angeles and Long Beach Port Congestion — Los Angeles/Long Beach Harbor Tour 2021Touring the Ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach.

Thomas Pallini/Insider

Source: AIN Online

“Underutilized airliners become high-demand freighters,” the AirInsight Group said in November 2021, calling the jets a “hot commodity.”EFW delivers first A330-300P2F to aircraft lessor CDB Aviation, who leased the jet out to Mexico-based cargo carrier Mas.EFW delivers first A330-300P2F to aircraft lessor CDB Aviation, who leased the jet out to Mexico-based cargo carrier Mas.

Business Wire

While the P2F cargo plane appears to be a promising program, Airbus’ first go at an A330 freighter was not a huge success.Airbus A330-200F.

Airbus/e*m company/P. Masclet

The planemaker launched the A330-200F in 2010 as a replacement for the favorable A300-600F, delivering the first to Etihad Crystal Cargo.Airbus' first A330-200F for Etihad.

Airbus

Source: Airbus

The jet, which can carry 65-70 tonnes of freight and fly up to 4,775 miles, is sized between Boeing’s 767-300F and 777F planes, both having seen great success with operators like Emirates SkyCargo and Canada’s Cargojet Airways.Emirates SkyCargoAn Emirates SkyCargo Boeing 777-200 Freighter.

Carlos Yudica / Shutterstock.com

Source: Airbus, Planespotters

However, the -200F’s size and performance were not enough to compete with the 102-tonne payload and 5,700-mile-range of the 777F…Lufthansa 777F loading space.Lufthansa 777F loading space.

Lufthansa

Source: Boeing

…and it was more expensive to operate than the Boeing 767-300F, which could carry about 53 tonnes of freight across 3,700 miles.UPS 767-300F.UPS 767-300F.

Boeing

Source: Boeing, Freight Waves

The middle-of-the-road jet proved to be unpopular with operators, with Airbus only receiving 38 orders for the -200F as of November 2022.Loading an Airbus A330-200F.

Airbus

Source: Airbus

But, that has not stopped the European planemaker from taking another crack at the freighter market.Loading an Airbus A330-200F.Loading an Airbus A330-200F.

Airbus

Instead of creating a brand new purpose-built freighter, Airbus decided in 2012 to convert two A330 passenger planes into cargo aircraft — the A330-200P2F and the A330-300P2F to be used by Amazon.An A330P2F.

EFW

Source: Airbus

The program is particularly favorable after the pandemic tanked widebody demand, leaving a large surplus of passenger A330s available for conversion.One of Lufthansa's A330s (pictured) was converted during the pandemic to carry medical supplies.One of Lufthansa’s A330s (pictured) was converted during the pandemic to carry medical supplies. The work was done by Lufthansa Technik, not EWF, as a special allowance as the need for masks and other COVID-related goods was in high-demand.

Lufthansa Technik

Source: Airbus

First delivered to Egyptair Cargo in 2018, the -200P2F model is smaller than the -300P2F, carrying up to 61 tonnes of cargo across some 4,800 miles.EgyptAir Cargo A330-300P2F.Egyptair Cargo A330-300P2F.

Miglena Pencheva/Shutterstock

Source: Airbus, FlightGlobal

Meanwhile, the -300P2F can transport between 58 and 62 tonnes of cargo up to 4,200 miles, offering 20% more cargo volume and lower cost-per-tonne compared to other freighters of a similar range.Titan Airways A330-300P2F.Titan Airways A330-300P2F.

Titan Airways

Source: Airbus

Moreover, the high-payload and shorter-ranged jet is optimized for lighter-weight cargo compared to the -200P2F, making it well-suited for the e-commerce sector that favors those specs.An A330-200P2F.An A330-200P2F.

Miglena Pencheva/Shutterstock

Source: Airbus

“The endorsement of our freighters by Amazon speaks volumes about the market value of the A330 and the position Airbus wide-bodies are gaining in the cargo market,” company CEO and head of Airbus International, Christian Scherer, said.Inside an A330-300P2F.Inside an A330-300P2F.

