Qantas and Alaska Air B737 freighters back in the air

737-700 during conversion at IAI

Qantas Freight and Alaska Air Cargo have both re-started flights using their IAI converted B737 freighters after they were temporarily grounded last week on safety grounds.

Tracking website Flight Radar 24 shows that both airlines started flying their freighters yesterday after they were taken out of action on December 11.

However, Alaska Air said that restrictions on what it can carry on its three B737-700Fs are still in place.

In a customer update, the airline said: “GoldStreak [package] and Priority shipping are now available to, from, and within Alaska. General [cargo] and Club 49 [loyalty programme] shipments continue to be embargoed until further notice to and within Alaska. Max weight is currently restricted to 800 lbs per piece for freighter flights.

“Main deck live animal shipments are not available at this time. We appreciate your patience. Please check back frequently for updated availability and flight schedules.”

However, Indian low-cost carrier SpiceJet has yet to restart services using its three IAI converted B737-700Fs.

Over the weekend, the airline said it expects the aircraft to return to service once regulatory approval is given, though it did not state any timeline.

Last week, Israel’s aviation regulator has ordered airlines with Boeing 737 jets converted to freighters by Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI) to comply with loading restrictions and use additional straps when needed before they can resume flying, according to Reuters.

Its directive, published as an emergency airworthiness directive on the European Union Aviation Safety Agency website on Thursday, relates to 47 cargo planes that were grounded this week after IAI found an “apparent irregularity” in the production process of the rigid barrier that separates freight from the cockpit.

IAI had earlier advised customers that the barrier serves as an additional safety feature to separate the cockpit from the cargo and is not critical to flight safety.

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Damian Brett

Damian Brett
I have been writing about the freight and logistics industry since 2007 when I joined International Freighting Weekly to cover the shipping sector.After a stint in PR, I have gone on to work for Containerisation International and Lloyds List - where I was editor of container shipping - before joining Air Cargo News in 2015.Contact me on [email protected]