Single Aisle Passenger to Freighter Conversions more popular than ever

The continued growth in the e-commerce market has been the catalyst to grow the air freighter market, with experts predicting the world-wide fleet of freighter aircraft needing to grow by 60% to accommodate demand.

Single Aisle Passenger

Changing market

The Covid-19 pandemic changed how people shopped all over the world, massively increasing the amount of e-commerce sales that took place. At the same time, there were thousands of unused passenger aircraft across the world that were standing around waiting for the return of holiday and business traffic.

Airlines had to work in parallel to this demand. Most people don’t realise that the average passenger aircraft already carries a fair amount of post and parcels, it’s often the most profitable part of any passenger flight. A Boeing 777 can carry its normal load of about 440 people along with their baggage but will still have room for about 20 tons of freight.

This is because freight carried this way will actually get to its intended destination faster than if it were to go by a scheduled DHL, UPS or Fedex flight. These carriers normally have particular routes that will take longer but ultimately offer cheaper rates.

Expanding the cargo fleet

To meet the predicted demand, the world-wide fleet will need grow by about 1500 airframes. Cargo aircraft can be spec’d from new and the list of available aircraft from Boeing and Airbus is substantial:

Boeing Airbus
777 F A350 F
767 F A330 F
767 P2F A330 P2F
747 F A321 P2F
737 P2F


You’d have thought that the most popular freighter aircraft would be the largest, models like Boeing’s 777 F & 747 F and the Airbus A350 F, but it’s in fact the Boeing 737 and Airbus A321 which are the most sought after.

The smaller aircraft can carry over 20 tons of freight after the passenger seats and amenities have been stripped out and the efficiency is unmatched for shorter routes which is often the most numerous routes for cargo flights. Quantas has just ordered 4 additional A321 P2F aircraft to bolster its fleet, and there are a few good reasons why the smaller aircraft are becoming more popular to use as freighters.

Converting old passenger aircraft

Once an aircraft reaches a pre-set number of flight hours it is no longer certifiable to carry passengers. The growth in low-cost short haul carriers has meant that there are plenty of aircraft about to go out of service, but these aircraft are still perfectly serviceable and are prime candidates to be converted into freighters.

These single-aisle aircraft are highly fuel efficient, are very familiar to the pilots and maintenance teams that work with them and are very reliable. Once in service as a freighter, smaller aircraft are also much quicker to load and unload at each end of the journey. Aircraft sat on the ground are not earning, so being able to keep them moving with faster turnaround times is highly attractive to traditional airlines and dedicated freight companies who operate them.

Another advantage of these single aisle aircraft is that they’re much cheaper to convert than the 737 or A321 and is approximately $10 million dollars cheaper to convert to a freighter than the wide-body alternative. This makes the economic returns more achievable for these single aisle aircraft and in-turn reduces the costs to people moving cargo across the world.

Moving your consignment

When you need a consignment airfreighted to or from your business, Oceanside Logistics is able to find the most economical solution for you. Whether you need the item quickly or can afford to wait a short time,  we have the expertise to plan and manage your shipment from point to point, taking care of the required paperwork and ensuring that it arrives when expected.

To book an airfreight consignment or find out which shipment method would be best for your needs, call us on 07123 456 789 speak to one of our team or send us a message using the form on our Contact Page.