EFW

Source: Airbus

To turn the A330 passenger plane into a freighter, EFW will strip the interior and introduce a side loading door. Compared to the A300-600RF, the converted plane will offer 30% more capacity and 20% better fuel burn.Titan Airways A330-300P2F.Titan Airways A330-300P2F.

Titan Airways

Source: EFW

Despite having a shorter range than its -200P2F sister, the plane can still reach cities like Buenos Aires from Miami and New Delhi from Paris, though it must take a lower payload to reach farther distances.Range map for the A330P2F.Range map from Miami for EFW’s Airbus freighter conversions.

EFW

Source: EFW

According to the manufacturer, the market will need approximately 2,700 cargo planes over the next 20 years. Of that demand, about half will be mid-sized freighters like the A330.Cargo planesDHL and FedEx cargo planes.

Oed/ullstein bild/Getty

Source: Airbus

Moreover, Airbus says there is enough demand to support both the A330-200F and A330 conversion freighters, saying the two “address a different price-point and end-users, based on separate operational requirements.”A330-200F.A330-200F.

Airbus

Source: Airbus

The first A330-300P2F converted by EFW was delivered to DHL Express in 2017, with Airbus saying the new-generation jet offers “unbeatable economics,” and will be a better option for markets needing higher capacity freighters.DHL A330-300P2F.DHL A330-300P2F.

DHL

Source: Airbus

Other carriers like Turkish cargo giant MNG Airlines…MNG Airlines' A330P2F at Cologne Bonn Airport in Germany before its inaugural service to JFK.MNG Airlines at Cologne Bonn Airport in Germany before its inaugural service to JFK.

Cologne

Source: Aviacionline

…and Titan Airways have also acquired the jet, with the latter citing the -300P2F’s multiple container arrangement options give the plane “greater flexibility.”Inside an A330P2F.Inside an A330P2F.

Airbus

Source: Titan Airways

In addition to the A330P2F freighters, Airbus also partnered with Lufthansa Technik, the Lufthansa Group’s maintenance and overhaul arm, during the pandemic to certify a reversible “temporary cargo cabin” kit for A330 passenger planes.Airbus and Lufthansa Technik's "temporary cargo cabin."Airbus and Lufthansa Technik’s “temporary cargo cabin.”

Lufthansa Technik

Source: Lufthansa Technik

The idea came in 2020 when Germany’s aviation authority approved four Lufthansa A330s to be converted into freighters to transport medical goods, so Lufthansa Technik decided to pursue a full certification for use by any airline.Airbus and Lufthansa Technik's "temporary cargo cabin."The Lufthansa conversion took just 36 hours.

Lufthansa Technik

Source: Lufthansa Technik

Finland flag carrier Finnair was the launch customer, using the kit to gut the cabin and attach pallet brackets to the seat tracks, turning the space into a cargo hold without a major overhaul or investment.Inside Finnair's "temporary cargo cabin."Inside Finnair’s “temporary cargo cabin.”

Lufthansa Technik

Source: Lufthansa Technik

While P2F aircraft are popular, Airbus has decided its time for an all-new purpose-built freighter — the A350F.Airbus A350F computer rendering.Airbus A350F computer rendering.

FIXION/Airbus

Boeing’s new 777-8 freighter will be the largest and longest-range twin-engine cargo plane in the industry. See how it stacks up to rival Airbus’ A350F.

The jet will compete with Boeing’s 777-8 freighter, which is part of the planemaker’s new 777X family.Boeing's new 777-8 freighter.Boeing’s new 777-8 freighter next to the company’s 777-9 passenger jet.

PRNewsfoto/Boeing

Boeing just unveiled the freighter variant of its new flagship 777X jet as cargo demand continues to skyrocket — take a look at the massive plane

While the A350F is designed to carry a lower payload compared to the 777-8F, it is expected to have a longer range and feature single-pilot capabilities.Singapore Airlines A350F rendering.Carriers like Singapore Airlines and Air France have ordered the freighter.

FIXION/Airbus

Source: Insider

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