The aviation industry was heavily hit by the COVID-19 pandemic and also Cargo capacity reduced dramatically. KLM has therefore been operating Cargo in Cabin (CIC) flights carrying medical relief goods / PPE material on seats, using plastic sheeting and straps. Initially, these now over 150 flights were mainly executed by the remaining three KLM Boeing 747 Combi aircraft. However, since the “Queen of the Skies” retired from the royal blue fleet, KLM’s Boeing 777 aircraft are also used for CIC. As these aircrafts are fully operational and “100% in service”, loading of boxes on passenger seats has to be done with great caution to safeguard flight safety and to avoid damage to the interior, seats and entertainment systems.
In order to also achieve maximum payload and flexibility, KLM contacted their preferred “Cargo Equipment Partner” Trip & Co for a solution. Since the beginning of the pandemic, Trip & Co has been designing and producing Cargo in Cabin solutions, such as Cargo Seat Bags XL and Cabin Stowage Containers. In line with these innovations, KLM asked Trip & Co to design a user-friendly, easy-to-install (and remove) quality product taking KLM’s Cargo in Cabin experiences into consideration.
As a result of our collaboration, Trip & Co presented the tailor-made KLM Cargo Seat Bag (CSB). Together with KLM’s Cargo in Cabin project team, the CSB has been fine-tuned, adjusted to the specific needs of KLM and introduced to IL&T (Dutch Civil Aviation Authority) for approval and authorization to use them under EASA’s Art.71.2 of (EU) 2018/1139. The bags not only protect the interior, but also create double loading capacity on the seats, decrease physical strain during handling and prevent plastic waste.
On April 8th, KLM received the first set of 172 Cargo Seat Bags (as Single-, Double- and Triple versions) and made the first operational flight with the CSBs on April 13th carrying about 900 boxes of medical relief goods, Corona test equipment, from Shanghai to Amsterdam.
Thanks to a perfect cooperation between KLM and Trip & Co, a new innovation was made which passed the official tests and received the certification within record time. This was done ‘just-in-time’ to fill in the need of extra cargo capacity for medical equipment (including PPE and vaccine equipment) and an opportunity to create some extra revenue for airlines in these difficult times.
Ton Veltman (Project Manager KLM Cargo in Cabin): “It continues to be extremely inspiring to be part of this intense collaboration on Cargo in Cabin for over a year now, throughout KLM and for this innovation including our partner Trip & Co. We can now, once again, make use of similar capacity as we did on over 100 flights with our 747s, doubling the CIC capacity of the 777’s compared to their more than 50 flights executed. I am proud of the many KLM colleagues making this innovation happen as well as on the smart and beautiful product developed and delivered together with them and Trip & Co. This is the creativity and perseverance that will be key in the difficult years to come.”
Edwin de Jongh (CCO Trip & Co): “We are very proud our joint efforts have resulted in a flexible, easy, lightweight solution which gives the airline an opportunity to offer extra cargo capacity in the passenger cabin and avoiding a definite conversion of the cabin. It reminds me of the ‘quick change solution of the seventies’: within one hour the cabin is changed from ‘cargo’ into a cabin which is ready to welcome passengers for a comfortable flight.”
Cargo Seat Bags are available in three versions: a single-, double- and a triple-seat variant.