De Havilland Canada introduces cargo conversion solutions for Dash 8-400

The Dash 8-400 aircraft's rugged design places it exceptionally well for cargo operations, owing to its low cost of operation, great performance, and reliability in airline and special mission missions.

Dash 8-400 Freighter with Large Cargo Door (Dash 8-400 F-LCD)

Dash 8-400 Freighter with Large Cargo Door (Dash 8-400 F-LCD)

(This story has been updated to reflect the partnership between Ethiopian Airlines Group and De Havilland Canada)

De Havilland Aircraft of Canada Limited (De Havilland Canada) announced today the launch of three cargo conversion solutions for the Dash 8-400 aircraft. Quick Change (QC), Package Freighter (PF), and Freighter with Large Cargo Door (F-LCD) versions have been introduced to accommodate a wide range of operating business models. The Dash 8-400 aircraft's robust design places it exceptionally well for cargo operations, owing to its low cost of operation, great performance, and reliability in the airline and special mission missions.

"As the cargo market continues to grow, our cargo conversion solutions will easily enhance the overall value and extend the already high revenue-generating capabilities of the Dash 8-400 aircraft," said Jean-Philippe Côté, Vice President Programs, De Havilland Canada. "De Havilland Canada will offer the three launched cargo conversion solutions through original equipment manufacturer (OEM) Service Bulletins approved by Transport Canada, and we are ready to provide a wide range of OEM support as desired by our operators – from kit installation to on-site support through our global support infrastructure.

"Several built-in attributes of the Dash 8-400 aircraft, including its outstanding airfield accessibility, hot-and-high performance, range up to 1,640 nm and long structural life, position it very well for cargo operations, and its low noise and CO2 emissions mean that it's also an environmentally responsible choice," added Côté.

Dash 8-400 Quick Change (Dash 8-400 QC)

The Quick Change solution is a revenue expansion model that allows the Dash 8-400 aircraft to be converted between all-passenger and all-cargo configurations. Operators can merge two independent revenue sources into one, considerably increasing their revenue base. The short time required to switch from one configuration to the other enables operators to respond quickly to market conditions. No attendants are required in the cabin for cargo flights due to the installation of a new smoke detection system in the cabin to transform it into a Class E compartment.

Dash 8-400 Package Freighter (Dash 8-400 PF)

The Dash 8-400 Package Freighter is capable of bulk loading cargo of varied sizes, such as e-commerce packages. There are nine separate loading zones, each with eight radial spider nets that serve as tie-down and restraint functions. In all Dash 8-400 aircraft, the primary cargo access door is located in the same location as the aft LHS luggage compartment door, and there are four supplementary access doors (one at the front and one at the back on each side of the aircraft) to allow speedy cargo loading and unloading. It's great for transporting e-commerce products. For palletized cargo, an alternative cargo loading system is also available.

Dash 8-400 Freighter with Large Cargo Door (Dash 8-400 F-LCD)

The Dash 8-400 Package Freighter can be equipped with a large cargo door (LCD) and a cargo loading system to provide a containerized cargo model that facilitates the transport of unit load device (ULD) pallets or containers. With the LCD measuring 109 in x 69 in (2.8 m x 1.8 m), the Dash 8-400 F-LCD is equipped to handle typical containers such as LD1, LD2, LD3 and LD4. For example, it can carry as many as eight LD3 containers. This would allow interline transfer of containers from other aircraft in an operator's network. It is ideal for hub-and-spoke network carriers as well as major logistics operators

De Havilland Aircraft of Canada Limited (De Havilland Canada) is well established around the world, with over 5,000 aircraft delivered, and the team of aviation professionals is dedicated to advancing our near-100-year reputation for excellence in innovation, production, and customer support. De Havilland Canada acquired the operational name for the firms formerly known as Longview Aviation, Viking Air Ltd, Pacific Sky Training, and De Havilland Canada in February 2022.

On July 20, Ethiopian Airlines Group joined hands with De Havilland Aircraft of Canada to acquire two Dash 8-400 Freighter - Large Cargo Door (F-LCD) modification kits. The proposal includes an option for two more F-LCD conversion kits. The parties are collaborating to reach a final and binding agreement.

"Cargo has played a pivotal role in Ethiopian Airlines' operations over the past couple of years, and will remain a key growth pillar of our business over the coming years," said Mesfin Tasew, Chief Executive Officer, Ethiopian Airlines Group in a press release. "The pandemic and subsequent recovery efforts have given rise to significant opportunities in the cargo space and we see great value in converting our older Dash 8-400 fleet to freighters to capitalize on these growing opportunities."

"Ethiopian's proposal with De Havilland Canada is a superb testament to the versatility of the Dash 8-400 aircraft to satisfy a wide variety of operational requirements and we thank Ethiopian for this confidence in the aircraft's capability," said Philippe Poutissou, Vice President, Customer Experience, De Havilland Canada. "The Dash 8-400 aircraft's industry-leading operating costs and environmental footprint, as well as its outstanding performance and large cabin volume have facilitated our introduction of a series of freighter options -- including Quick Change, Package Freighter and LCD Freighters -- to better serve the expanding cargo market."

"This conversion capability will support Ethiopian's fleet needs and can be offered to other Dash 8 aircraft operators in Africa and neighbouring regions as an additional choice to the conversions De Havilland Canada can perform in Canada or through our Mobile Repair Team," added Poutissou.

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